Thursday, June 30, 2011

Game Reflections - #82 vs Royals

At least I tried.  What's your excuse?
Apparently I can't count - the last Game Reflection was game 79, not 78.  See the cashier for a full refund.

Kansas City is tired of coming to San Diego.  Yeah, it's got bright sunshine and beautiful women, but they can't win a game here - now 0-6 lifetime after yesterday's loss.  Some thoughts (and apologies for the late afternoon posting, duty called):

- Rizzo stole his first base in the majors, and oh my goodness did he get a huge jump.  He'd taken 3 steps before Royal starter Bruce Chen delivered the ball to the plate.  It's not often you see the catcher make no throw to third on a stolen base attempt.

- Bruce Chen - 52-51 (going into yesterday), parts of 13 major league seasons.  I was stunned to realize he'd hung around that long.  Teach your sons to throw left-handed; they'll be gainfully employed until they're 50.

- The game's key play ended up being Tim Stauffer's pop-up to start the third.  You'll read that an error was charged to Royals 3B Mike Moustakas on the play.  What you won't read is that he had the ball pop out of his glove twice while trying to corral it ALONG THE FIRST BASE LINE.  Neither the Royals second nor first basemen wanted any part of that ball.  Way to bag your teammate fellas.

Charging Moustakas with the error was unquestionably the right decision but a very tough error given how far he ranged, how close he came, and how tough the sun was yesterday afternoon.

Even so Chen faced Ludwick with two on and two out, eventually with a 2-2 count.  Ludwick lined that pitch into the corner for the double that tied the game.  The next 5 Padres reached safely, including a line shot off Orlando Hudson's bat that Moustakas couldn't hang onto, and a tough high chop from Rob Johnson that Moustakas tried to short-up and missed.

- The Royals employed a shift against Rizzo when he batted in the fifth (bases empty).  I'd not seen that strategery before.  Rizzo popped to third on the first pitch.

- Brett Butler got 6 at bats in this series (0-for-6).  There was a great story on ESPN recently about why the AL has the advantage over the NL in interleague, which made this fair point:  No NL team has a 20-HR guy sitting on their bench when they go to an AL park.  The converse is also true - AL teams must take a potent bat out of their lineup to play baseball the way God intended.  By OPS+ Butler is the second-best hitter on Kansas City's roster.  Advantage Padres.

Of course, trying to get all those big bats into the lineup can be fun too.  Witness Adrian playing RF for the Red Sox in Philadephia.

- The Padres used Spence and Qualls to negotiate the eighth.  I don't believe manager Bud Black declared Mike Adams unavailable yesterday, but that's how he managed the game.  Interestingly Heath Bell worked his fourth consecutive ninth, and got his fourth consecutive save for the second time this season.

- Eric Hosmer (Royals 1B) is going to be good.  Really, really good.  Everything that guy hits has pace.

- Tim Stauffer was nowhere as sharp as he was on Friday.  Didn't matter.  Royals threatened in the second, broke through for 1 in the third, and posed no serious threat to him the rest of the way.  Many consider Mat Latos the Ace of this staff, based on how he pitched from May to September when he was the Ace.  Latos hasn't really pitched like that in 2011 (yet), but Stauffer sure has.  For my money he's the Ace of this staff.

After losing 7 straight to the AL, San Diego has won 5 in a row.  They travel to Seattle to close out their interleague schedule for 2011.  It'd be nice to see them win 3 more.  After that, 8 games with San Francisco over 14 days.  Here we go.

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