In this game:
– The Royals fell into a 8-0 hole after three innings.
– Scott Podsednik hit one into the upper deck.
– Jason Kendall drove one to the base of the wall in right-center.
– Yuniesky Betancourt walked. Twice.
– After a Rangers pitcher walked back to back hitters, Willie Bloomquist took two cuts at pitches out of the zone and then looked at strike three right down the middle. (OK, that wasn’t crazy.)
– Dave Owen almost caused Mike Aviles’ hamstring to explode by doing a funky stop and go kind of thing as he was rounding third. (That wasn’t crazy either.)
– KILA MONSTER.
– Joakim Soria gave up back to back home runs for the first time since forever.
– Neftali Feliz is disgustingly filthy.
It was like some crazy heavyweight title fight. I half expected the ghost of Howard Cosell to make an appearance. It would have been appropriate.
Even though the Royals lost in just a horrific manner, that was the most fun I’ve had watching a game since last May. (Remember when they came back against the Indians with four runs in the ninth? Remember how they then lost 16 of their next 20? Sorry.)
Personally, I think Trey was guilty of a little over management by not letting Good Robinson Tejeda finish the eighth. It’s not second guessing… I brought it up in the ESPN Baseball Tonight chat the moment he pulled Tejeda. It’s difficult to argue that bringing in Soria at any point is a bad move, but Tejeda had thrown only 14 pitches. I’m not going to scream and carry on that Hillman cost the Royals the game – he didn’t – Soria made the pitches. I’m just saying I don’t understand why he felt a need to bring his closer in at that particular moment.
We’ve been agitating all year that Hillman needs to use Soria more in key (or high leverage) situations. Two outs in the eighth with a one run lead on the road certainly qualifies. However, there was no danger at that point and time… No runners on, and you had a pitcher who was dealing.
Hillman gets second guessed in some quarters (which I suppose I’m doing now) but that’s because many of his moves are indefensible. All managers come with a certain amount of goodwill and trust. When that gets frittered away (like it has in Hillman’s case) even the right moves come under scrutiny. It’s a large part of what makes Hillman a lame duck.
He went with his best pitcher and got burned. It happens to managers all the time. But when you’ve lost the trust of the fanbase, you’re going to catch heat no matter what.