Games » Seattle MarinersJul7
Usually, Mitch Maier is easy to overlook … not last night. He made five catches in the outfield and three of them were spectacular enough to score points in the system. The other two looked easier, but were the product of being in the right place and running a good route. And he topped it all off with a mammoth home run. (I’m sure nobody was more surprised than Mitch.)
Few of Maier’s numbers leap off the page (.256 batting average, .336 on-base percentage), but if you look a little closer, you see how solid he is.
Maier’s fifth on the team in walks, he’s second on the team in breaking up double plays, he’s tied for second on the team in 8+ pitch at-bats, he’s first on the team in advancing a runner from second to third with nobody out, he’s over 40% in quality plate appearances, he succeeds in situational at-bats about 80% of the time and he’s yet to make a mental mistake in our system.
Mitch, call me when you go to arbitration.
Outstanding defensive plays…
One of the harder categories to score. One guy pays attention, reads the charts, stands in the right position, runs a good route to the ball and makes the catch easily. Another guy blows off the homework, stands there wondering what restaurant he’s going to after the game, gets a bad jump, runs a bad route and has to dive to make the play.
Who’s the better defender? (I can tell you who’s getting a round of applause from the crowd.)
I’ve decided to score an outstanding play whenever the team gets an out I didn’t expect. If a ball is hit and I say, “Uh-oh” and the Royals get an out, that’s a candidate for an outstanding play. (Scientific, ain’t it?…On the other hand, if you disagree with this method, you should read “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell.)
Having said all that:
Victor Marte gets points for coming off the mound to grab a sacrifice bunt attempt and getting the lead runner. This is harder for pitchers than you might think. They throw a zillion pitches from the mound and then have a new release point for throws on the infield.
Alberto Callaspo made a diving stop and Yuniesky Betancourt made a great play and then screwed up a fairly routine one (how unusual). He got in a rush to turn a double play on a ball hit by Ichiro Suzuki. He had a better chance of getting elected pope than turning that double play and should’ve settled for one. Know who’s running.
Butler’s mental mistake…
We’ve all heard what happens when we ‘assume’. Billy either assumed he hit a home run or a sure double to lead off the 6th. Either that or he thought it was just unfair to hit a ball that stinking hard (and he crushed it) and only get a single. Whatever happened (I wouldn’t want to assume) he got caught between bases and was tagged out.
Yuniesky scored on a wild pitch and got points for heads-up base running. A ball to the backstop is easy to read, but this shot off the catcher’s shin guard at an odd angle. Betancourt guessed right and scored from third. (Which reminds me, I talked to a guy who’d been a roving catcher instructor in the minors and he told me the problem with John Buck’s pitch blocking was that John was too big and still wasn’t in the right position when the ball arrived. Miguel Olivo also often found himself in the wrong position: catcher.)
A walk that scored…
It wasn’t the two home runs Kyle Davies gave up that should bother you: it was the walks after one and before the other. A walk after a home run indicates a pitcher that’s gun shy and straying from the game plan (throwing strikes). A walk before a home run indicates a pitcher that isn’t doing everything he can to limit the damage.
I’d rather see a pitcher throw underhand (hey, it worked for Quisenberry) than walk a guy. Make the other team earn it.