Games » Oakland AthleticsJul18
Ned Yost was late to his post game press conference because he was busy airing out his team. He said the Royals played flat, lacked intensity and wasted an opportunity to win a game. At least that’s what he said to us, it might’ve been worse in the locker room.
So what kind of stuff was he talking about?
Brian Bannister walked six batters (two of them scored) and hit one to give the Athletics seven free base runners. Four of the batters led off an inning, which made it even worse. Billy Butler and Chris Getz had errors (one of them scored).
Scott Podsednik didn’t challenge Coco Crisp (and I’ve got a rocking chair with a better arm on it) by going first to third on Jason Kendall’s single in the third. Scott stayed at second and then was immediately picked off, losing the chance to score on the DeJesus fly ball that followed.
Bannister seemed to lose focus in the seventh, allowing Crisp to get great jumps, stealing both second and third. Brian gave Jason Kendall no chance to throw Coco out (and Kendall throws were on in this game; he threw out three runners). Crisp then scored on a sac fly.
Jose Guillen didn’t seem to know how many outs there were in the sixth. He was preparing to take out the pivot man on a double play, but there were already three outs. Alberto Callaspo caught a line drive in the ninth that could’ve ended the inning if he’d stepped on third, but chose to tag the runner and missed. A three-run homer followed.
Earlier in the same inning, Pennington was going first to third on Ellis’s hit and Podsednik chose to go for Pennington at third, didn’t get him, but the throw allowed Ellis to move into second. The ball should’ve been cut, but Betancourt didn’t appear to be in position.
Beginning to figure out Ned’s mood?
He thought the team gave away the game in the middle innings, bleeding runs that didn’t seem to matter. Five runs in the ninth changed all that. The runs that didn’t seem to matter turned out to be the difference in the game. You’ve got to play hard all the time because you never know what’s important until the game’s over.
Yost said he still believed the Royals were a good team, but needed to wake up. It’ll be interesting to see how they look against Toronto.
Outstanding plays, and yes, there were some
Callaspo’s dove to spear a line drive in the first. Betancourt turned a double play on a caught line drive followed by a quick, accurate throw to catch a runner off base. Yuniesky also had a nice feed to Getz for a force at second on a groundball headed up the middle. Jason Kendall (once again) blocked a pitch in the dirt with a runner on third. Mitch Maier’s crashed headlong into the fence while catching a line drive in right.
A couple games ago I gave Mike Aviles a mental mistake for failing to attempt a double play when he seemed to have time. I asked Mike about the play and he explained:
There were fast runners on first and second and nobody down. Greinke was on the mound. Jack Cust, a strikeout candidate was on deck. The ball hit to Yuniesky Betancourt made him retreat to field it. At that point Mike felt it was going to take too long to get him the ball, the runner would be on top of him and a bad throw to first would allow the runner headed for third to come around and score.
Aviles chose to make sure of one, count on Zack to get the second out without allowing the run to score (didn’t happen; Cust hit a sac fly) and get out of the inning that way. You can argue with his judgment, but to me it’s not a mental mistake. It was a thought-out play that didn’t work out.
I’ve also got some sympathy for the decision to make sure of one. It’s what every coach tells his middle infielders. It’s what every fan thought Yuniesky Betancourt should’ve done on the double play ball he dropped two innings later. You can’t have it both ways: you set a philosophy before the play happens and then live with the results. Mike was making sure of one, so we’ll change that mental mistake.
(Note: Mental mistakes are one of the tougher categories to score unless you get a chance to talk to the player afterwards and that isn’t always possible. Podsednik might’ve had a very good reason for not going first to third and Betancourt may have had a reason for not being where I thought he should’ve been. I’ll try to score mental mistakes only for plays that are obviously wrong. Callaspo is getting one because I thought he was clearly closer to the bag than he was to the runner he tried to tag.)