I want to play craps with Ned Yost. Right now, before his luck changes.
Yost went with Vargas too long….and it worked. He went to a 21 year old rookie as an injury replacement (I would have too, by the way) and it worked. He has a rightfielder who, best I can tell, has never gotten from point A to point B without a detour to point C (and sometimes D, E and F) and said rightfielder made two run saving catches. He pitched Tim Collins in the ninth inning of a tied playoff game and it worked! Hell, in a 2-2 game, Yost used six relievers before handing the ball to his All-Star closer…and it worked.
Roll ’em, Ned. Let’s get rich.
Of course, not going to Holland until the Royals were in a save situation is not gambling to Ned. It is by-the-book baseball 101. I don’t agree with it, because you run the risk of losing a game without using one of your best relievers. Last night, the book served Yost well. Damn if it wasn’t nice to have Holland go out and blow the Angels away for the save and a 1-0 series lead.
Even with the win, there is plenty to debate. Would you have had Terrance Gore try to steal third? I would have and would have been proved a genius if he had done so before Salvador Perez flied out to center. Of course, I would have been a goat had Gore been thrown out at third. I think the odds were in the Royals’ favor on that one, however, and Ned should have rolled the dice and given it a try. I mean, why not?
Last night, the Royals went 16 straight hitters without getting a baserunner or, for that matter, even hitting a ball square. They went six innings without a hit. Their bullpen walked four batters, hit another and none of them scored. They did not bunt once (did they?) and won on a home run.
What the hell is going on here? I don’t care, I love it.
Not all, of course, was sunshine and roses last night.
Kelvin Herrera left after facing one batter with forearm stiffness. It’s the Royals and we’re conditioned to think the worst and forearm stiffness is often the first indication of UCL issues. How long can you wait before replacing the designated seventh inning guy on the roster? Keeping in mind, of course, that if the Royals replace Herrera for this series, he is NOT eligible for the following series.
Does the Herrera injury make Danny Duffy a full-time reliever for this series and hence Jeremy Guthrie the Game Four starter? That would seem the likely plan of action. After all, even if the Royals decide to replace Herrera on the roster, the pitcher they would call up is not a guy you want anywhere near a pressure situation. A lot depends on just how bad the Royals believe Herrera is hurting, but this is going to be a tough string of decisions.
Also, let’s think about tonight and Yordano Ventura, who has pitched Sunday and Tuesday and not been very good in either outing. Can you bring back Duffy and Finnegan without any rest? If you have to get Ventura early, is Guthrie the call and sort out Monday’s starter later? (The answer is likely yes on that last one, by the way).
This is playoff baseball. It is agony and euphoria and tension and happiness all in one big hairy ball of crazy. For reasons unknown, Yost has guided his team through a landmine of debatable tactics to two wins.
Roll the dice, Ned.