Tagged: Ballgames

Catching up

Crazy week. My office was moved this week, my team hates our new location and boss. Efforts have stepped up for me and a couple others to find a new career. My commute has doubled in length. Absolutely no time to reflect on the Tribe this week.

After Monday, you would think we were headed for another long losing streak. Then we up and take the Evil People 3 in a row. Tuesday and Friday were enough to give you a heart attack. Great comebacks though. How about that Big Jack from Tongue Man to win Thursday’s game? Gotta love it.

Looks like the series with the Los Angeles-Anaheim-California-West Coast-I-5-Pacific Ocian-whatever-they-call-them Angels is going to go the same way. A thorough beat-down in game 1. Now we should have 2 wins to follow that Jared Weaver is going to kill himself with those mechanics. Awful. But hey, it’s working for now.

Our two best pitchers go today and tomorrow. Let’s hope for good things.

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Cashing in on a few breaks

I would really be steamed after yesterday’s game if I were a Twinkies fan. Let’s be honest – they totally got hosed on two of the three controversial calls. C.C. never tagged Punto at first (although the Twins announcers were wrong about why – C.C. did transfer the ball to his glove), and the obstruction call against Punto when Grady stole second was bogus. Exactly what was Punto supposed to do, crawl under second base? Ford’s attempt to feign being hit by that pitch in the dirt was equally bogus – if you want people to think you got hit, jump in the air before the ball passes you, express some expression of pain and start limping toward first.

The first blown call against Punto could have changed things drastically. The next two hitters singled. With Punto’s speed, he would have scored on the second one. So instead of 2 on and 2 out, it should have been 2 on, 1 out and a 2-1 game. Of course, the next 14 Twins were retired, and I’m sure C.C. would have limited the damage. But if Twinkies fans are POed, I understand why.

But good heavens, is C.C. smoking or what? Can’t wait until Tuesday to see him destroy the Evil People.

Let’s all collectively say a prayer that Jake hasn’t been inactive for so long he’s forgotten how to pitch when he takes the hill in Motown tomorrow night…..

What will it be – heart attack or stroke?

If you take this stuff as seriously as I do, those are your death options.

I was wrong in the predictions I posted on a couple of Bucs blogs this week that today was going to be an 11-10 game. That’s OK, we nearly had one of those last night.

MLBEI has the feed from FSN Pittsburgh for us today. The most boring announcers alive, easily. Their color guy is going to turn into Hawk Harrelson if he ever gets a play-by-play gig. I was really mad at them when Boone came up with the sacks full and they mention he had not one GIDP all year. Kiss of death. I knew it was coming.

I also had a feeling that Grady was going to redeem himself. How many times have we all seen that in our lives? Dude has a rotten day, doesn’t do jack at the plate, gets one last hack and becomes the hero. Hollywood scripting at its finest.

If you had come to me 10 days ago and said we were going to go 5-4 on the homestand, I would have said, "OK, I’ll take that." I would have expected us to lose 2 to the Tigers and take 2 each from the Royals and Pirates. As it was, we had one sweep each way and 2 wins over the Bucs, and we did take 5 of 6 from the worst and third-worst teams, including an emotional win today.

Short road trip now – 5 games in 7 days, 2 in the Glad Bag Dome and 3 more in Motown. To be really honest, we need to win 4 of them, 2 in each place. I will happily take 3 if it can be guaranteed that 2 are in Detroit.

Much better!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Nice to see things getting back to normal the last two games. I shared the team’s feeling that something good was going to happen headed into the ninth inning Tuesday. I got that feeling as soon as Ambiorix Burgos showed up. Watching the Royals as closely as I was the last few years, I knew a gag job was coming.

I feel sorry for Burgos. He is a good pitcher with good stuff, but he ain’t no closer. Never will be. Closers have to have that particular personality – I’m not sure what word to use to describe it. Mariano Rivera has it, Billy Wagner has it, a bunch of the old-school closers really had it – Gossage, Sutter, Lee Smith. Burgos doesn’t have it. (Note: Wickman doesn’t have it either, which helps explain why every converted save of his should come with an extra does of Paxil and/or Crestor.) If the Royals ever get Mike MacDougal back, that will help, because he has it, although his stuff is suspect at times.

So I knew when Grady hit his big jack we weren’t going to extras. I didn’t know Pronk was going to hit a jack too; I figured he was going to hit something in the gap and Jhonny would either come around to score or be driven in by Victor or Big Ben.

Up to that point, you really have to tip your cap to KC for the way they have played against us. The one thing that stands out to me is that they almost never wasted runners in scoring position. Whenever there was a runner on second and/or third with less than 2 out, they always seemed to find a way to get him in. That’s how it was in 2003; they were ridiculously good with runners in scoring position. I think that was the biggest thing that helped them to post a winning record.

Last night, the Royals looked more like, well, the Royals. About 99% of the time, Grady is out on his baserunning gaffe in the third. I have seen the Royals handle plays like that in that same manner more times than I can count. It’s how you build a .100 winning percentage in road games. Pronk’s big jack seemed like it had to be the only result possible.

I also feel bad for Affelt. Sounded like Mike Hegan and Rick Manning do too, from what they were saying on the broadcast. He has way too good of stuff to be as mediocre as he is. He’s like Ricky Vaughn, only not quite that extreme in his wildness. If he can learn some control he will be an All-Star.

Buddy Bell, Allard Baird, Dan Glass and David Glass are all absolute fools, which is why the Royals are such a mess. I hope they have the good sense to leave Affelt in the rotation all year, regardless of the 5-19 record he’s going to put up. He’s the best pitcher they have.

But how about Jake? He seems to have found the key: stay focused. Wedge and Willis need to get in his ear before every inning and say, "Focus, man. The game is tied. We need a big inning from you!" Even if we are winning 9-0. If he keeps that kind of focus he’s going to win a lot of games.

Didn’t seem that way to me…

If you read Justice B. Hill’s article on Sunday’s Tribe game, you will think that the game was a total snoozer, that at no point in time was it ever in doubt, with the exception of Wickman’s typical stressful ninth inning.

I sure didn’t feel that way. Perhaps it was the relentless beat-downs the M’s gave the Tribe in the last 2 games they played at The Jake after we got an early lead. Perhaps it was that nothing was happening like it should in this series (excuse me, but doesn’t Pinero have like a 7-something ERA against us? So why did he look like Greg Maddux out there????). Don’t know what it was. But every time the M’s got a runner on base in the first 6 innings I just KNEW the next guy up was going to hit a big jack and we would be playing from behind again, the one thing this team shows few signs of being able to do. When Everett and Beltre got hits in the ninth, I was ready to have a heart attack. But wait, doesn’t Wickman do this every time out? All we need is a nice little 6-4-3 and we can move on to seek revenge in KC. Sure enough, grounder to Jhonny. 6-4-3. Game over. Wickman has the team save record. Hey, we won a series for a change!

C.C. did look absolutely fabulous though. It’s so good to have him back. Hopefully he and Cliff can continue to eat innings and give the ‘pen a break.

It’s beautiful when it all works

What a sweet thing last night’s game was to watch! It took 3 hours 27 minutes. I watched the whole thing, despite the impending doom of a 5:45 wake-up call. I couldn’t pull myself away from it. I was forced to keep my giddy self in check, because the Mrs. was under the weather and went to bed extremely early in hopes of getting some much-needed sleep. So I couldn’t scream with delight when Big Ben hit the big jack in the first.

Speaking of Big Ben, Anthony Castrovince wrote in this week’s mailbag that he continues to receive emails calling for Big Ben’s head. That is nonsense. It ain’t 2005 anymore. We all recall last year how fabulous our pitching was and how everyone in the lineup was beating the bejesus out of the baseball – except for Big Ben and Casey Blake. It’s time to forgive them. Blake is hitting .351 and Big Ben is hitting .407.  Even more telling is the fact that Big Ben’s OPS is 1.105 and Casey’s is 956. Assuming the rest of the lineup continues to hit like we know they are capable of, I’ll take any OPS over .800 for both of these guys.

Plastic Man looked a lot better, shaving a point off his ERA. We’ll see how he does on Tuesday in his next start against the Evil People.

Deja Vu

Well, that was certainly interesting last night, wasn’t it? Should have expected it, considering all the boasting I did yesterday.

How clutch is Jhonny Peralta vs KC? Last year, as the Royals were speeding toward yet another 100-loss season and I was finally considering dropping my loyalty to them, it was Jhonny who put me over the edge. Remember that game the Tribe was losing 7-2 going into the ninth and scored 11 runs to get the 13-7 win? Peralta’s 3-run homer was the last hit for the Tribe that day, and finally made this long-suffering Royals fan snap. I stopped watching Royals games that day, and spent the next week trying to figure out who my new favorite team would be. Didn’t occur to me until weeks later that I had chosen the team that was the opponent the night I abandoned my former team.

Back to last night. I watched in amazement as the Royals wiped out a 3-0 lead in about 1.5 nanoseconds, and was plenty worried headed into the 7th inning. But along comes Jhonny, who sends a frozen rope down the left field line for a bases-loaded double that won the game (after Wickman raised everyone’s blood pressure, but pitching only twice in 2 weeks will do that to you). I’m sure Jhonny would like to play the Royals every day. Of course, when you lose 11 in a row, everyone wants to play you….