Games » Atlanta BravesJun20
When you walk 11 batters, you’re supposed to lose, and the Royals did. Five more walks scored for a season total of…let’s see…add the six…carry the two…about eleventy-billion. It’s hard to get four or five hits in a row, so a big inning usually requires walks and errors to keep going. Royals pitchers gave the Braves’ hitters all the help they needed.
I’ve said I thought this team had improved. I still do, but right now, it seems unlikely that the Royals can overcome the starting pitching: Hochevar’s ERA is 4.96, Bannister’s is 5.70, Davies’ is 6.15 and Meche’s is 6.66 (Wow, he doesn’t need rest, he needs an exorcist).
Falling behind early and then scrambling to catch up is not a winning formula.
Called third strikes…
Recently, Royals hitters have taken some called third strikes in key RBI situations. As I’ve said in the past, taking a called third strike (unless the call is totally blown by the umpire) can be an indication of a poor two-strike strategy.
Once a hitter has two strikes, he needs to change his approach. He’s no longer being selective and looking for a pitch to drive. He’s now a hockey goalie trying to keep the puck out of the goal. Hitters with two strikes are supposed to look for a pitch away and adjust in. (You can’t look in and adjust away, that would require starting the swing over. Try it, you’ll see what I mean.)
But won’t looking away and adjusting in lead to getting jammed at times?
Yes, but that’s better than watching a pitch go by to end an at-bat…and some of those jam-shots are tough to field, especially if the hitter can run. (Scott Podsednik leads the team in taking called third strikes. David DeJesus is second. They both hit from the left side and can run. They ought to make every effort to get the ball in play.)
The two-strike mindset should be aggressive: I’m swinging until it’s clearly not a strike. Hitters should get MORE aggressive with two strikes, not less.
Stuff you might’ve seen…
Ever notice players on the mound, having a discussion while covering their mouths with their gloves? They’re trying to prevent lip-reading by opposing coaches and hitters. I don’t know if ballplayers can actually read lips, but I haven’t missed a curse word yet. A ballplayer could be reciting the Star Spangled Banner in Yiddish and I wouldn’t know, but let him drop an F-bomb in there and I’ll get it every time.
You also might’ve seen a number of Royals hitters using a little rubber device…(hmmm, maybe I should start that sentence over) ON THEIR HANDS! It’s got a little hole…(OK, this is just getting worse)…that the hitter puts his thumb through. It pads the base of the thumb and prevents or protects bone bruises that can result from getting jammed.
It’s unlikely that so many Royals hitters have bone bruises on their top hand, so they’re probably wearing them to force the bat out into their fingers. Amateurs jam the bat back into the palms of their hands; pros hold them out in their fingers. That’s why you often see pros lose bats on their swings: they’re holding them as loosely as possible.
Another odd thing you might’ve noticed is a strange white flap hanging out of the back of Alberto Callaspo’s pants. It’s his pocket turned inside out. It happens when he pulls his batting gloves out of his pocket, but it shouldn’t. (Mike Aviles would never go to the plate that way.)
One of my first baseball lessons was Clint Hurdle’s “Always-Look-Good-So-The-Coaches-Think-You’re-About-To-Come-Out-Of-That-Slump-You’re-Probably-In” speech.
Apparently, Alberto hasn’t heard it.
Outstanding defensive play
DeJesus made a sliding catch in foul territory, grabbing the ball and some extra points for an outstanding play.