Fine. It wasn’t really a massacre. However, it was an interesting game last night for a couple of reasons.
First the walks. I have said numerous times that I just can’t bear to watch Daisuke Matsuzaka pitch. The time he takes between pitches, the long windup when he actually gets around to throwing the ball and the fact he couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat, to borrow a phrase from Crash Davis.
(Yes, I’m aware I sound like Joe West. That guy is taking a beating isn’t he? Deservedly so. His strike zone was as fine an example of umpiring malpractice I’ve ever seen.)
So the Royals draw eight walks in total – all from Dice-K. They grab just four base hits, yet score four times. One run on a bases loaded walk, one run on a passed ball and a pair of runs on a pair of David DeJesus base hits.
The eight walks for the Royals sounds like a ton, and it is. We’re talking about a franchise that hasn’t valued the walk since 1995. Somehow, it’s not entirely uncommon for the Royals to walk at least eight times in a game – they’ve done it 38 times since 2000 and did it five times alone last year. In fact, the last team the Royals had at least eight walks against was the Red Sox last September. Tim Wakefield started that game.
And what about the bullpen? Has Blake Wood been awesome or what? He was consistently hitting 96 mph on the radar gun. Throw in Good Robinson Tejeda and the ever reliable Joakim Soria and you have three innings of no-hit relief.
Going forward, I hope that Ned Yost flip-flops Tejeda and Wood in the bullpen pecking order. Good Tejeda is simply overpowering and will blow hitters away. On the other hand, Wood has decent velocity, but he doesn’t miss enough bats for my liking. Plus, through his first 8.2 innings, he owns a .146 batting average on balls in play. I don’t think I need to tell you, there’s absolutely no way he can keep that number that low. I’d advocate using the pitch to contact pitcher earlier in the game.
And how about that WEB GEM from Billy Butler last night? Oh, the vertical! If that rocket from Varitek goes down the line, it’s the tying run on second with one out. Obviously, Soria is in the game, so my confidence level would still be high. In this case though, I think it’s better we didn’t have to deal with that situation.
Finally, big congratulations to David DeJesus who celebrates his first game back with the team after becoming a father with a pair of hits and two RBI. He’s had a solid first two months and could be on the path to a career year.