Back in Game One, Edinson Volquez pitched five brilliant innings, then floundered into choppy waters in the sixth. In that game, after an agonizing 30 minute-37 pitch frame, the Royals emerged unscathed and took the game. Yesterday, Volquez was not brilliant, but was very good for five innings and entered the sixth with his team down 1-0. Unlike the first game, the Royals did not emerge unscathed.
Walk, hit by pitch, walk and walk is no way to make a living on the mound and that is what Volquez did to begin the frame. Relieved by Kelvin Herrera, he could only watch as Troy Tulowitzki ripped a one out double (more good hitting than bad pitching on that one, by the way) to plate three more runs. Game over, basically.
My wife asked me ‘what happened?’ and the only real answer I could come up with is the Royals simply got beat yesterday. They ran into a good pitcher having a great night and handed a great offensive team four free baserunners to play with – in a row. Momma said there would be days like this.
Did Volquez get squeezed in that sixth inning? Here’s the strike zone plot courtesy of Brooks Baseball for the at-bat against the purveyor of sunshine and goodness, Jose Bautista:
You want way more and way better on the above? Click this link for an absolutely tremendous article by BasedBall.
And the following plate appearance by Edwin Encarnacion:
It would not be uncommon to get a few of those calls, but it is not uncommon not to, either. Big name hitters on their home turf? That’s a tough called strike to get sometimes.
The Royals did muster something of a challenge in the eight when Salvador Perez hit a two out solo homer followed by singles by Gordon and Rios. You wonder what might have been if Alcides Escobar’s liner (fliner more accurately?) had found a home outside of Happy Bautista’s glove, but it was not to be. The Royals got beat, turn the page.
The national storyline now seems to be turning towards an almost expectation that the Blue Jays are going to waltz through Game Six. There was already talk on MLB Radio speculating about whether Ned Yost could actually hand the ball to Johnny Cueto for Game Seven. My question is, how comfortable does John Gibbons feel about handing the ball to David Price for Game Six?
Do you think, with Price warming in the pen in the seventh yesterday that the Royals hurt themselves by not forcing Gibbons to pitch Price in relief yesterday (and thus go with Marcus Stroman on short rest tomorrow night) or help themselves? Playoff demons? David Price has more than a few and the last time he threw a pitch to the Royals, they were spraying the ball around Kaufmann with large amounts of authority.
Having annointed Yordano Ventura a big game pitcher prior to the start of the post-season and subsequently been disappointed by my proclamation, I still feel good about a Ventura-Price showdown in Kansas City. That is all feel and no fact, mind you, but I feel good about Game Six. It is quite obviously, the game the Royals need to win as all the pressure will rain down on them should this series go to Game Seven. It is time for a Ventura gem.
Cueto in Game Seven? Don’t worry about it. Royals win in six.