The Royals can’t score runs, but damn if they can still play some defense. Quality afield was on display Wednesday as they tied a franchise record with three outfield assists and turned a couple of sterling plays for added emphasis. Of course it helps that these are the White Sox, a team so fundamentally unsound on the bases they run like they’re being chased by the ghost of
And they still know how to rally. Once the Royals got past Jose Quintana, things got a little easier. Actually, a lot easier against the Chicago bullpen. They tied the game up in the late innings once again, bringing hope to the faithful, yet the Royals couldn’t scratch across the walkoff run.
Tied into the 11th, Chien-Ming Wang entered the cauldron for the Battle Of The Bullpens and at that exact moment, you knew exactly how it would end. A little flare off the bat of Tim Anderson, who had previously struck out in his four at bats of the evening, would bring around the go-ahead run. Of course. Naturally, the Royals would tie the game against David Robertson, because that’s what the Royals do against David Robertson.
Leave it to Lorenzo Cain. The Most Valuable Royal from a year ago was due for something good. The baseball gods smiled. The Royals walked off. And we were all happy.
Although if the offense could, you know… be somewhat productive, this could have ended much sooner.
Still, four and a half hours of baseball on a summer night. With a victory.
Sometimes, perception is different from reality. The perception here is the Royals have a helluva time bringing home a run from third with less than two outs. There’s a lot of stink on the Royals offense and that just seems like a massive reason the Royals aren’t scoring any runs; they just can’t seem to get the runner that final 90 feet.
The reality says they’re actually not so bad at getting the run home from third with less than two outs. Royals batters have come to the plate in that situation 193 times and have scored 105 of those. That’s a 54 percent success rate. That may not seem like much or enough, but it’s better than the league average of 52 percent. This team doesn’t reside on any offensive leaderboards, but when they are above league average that’s at least worth a tip of the cap. Respect.
Which brings me to Wednesday. In the third inning Alex Gordon led off with a single. He advanced to third on an error. That brings up Paulo Orlando. The tying run down the third base line and one out. He struck out. Wah-wah.
Of course, this was written well before the 13th, when Jarrod Dyson led off with a triple. That brought up Drew Butera (one runner scored in three opportunities) and Alex Gordon (three runners scored in nine opportunities). Both struck out. Alcides Escobar, perhaps not used to seeing a strike given he was intentionally walked in his two previous plate appearances also went down swinging.
And Now, A Word From My Twitter Account
Since 2011, Alcides Escobar has never been walked intentionally more than twice in a season. Ventura intentionally walked him twice tonight.
— Craig Brown (@CraigBrown_BP) August 11, 2016
I’ve often complained about bunts and how the Royals batters will use the sacrifice at an inopportune moment in the game. The ire usually seems to be directed at Alcides Escobar, who appears to have a Baseball IQ lower than the speed limit on Stadium Drive.
The situation on Wednesday was found in the fifth inning, with the Royals down by a run and Gordon leading off with a walk. Runs have been difficult to come by and outs are plentiful, let finite. This is one reason I don’t understand giving up the out in an attempt to manufacture a run. The second point, look at exactly who you’re bunting Gordon over for: Raul Mondesi. I love the kid, but he’s not someone I want at the plate when I need a run brought around from second. At least not at this particular point.
Then there’s the perceived advantage in moving that runner 90 feet at the expense of an out. According to our Run Expectancy charts, teams will score on average 0.8659 runs when a runner is on first with no outs. Move that runner to second with an out and your expectancy drops to 0.6579.
Given the Royals situation at that point of the game, it simply wasn’t worth surrendering an out for 90 feet of real estate.
Bully For The Bullpen
The Royals relief corps had a great night.
7.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO
Actually, so did Ian Kennedy.
6.1 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO
Thank goodness for the pitchers.
The Royals close out the series and the homestand with a Danny Duffy start at 7:15. That’s worth watching. Why don’t you read the preview so you’re extra prepared?