The Royals and Twins combined for seventeen hits and twenty-seven baserunners, yet still managed to accumulate a grand total of five runs in twelve innings of play. Games like last night are full of missed opportunities and what ifs. They can eat you up, unless your team is 11 games up in September, in which case you would just like the damn thing to get over.
The Twins’ bullpen allowed just three hits and a run in six plus innings while Royal relievers pitched five straight scoreless innings before Franklin Morales served up a two out home run to Miguel Sano in the twelfth. By then, Ned Yost had gone deep enough into the bench that the Royals sent Orlando, Escobar and Dyson to the plate in the bottom of the inning (with Omar Infante on deck if anyone got on). Hey, if you can’t score with those three….
None of that is a criticism of Ned, who deployed Gore and Dyson in situations that had a chance to get the Royals an edge. After the ever reliable Ben Zobrist reached base for a third time in the tenth, Yost went to Dyson, who stole two bases to get to third with one out and Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer coming up. That seems optimal, until Cain chopped one to the pitcher to get Dyson thrown out at the plate. Managers do effect the outcomes of games, but sometimes they also do things right and still not win.
Random thoughts from last night, the past, the future and beyond:
- The umpires got the Dyson call at the plate right. If Kurt Suzuki does not have the right to go out and catch a ball, even when it is in the path of the runner, without getting called for blocking the plate, then we might as well give up on the tag play. Home plate umpire Greg Gibson was erratic last night, but he got that call right and even the guys in New York knew it.
- In case you had any doubt as to how poorly Jonny Gomes hits right handed pitching these days – or at least how Ned Yost perceives him to be – that he did not pinch-hit in the 12th with his team needing a blast to tie the game is probably a pretty good indication.
- Kris Medlen threw his hat back into the post-season rotation ring with a outstanding outing last night. It has been said a thousand times, but how nice is it to have the choice for your number four starter to be between Danny Duffy and Medlen as opposed to Jeremy Guthrie starting Game Seven of a World Series?
- No, I don’t give a flying damn about whether Johnny Cueto missed a public appearance at BBQ shop.
- Alex Rios got a hit last night. Seems notable due to rarity.
- Speaking of rightfield, what would you do in the post season. I am aware of a segment of Royal fandom that believes Omar Infante is some defensive wizard and Ben Zobrist doesn’t even own a glove. There is really nothing sabremetrically or via the eyeballs that supports that theory, but I imagine some say start Infante at second ‘because of his great defense’ and put Zobrist in right. Thankfully, Ned Yost is not one of those and has pretty much installed Zobrist as his every day second baseman – where is outstanding with the bat and above average with the glove. People love Paulo Orlando, who has a bookshelf of dramatic plays this year. He also has a library of sub-par hitting for most of the year as well. Dyson can hit righties decently, but then you lose his speed for just the right late game situation. Gomes can mash lefties, but really should not be allowed near fly balls in front of small children. Can the Royals carry all four in the playoffs? Will they? Should they?
- No, I don’t give a flying damn what your favorite Kansas City BBQ place is.
- Greg Holland threw seven pitches last night, none faster than 91 mph. This on the heels of throwing ten pitches the night before with, again, none topping out above 91. The results were two scoreless innings. A change in a approach or the approach of doom?
- I like this lineup and batting order (Alex Rios is the exception, but don’t really mind giving him a handful of games just to be sure his bat really is just a noodle), let’s take it out on the road and really see what she can do.