Headlines bedevil me at times, but given that last night’s 3-2 loss to the Orioles seemed to hinge on a ball getting stuck under the padding of the outfield wall, the title seems appropriate.
As detailed in many places, Baltimore’s Adam Jones made a heads-up play and the correct play in signalling for a ground rule double on what would have been a Mike Aviles triple. He doesn’t have to try to get the ball, nor does it matter that he could have easily gotten the ball. Rules are rules and smart baseball is smart baseball (and also fair, by the way). The Royals have a ton of late and close wins this year, think of last night as a little retribution for the baseball gods.
Kyle Davies had a very ‘Daviesish’ sort of outing: 6.1 innings, 3 runs, 3 strikeouts, 3 walks, 2 hit batters and allowing SEVEN Orioles to reach base after he had recorded two outs in an inning. I don’t know, Kyle was competent and kept his team in the game into the seventh inning, but man he is hard to love, isn’t he?
Do you send Davies out to start the seventh inning? I ask that as a genuine question as, in real time, I debated with myself whether I do or not. One factor in Ned Yost’s thinking had to be that he had used virtually the entire bullpen the night before and, rightly or wrongly, Yost has been loathe to use his young reliever on back to back days. Well, unless you are Tim Collins and then you WILL PITCH EVERY GAME.
Speaking of Tim Collins, the lefty has 13 strikeouts versus 4 walks when facing right-handed batters. Against lefthanders, however, Collins has 8 strikeouts versus 13 walks. Regardless, Yost brought Collins in specifically to face a left-handed hitter for the second consecutive night.
With two more hits last night, one would think that Mike Aviles has to be close to reestablishing himself as part of the Royals’ everyday lineup. After a dismal start, Mike is up to a line of .262/.289/.548/.837 with 5 home runs and 6 steals. No, he is not a prototypical lead-off hitter (just 3 walks and 17 strikeouts) and no, he is not the defensive equal of Chris Getz. The question, however, is not Aviles v. Getz, it is or at least should be, Getz v. Ka’aihue.
The Royals need pop in the lineup to try to offset their very marginal starting rotation. Aviles brings a six somewhat competent bat into the lineup at the expense of some defense (not a lot in my opinion) and some speed (again, not all that much). Not to mention that he is one guy in this whole equation that actually has a track record of hitting major league pitching.
So, the situation really comes down to who do the Royals think will eventually hit? Getz or Ka’aihue? Does Chris Getz bring enough with the glove at second to justify putting his career Royals line of .235/.308/.279 in the batting order? Do you have enough belief in Ka’aihue’s impressive minor league resume to keep writing down his name in hopes that this .195/.295/.317 start is just a rough patch soon to be erased by a pile of walks and home runs?
Frankly, the Royals do not even have to decide. They can alternate or swap those two players in out of the lineup at will. A batting order with both Getz and Ka’aihue in it, however, simply is one with two many weak spots. One or the other, not both.