Friday, September 19, 2014

Slaughterhouse 10-1.

Playoff Odds (ESPN/Fangraphs): Abandon ship!
Playoff Odds (Baseball Prospectus): We’re doomed!

Well, that sucked.

The tone was set in the top of the first inning, when Alex Gordon, who plays defense in left field better than anyone on the Royals does anything, misplayed a Miguel Cabrera line drive terribly, having it somehow go around his glove. This occurred with one out and Ian Kinsler foolishing breaking from second base; if Gordon simply catches the ball, it’s an easy double play and Vargas is out of the inning. Instead it was a run in and a man on second, who would also score, as would another in the inning.

Gordon was bad. Jason Vargas was bad. Everyone was bad, except Nori Aoki of course, who had two more hits, but was pulled from the game anyway because Ned Yost decided giving him some rest was more important than letting him challenge George Brett’s major league record of six straight 3-hit games. (Hey, it would be cool.)

Both Terrence Gore and Lane Adams batted, is what I’m saying. Tim Collins threw an inning, is what I’m saying, and the game was so over at that point that the Tigers let him record three outs in five pitches – it might be the quickest inning Collins has ever pitched.

Meanwhile, the Mariners are beating the Astros, and the A’s are beating the Phillies, meaning this will probably be a worst-case scenario kind of game. The only saving grace – if it is one – is that they won’t have long to stew on it; tomorrow’s game starts in less than 14 hours.

The good news is that James Shields starts tomorrow. The bad news – well, aside from the fact that he faces Max Scherzer – is that there really is no margin for error. Shields has been brilliant of late, and he could be forgiven a hiccup. But the Royals can’t recover from one; if they lose tomorrow, the division is probably out of their reach, and a wild card spot becomes even more tenuous.

It’s another Big Game. Unfortunately, it will come in front of another Big Crowd, which is a problem only in that since 2004, the Royals are now 25-75 when playing at home in front of a crowd of 30,000 or more. I have no explanation for this. I despise psychological mumbo-jumbo like “they can’t handle the pressure” or “they don’t want it enough” from fans who have literally never talked to the players. I can only analyze the facts, and I don’t have any facts that would explain their consistently terrible play in front of packed houses at Kauffman Stadium. And without an explanation, I’m still tempted to call it a massive, stone-cold fluke.

But it would sure be nice if the Royals put an end to that flukiness tomorrow afternoon, or they may not get a chance to do so in October. They’ve got the right guy on the mound. But then the mound hasn’t generally been the source of the Royals’ problems this year.


Jazzbumpa said...

After this series, the Tigers have 3 games with the White Sox - against whom they are 8-8, and 4 with the Twins, against whom they are 7-8.

If the Tigers don't take at least 2 of 3 from the Royals, they leave the door open.

Their inability to rise above mediocrity against the bottom teams in the division makes up for their domination [so far] of the Royals.

This season is not over.

Beyond that, the Tigers bull pen would have to improve quite a bit before it could even be considered a disaster. Three former all star closers on the roster, and none of them reliable.

I don't see them going very deep this fall.

Nor the Royals, should they get in. You can't win if you don't score.


Logan said...

"I despise psychological mumbo-jumbo"

That's funny, because it seems like that is the only thing Petro ever wants to talk about when you are on his show.

Mick Unsell said...

So, I guess tomorrow's game is the pre-closing argument for both parties in the debate on "The Trade"???

Jackson Clarke said...

Soooo, nobody's thought about how we've been a terrible team for for-e-ver and surprisingly have a terrible record in front of 30,000 plus crowds? Typically, when the K sells over 30k tickets it's for the Yanks or Cards series. We don't usually sell 30k plus tickets to just Royals fans. Our terrible record in "big" games is only indicative of how terrible our team has been against the league leaders.

Jackson Clarke said...

All in all, terrible.

Ford said...

I believe someone once said it best when they said, "this sucks".

Kansas City said...

One game.

The lopsided season series and run differentials say the Tigers are a better overall team, but in what is now a two game series and 9 game season, who is the better team does not control and may not make very much difference.

Everyone here probably knows this. But over a short period, the baseball God of random chance takes over, and She is probably ready to give some love to Kansas City. GO ROYALS.

Ryan Balsiger said...

Perez with some terrible baserunning there in the 6th inning! Should have scored on the gap shot by Hosmer, but was busy staring down the ball instead of watching his coaches. Then he was lazy about tagging up on the liner! AHHHH this playoff chase is ripping my heart out :)

Mick Unsell said...

I'm giving Salvy a pardon on this one. On a line drive to an infielder, a baserunner's instincts are "get back to the bag!" After said infielder throws the ball into the OF trying to get a DP on another runner, Salvy's instincts are "Run! Score!" One does not instinctually think of having to tag up on an IF lineout before advancing. On a lineout (or fly ball) to the OF, it's a no-brainer. I'm not sure if I have ever seen a similar play, but maybe minds more enlightened than mine can do so...

Mick Unsell said...

That being said, Salvy's brain (and body) might be fried from catching something like 478 games this year. When are we going to start charting Ned's "catcher abuse points" the way that Dusty Baker's "pitcher abuse points" used to be tracked???