<![CDATA[Judging the Royals: Sports Columns & Blogs | The Kansas City Star & KansasCity.com]]> http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/ en-us Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:43:08 CDT http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss McClatchy Interactive's Escenic Thu, 16 Oct 2014 15:43:08 CDT Judging the Royals 60 Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy and called third strikes; do they reflect how well a pitcher is throwing? http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article33163161.html#storylink=rss If all you care about are strikeouts, then called third strikes are a good sign; hitters are getting fooled by some nasty pitches. But if the pitcher is racking up strikeouts, he’s probably also racking up his pitch count. So a guy who has good individual numbers might be putting his teammates in a bad spot by leaving the game early and exposing his team’s middle relievers.

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Tue, 01 Sep 2015 10:52:51 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article33163161.html
Here’s why Kendrys Morales didn’t run to first base http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article32882778.html#storylink=rss The hitter’s reaction tells you whether he thinks a ball is fair or foul; he’s looking right down the foul line and has the best view. I don’t doubt that some hitters are smart enough to try to mislead umpires by their reaction; you see guys pretend to foul a ball off their foot when it missed hitting them by six inches, but if Kendrys Morales was acting, he deserves an Academy Award. He stood at home plate looking like a guy waiting for a bus — or an umpire to get the call right.

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Mon, 31 Aug 2015 10:54:07 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article32882778.html
Can the Kansas City Royals clinch too soon? http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article32795961.html#storylink=rss In 2014 the Royals were not the best team that made it to the playoffs; they were the hottest team that made it to the playoffs. They beat the A’s in the Wild Card game and then to swept the Angels and the Orioles, two teams that had better records than the Royals. The Royals now have the best record in the American League, but having the best record is no guarantee of victory once you get to the playoffs. The teams that come into October hot havean advantage.

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Sun, 30 Aug 2015 10:17:58 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article32795961.html
Royals’ Lorenzo Cain needs a ‘gamer’ at the plate http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article32737023.html#storylink=rss The other day I was leaning against a bat rack (one of my hidden talents; I’m a professional-level leaner) when Lorenzo Cain came up and started pulling bats out of the rack and taking half cuts with each one. Lorenzo was searching for a good bat; a gamer. We wound up talking about bats, hitting the ball to the opposite field and my tenuous connection to George Brett.

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Sat, 29 Aug 2015 09:32:57 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article32737023.html
An exclusive interview with Greg Holland http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article32623407.html#storylink=rss That headline “An exclusive interview with Greg Holland” sounds pretty cool and if I was a Royals fan, I’d be sure to read this article. But in this case “exclusive interview” means I walked over to talk to Greg while all the other reporters were gathered around Paulo Orlando. For all I know, 20 other reporters talked to Greg after I left, but when I was there it was just me, so the “exclusive” description is technically correct and I’m sticking with it.

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Fri, 28 Aug 2015 09:26:53 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article32623407.html
Johnny Cueto’s off-speed stuff is getting hit http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article32528508.html#storylink=rss It’s kind of arrogant to sit six floors above a baseball field, eating a cup of soft-serve ice cream and think you can diagnose what’s wrong with a pitcher — especially if the only time you’ve ever stood on a pitcher’s mound was just to see what it felt like. (News flash: it feels pretty cool.)

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Thu, 27 Aug 2015 10:26:47 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article32528508.html
Should Alcides Escobar swing at the first pitch of a game? http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article32422773.html#storylink=rss When a hitter swings at the first pitch it’s called an “ambush,” and Royals fans have been seeing Alcides Escobar ambushing pitches all season. Pitchers tend to throw first-pitch fastballs to get ahead in the count, so a hitter can take advantage of that by swinging at that first pitch.

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Wed, 26 Aug 2015 09:42:33 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article32422773.html
Does team chemistry matter for the Royals? Yes http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article32300880.html#storylink=rss “Me first” players do not want to give up an at bat by moving a runner over. They don’t want to take hittable pitches so their pitcher can rest. They won’t attempt difficult plays because they don’t want to make an error. And that attitude can spread like a disease; it’s why they invented the term “clubhouse cancer.”

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Tue, 25 Aug 2015 09:20:36 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article32300880.html
The ninth inning: Mike Jirschele makes two decisions, one works, one doesn’t http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article32095632.html#storylink=rss This game was a wild one and there are a bunch of things you could chose to focus on: Ned Yost’s decision to stick with Edinson Volquez, whoever happens to be managing the Red Sox sticking with Junichi Tazawa or Mike Moustakas having two of the best at bats a Royals fan will ever see, but for now let’s focus on that ninth inning and two decisions made by third base coach Mike Jirschele.

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Mon, 24 Aug 2015 11:00:13 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article32095632.html
Royals starter Yordano Ventura is better when he throws his secondary pitches http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31958166.html#storylink=rss They say major league hitters can time a bullet; show them a 100-mph fastball three times in a row and they’ll hit the third one a mile. They don’t swing harder or faster, at least the smart hitters don’t, they start their swings earlier. So how does a pitcher prevent that? He throws his secondary pitches.

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Sun, 23 Aug 2015 09:16:07 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31958166.html
Royals endure a second-inning breakdown http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31892475.html#storylink=rss Here’s what we’re going to do: last night I went out to dinner (my first Friday night off since March) and my son Paul watched the Royals-Red Sox game live. He then wrote what follows. Saturday morning I got up and watched the plays he wrote about and then wrote what I saw. I figure it’s kind of like watching a traffic accident and getting the witnesses to describe what happened and a traffic accident is a pretty good metaphor for the bottom of the second inning.

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Sat, 22 Aug 2015 10:23:28 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31892475.html
Mike Moustakas, Fenway Park and the Pesky Pole http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31776798.html#storylink=rss On Thursday night Mike Moustakas hit a home run down the right-field line in Boston’s Fenway Park. If you knew what to look for — and I didn’t until someone pointed it out to me — you could see it coming. When pitching in Fenway throwing a left-handed hitter anything on the inside part of the plate that’s even close to off-speed is risky.

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Fri, 21 Aug 2015 15:00:57 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31776798.html
Are Kansas City Royals fans patient? http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31724325.html#storylink=rss On Thursday night, the Kansas City Royals lost 4-1 and the game was not overly interesting until Joel Goldberg did some sideline reporting that included a conversation with David Ortiz. Apparently, Big Papi said the Royals should be congratulated for their success and the patience that made that success possible. Ortiz said that would never happen in Boston: fans and the media are too impatient. Are Kansas City Royals fans patient?

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Fri, 21 Aug 2015 11:09:14 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31724325.html
Luke Hochevar, the infield fly rule and how the Cincinnati Reds screwed up again http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31623599.html#storylink=rss If the past two games are any indication the Cincinnati Reds have some problems with fundamentals. Good teams take care of the small stuff that can change a ballgame and if you know where to look you can see whether a team is doing the things that need to be done; but you’ll have to take your eye off the ball.

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Thu, 20 Aug 2015 11:38:33 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31623599.html
How four Cincinnati Reds screwed up one play and helped the Royals win http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31531349.html#storylink=rss When Kris Medlen laid down a bunt in the 13th inning, Reds reliever Ryan Mattheus threw the ball away, but if you think Reds reliever Ryan Mattheus messed the game up on his own, you’re wrong. It actually took four Cincinnati Reds to screw up one play and help the Kansas City Royals win.

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Wed, 19 Aug 2015 14:00:51 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31531349.html
Here’s why the Angels should have walked Kendrys Morales in Sunday’s game http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31386050.html#storylink=rss Before I started covering big-league baseball I pretty much assumed all walks were bad with the possible exception of the occasional intentional walk. After five years of covering big-league baseball I’ve come to understand just how often smart pitchers work around hitters and how a well-timed walk can help a pitcher succeed.

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Tue, 18 Aug 2015 10:35:23 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31386050.html
Kendrys Morales tries easier, not harder, and that approach pays off http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31303208.html#storylink=rss During Sunday night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels, a frustrated fan posted on Twitter that the Royals needed to “ratchet up” their offense. But there is no dial you can turn and “ratchet up” an offense, and if there were, turning it up would be the exact wrong thing to do.

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Mon, 17 Aug 2015 11:36:23 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31303208.html
Don’t kid yourself; you can’t hit big-league pitching http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31297292.html#storylink=rss Sunday afternoon I was talking with two big-league scouts and one of them told me that the night before he’d been sitting near a guy who was convinced he could hit .200 in the big leagues. The scout said he wanted to turn around and tell the guy it was doubtful he could hit .002 in the big leagues.

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Mon, 17 Aug 2015 10:07:27 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31297292.html
Jarrod Dyson’s speed is a game-changer for the Royals http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31246970.html#storylink=rss After last night’s 9-4 win over the Angels, a slightly hungover sportswriter could chose to write about starting pitcher Johnny Cueto throwing eight innings of one-run ball or Salvador Perez swinging at the first pitch he saw and hitting it into the left-field fountain or Mike Moustakas beating the shift by hitting a double down the left-field line. Or he could write about Jarrod Dyson breaking the sound barrier.

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Sun, 16 Aug 2015 08:32:12 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31246970.html
Brace yourself: The Kansas City Royals probably will lose at least 60 games http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31185221.html#storylink=rss Baseball is a game designed to make you fail. The best teams will lose 60 games, the best hitters will make outs 70 percent of the time and the best pitchers will still get lit up like a Christmas tree even when it’s not Christmas. The key to the game isn’t avoiding failure because you will fail; the key to the game is how you react to that failure.

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Sat, 15 Aug 2015 09:07:10 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31185221.html
Greg Holland blows a save: Is it time to panic? http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31092066.html#storylink=rss The Kansas City Royals’ magic formula for winning baseball games is pretty simple: grab a lead somewhere in the first six innings, then turn the ball over to one of the best bullpens in the business. That formula has worked so well that the Royals won 111 games in a row when leading after seven innings. Thursday night Ned Yost followed that blueprint, pulled starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie after six innings and turned the lead over to the bullpen—but the Royals still lost.

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Fri, 14 Aug 2015 10:05:04 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31092066.html
Paulo Orlando’s catch: The biggest play from Tuesday night http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31023189.html#storylink=rss Lots of people, including me, wrote about the defensive clinic the Royals put on Tuesday night against the Detroit Tigers. There were at least five highlight reel plays and the one that got the most attention was the play at the plate when Jarrod Dyson, Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez combined to keep James McCann from scoring. It was a defensive gem, but probably not the biggest play from Tuesday night.

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Thu, 13 Aug 2015 14:54:51 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article31023189.html
The Royals lose 7-4; was it just bad luck? http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article30995559.html#storylink=rss No matter how well you plan or execute those plans, luck still plays a role; just look at Wednesday night’s 7-4 to the Tigers. The Royals definitely caused some of their own problems, but bad luck and an umpire still had something to do with the game’s outcome.

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Thu, 13 Aug 2015 10:37:10 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article30995559.html
The Kansas City Royals are winning in a different way http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article30873912.html#storylink=rss When Moneyball was all the rage, people were fixating on walks and home runs. Despite the fact that the Oakland A’s consistently fell flat on their face in the playoffs, some people thought that walks and home runs were the key to winning. The Kansas City Royals are 26th in home runs, last in walks and first in the American League Central.

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Wed, 12 Aug 2015 11:55:29 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article30873912.html
What makes Royals ace pitcher Johnny Cueto unique? http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article30693129.html#storylink=rss Most pitchers struggle with one delivery, Johnny Cueto has three: a quick pitch, a Luis Tiant turn-your-back-to-home-plate delivery and the Luis Tiant delivery with a booty shake thrown in. Most starting pitchers throw three of four pitches, but according to the website FanGraphs, Johnny Cueto throws five or six: a fastball, a cutter, a changeup, a slider, a curve and 5.4 percent of the time, Johnny throws a pitch they can’t identify. If hitting is timing and pitching is disrupting timing, Johnny Cueto disrupts timing in some unique ways.

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Tue, 11 Aug 2015 10:48:58 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article30693129.html
If Lorenzo Cain doesn't hit .300, it’s your fault http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article30599298.html#storylink=rss In the fifth inning of Saturday night’s game against the Chicago White Sox, Lorenzo Cain came to the plate with one down and a runner on third base. The count was 2-2 when Lorenzo served a soft line drive into right field. The run scored and the Royals went on to win 7-6. Lorenzo Cain says he’s at his best when he hits the ball to the opposite field. If he knows that, why doesn’t he do it all the time?

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Mon, 10 Aug 2015 10:07:59 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article30599298.html
Are the Kansas City Royals the Bad Boys of Baseball? http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article30540162.html#storylink=rss Why are some people calling the Royals bad boys? Probabably because the Royals have cleared the benches on several occasions, but you could see more actually punches thrown by suburban house wives at a Black Friday sale. Most of the time players come out on the field, mill around and try to look like they’re doing something meaningful and those of us in the press box react like we just saw hand-to-hand combat on the beaches of Normandy.

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Sun, 09 Aug 2015 09:09:08 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article30540162.html
Has KC Royals closer Greg Holland lost something? http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article30485241.html#storylink=rss Friday night the Royals beat the White Sox 3-2; Greg Holland came in to close the game with a two-run lead and made things interesting by giving up a long home run to Adam LaRoche. Saturday morning I received an email from a Royals fan.

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Sat, 08 Aug 2015 10:07:18 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article30485241.html
Yordano Ventura does not limit the damage and the Royals lose http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article30401343.html#storylink=rss When you face good hitters, you figure they’re going to get their hits, so smart pitchers try to limit the damage by getting the lesser hitters in front of them. On Thursday afternoon against the Detroit Tigers, Yordano Ventura didn’t do that.

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Fri, 07 Aug 2015 11:39:54 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article30401343.html
How to get the Kansas City Royals out http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article30251976.html#storylink=rss On Wednesday night Detroit Tigers pitcher Matt Boyd was throwing well located first-pitch fastballs in the first inning and began mixing in first-pitch sliders, curves and change-ups later on. Boyd faced 27 batters and, because he was often throwing pitches the Royals weren’t looking for early in the count, 12 of them took a called first strike. And when a pitcher gets ahead in the count, the aggressive hitter is in trouble.

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Thu, 06 Aug 2015 11:15:11 CDT

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http://www.kansascity.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/judging-the-royals/article30251976.html