Judging the Royals

There’s always something to play for; the Royals force Toronto to use Osuna

When a game gets out of hand, a lot of us lose interest.

But no matter the score, there’s always something to play for.

Kris Medlen came out of Kansas City’s bullpen and threw five innings which allowed the rest of the Royals relievers, with the exception of Franklin Morales, the night off.

Meanwhile, the Royals offense made the game close enough to convince Toronto manager John Gibbons to use his closer, Roberto Osuna.

That might make a difference on Wednesday if Osuna gets pushed into pitching back-to-back-to-back games.

John Gibbons gets proactive

After the game, John Gibbons was asked about bringing his closer in when he had a sizable lead. Gibbons said the Royals were starting to get something going in the ninth and he wanted to snuff it out before those embers burst into flames.

(Actually, John wasn’t nearly that poetic, but he’s fed me donuts, so I’m going to make him look good.)

Anyway…I get where John is coming from. Waiting until you have to use a your closer has its downside; the guy won’t have much room for a mistake.

As I once had it explained to me: you might want to save your closer for tomorrow, but you don’t know that you’ll need him tomorrow—you might win big or never have a lead. Right now you know if your closer comes in and does the job, you have a win in a must-win game.

Take the bird in the hand and don’t worry about what’s in the bush because you don’t know for sure what’s in there. (Once again, I’m getting poetic; I believe I was actually told not be a dumb #*@; take the win when I had the chance.)

Salvador Perez and the play at the plate

I’m not a catcher and I don’t play one on TV (which is a joke only people with gray hair will get), but it seems to me Salvador Perez is coming too far out in front of the plate when a runner is trying to score.

Here’s the deal:

When there was a play at the plate catchers used to put their left foot on the left-field foul line with their toes pointed toward third base. Pointing their toes at third made sure the runner would slide into the front of their leg—protected by a shin guard—and not the side of their leg, which could roll an ankle, break a leg or tear up a knee.

Putting the foot on the foul line also split the plate in half; the catcher had the front half of the plate, the runner could aim for the back half.

If a catcher was a real tough guy or the play was important enough, he could straddle the line and take the whole plate. The runner would have no place to go and a collision would be the result.

But baseball doesn’t want to see it’s star players hurt, so now they want to avoid collisions at the plate.

So catchers are coming out in front of the plate, but at times it looks like Salvador Perez is too far out in front of the plate. Setting up too far in front of home plate makes for a long tag and several times runners have scored on plays that looked like they might be closer than they wound up being.

(On the other hand, if I was the one who might be getting run over by a 200-pounder at full throttle, I might be in favor of setting up somewhere around the pitcher’s mound.)

Today’s game

Chris Young vs. R.A. Dickey: Young does not throw hard, but is very deceptive. He pitches up in the zone and gets a lot of fly balls, so the Royals have to hope those fly balls stay in the yard.

Dickey throws a knuckleball—most of the time—and knuckleballers can be very inconsistent.

The prevailing theory on hitting a knuckleball goes like this: “If it’s high, let it fly; if it’s low, let it go.” That means a knuckleball that looks like a strike on its way to the plate will drop out of the zone and a knuckleball that looks high as it come in will drop into the zone—maybe.

Nobody knows for sure; not even R.A. Dickey.