Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Live Blog! 4/5/11 Royals 7, White Sox 6 - Final/12

Pregame thoughts:

Pitcher: Luke Hochevar 0-1, 4.76 ERA


Mike Aviles - 5
Melky Cabrera - 8
Alex Gordon - 7
Billy Butler - D/H
Kila Ka'aihue - 3
Jeff Francouer - 9
Alcides Escobar - 6
Matt Treanor - 2
Chris Getz - 4

We'll see your basic Royals lineup today, and the same one that was run out on opening day when Hochevar faced the Angels.  We'll face Gavin Floyd in his first start of the season.  The pitching matchup should be interesting, to say the least.. I see a lot of Floyd in Hochevar and vice versa.  Just saw that Billy Butler is a career .341 hitter vs. the AL Central.. holy crap, if he can stay healthy and fit, Billy has the opportunity to have a very special career.  Anyway, first pitch should be any minute now.

First Inning: 

Juan Pierre hit the hardest triple he'll probably hit all season and ends up standing at 3b.  And before I can finish typing the previous sentence Gordon Beckham hits a hard single to drive in a run.  5 pitches, 1-0.. most fans probably haven't even found their seat yet.. not the best of starts.

Great pitch by Hochevar to get the swinging strike on Dunn after he crushes a ball just foul.  Hochevar looks like his typical self, he has had some nice movement so far, but just isn't finding the strike zone consistently.

I was LITERALLY thinking "perfect triple play opportunity right here" and then Paul Konerko SMACKS one deep into LF.. definitely a no-doubter.. still no outs.. definitely depressing.

Rios reaches on a single.. still no one out..

first out is a little tapper back to the mound by Quentin.. hopefully this gets the ball rolling in the right direction now.  Second out on one more pitch and Alexei Ramirez comes up to bat.  Alright, top of the first is finally over.. hopefully we can scratch across a run or two in the bottom of the inning to make things interesting.. it's only 4 runs.. not un-do-able by any means

I'm looking for Mike Aviles to have an extended at bat here.. I would love to see him see 5-6 pitches at least.  Mike Aviles could really end up being as good of a leadoff hitter as the Royals have had in years.. I think he could be DDJ with more power.  Aviles flies out, but only after seeing 5 pitches.  Pitch count is of utmost importance, especially after such a long top of the first inning.

As I type that Melky is first pitch swinging and singles through the hole between short and 3rd.  GORDON!!!   Alex is first pitch swinging as well and crushes a ball to straightaway CF.  I think everyone who follows the Royals knows that this is a big year for Alex, and in my opinion, the early returns are great.

It's a great feeling to score 2 runs before your two best hitters even come to bat.  Billy Butler gets an average Billy Butler hit.. ball is perfectly squared up and crushed right back up the middle.  The kid can hit.  Seriously.

Kila may end up being my favorite Royal this year.  I love his mentality and at the plate I don't think anyone matches his patience and power.  Kila flies out to LF,  Billy is still at first now with 2 outs.. let's extend the inning just a bit longer.

I was half expecting Frenchy to crush the first pitch.  Instead, it's a bit inside and the count is 1-0.  The bottom of this inning has been huge.  If the Royals expect to be the '10 Padres of 2011, then attitude will be everything.  By scoring 2 and cutting the lead in half right after the Sox score 4 they can maintain their confidence.  Francouer flies out to end the inning.  To the 2nd we go!

Second Inning:

Brent Morel flies out to a perfectly positioned Francouer, good start for Hoch to the inning, it would be very important for this to be a quick inning.  Pierre grounds out to 2B and the Sox are down to their last out in the 2nd.  Inning will go on a bit longer as Beckham singles.  Sox have a dangerous middle of the order, it'd be cool hand Luke clutch to retire Dunn right here.  Instead, Luke falls behind 3-0.

Kinda figures that after working back from 3-0 to 3-2 Luke hits Dunn on the foot on a fail of a curveball.  Konerko grounds out to the SS Escobar to end the inning.  Not the best inning, but infinitely better than the first.

Escobar will lead off the inning, and singles right up the middle.  If Escobar can get on base a little more and work on his ISO SLG%.. he could end up being one of the best SS's in the game.. (as long as his defense stands to be as good as everyone says it is).

Matt Treanor is up, does anyone else hope that Treanor is the starter when Kendall gets back?  Or that maybe Kendall won't come back at all?  If I had to rank the catchers it would look like this: Brayan Pena > Matt Treanor > Jason Kendall.  I don't think Ned Yost agrees with me however, as I believe he probably has his list directly inverted.

There's really nothing quite like leadoff baserunners.  Wouldn't mind seeing Escobar try and steal here.  Base Stealing is overrated, but a player like Escobar needs to do the little things and help his team any way he can.  Looks like Gavin Floyd is thinking the same thing I am, and is throwing over constantly.  Treanor walks on 5 pitches, 2 on 0 out.

Thank God Getz isn't bunting here.  He pops out, and Aviles is up.

I like the look of the on-screen graphics, but why can't we put a pitch count up?  It's such useful information, and there are a lot of networks that keep one up all the time now.  Gotta love the double steal with 2 outs.. Let's see if Melky can double in a couple of runs now.  Melky singles through the right side and two runs score..

Wow, Melky completely lucks out when he advances to 2nd on the throw.. the play was very close, he was called safe.  I'd love it if Gordon can pull a rabbit out of his hat and give the Royals the lead here.  Instead he softly lines out to 3b on a pitch that broke his bat.   The game is now tied and Luke should be rested after another long half inning.  Onto the 3rd!

Third Inning:

Escobar makes plays that Betancourt could only dream of making.. and he makes them look easy.  I've been very impressed with his defense so far this season.

Three ground balls, three relatively quick outs.  This inning was Hochevar at his best.

Billy rarely hits a ball that isn't screaming.. unfortunately that one was right at the defender.

Kila strikes out, but only after running an 0-2 count to 3-2.  Frenchy hits one hard to extend the inning, however.  I'm very impressed by how well the Royals have been at extending innings.  For me, the only way to beat an opposing pitcher better than by scoring runs is to make him through a ton of pitches early in the game.

Francouer steals 2b and has such a good lead it doesn't even warrant a throw from Pierzynski.  Escobar grounds out and the inning is over, but at least it wasn't a 1-2-3 inning.

Fourth Inning:

Looks like Hoch is doing a good job of keeping the ball down now.  If he can keep the ball down AND throw strikes he could be great, it seems as if he never can do both.  As I write this Hoch walks Ramirez on 4 pitches to start the inning.

The stats say it doesn't matter, but Matt Treanor really looks good receiving the ball.  He frames it well and presents a big target for the pitcher.

Wow, the Royals of the past would have found a way to mess up that routine fly ball, (2b, ss, cf converging) instead, Melky calls for it and other two defenders peel off.  Nicely done.  Onto the bottom of the 3rd.

We need to come up with an awesome nickname for Matt Treanor, who grounds out to leadoff the inning.  Getz grounds out on a 3-0 pitch.. I'm ready for Wilson Betemit, are you?  Aviles strikes out and the Royals go 1-2-3 for the first time this game.  Frustrating inning, especially Getz's plate appearance, you just can't give up outs!

Fifth Inning:

Before I can even think of something to say there are 2 outs in the inning.  This game has just cruised by after the first 2 innings.  Hochevar looks to have found his groove.. (hopefully).  Another quick pop up and the Royals are back to bat.  Time to knock Floyd out of the game.

Melky is retired for the first time tonight which brings up Gordon.  Time to work on that slugging percentage, Alex.  Instead, he swings over the top of a slider and strikes out.  Typical.  Time for Billy and hopefully Kila to give the Royals the lead.  Instead, Butler grounds out softly to SS and it's another 1-2-3 inning for Floyd.  Onto the 6th!

Sixth Inning:

Quentin just gets the ball in to LF over Escobar's outstretched glove.  That ruins Luke's 10/11 retired in a row streak.  The White Sox now lead after a Alexei Ramirez triple drives in Quentin from first base.

One out and man on 3rd so the Royals bring the infield in.  I wholeheartedly disagree with this move, but I thought the double steal was dumb too, and it worked out perfectly, so let's see if Yost is pulling the right strings here.  Luke dials up a great pitch and earns his first strikeout of the night.  Time to limit the damage to one run and get this final out of the inning.

ANNNNNND now we're down 2 runs.. gotta love the infield singles.  Luke is at 100 pitches.  Assuming he retires this batter there's no chance he comes out for the 7th, right?

That ball was smoked!  Luckily it hung up just enough to get to Melky..  Top of the sixth is in the books, time to start the comeback again.

Kila takes a walk to start the inning.  Leadoff walks are the genesis of comeback rallies.  Let's go!

Brent Morel makes an AWESOME jumping stab at a scorching line drive meant for the LF corner.  The kid can play defense, that's for sure.  Escobar grounds into a double play and the 6th is all done.  Didn't hear on the broadcast that someone was warming up.. If I had to guess, I'd say Kanekoa or Aaron Crow are coming in.  99% sure Luke isn't going to go back out there though.

Seventh Inning:

Looks like I was right, Aaron Crow comes on to pitch the 7th inning.  Even when the Royals aren't winning it will be great to see these young pitchers and players this year.  It finally feels like we're building towards something.  Wow, Aaron Crow's stuff looks absolutely electric.  Considering how many good young starters we have, we might very well see Aaron Crow and Tim Collins setting up Joakim Soria in the immediate and distant future.

And Crow just painted a fastball right on the black for a called third strike, and then Getz makes an error.

It's all good though as Crow gets two foul outs and a strike out while allowing no hits or runs.

Floyd comes back out for the bottom of the 7th and the Royals have to be hoping to scratch across a couple of runs to tie it up.

Treanor looks kind of silly as Floyd k's his 5th of the night.  That was about as well as Getz can hit a ball.. and it sort of dribbled through the hole between 2nd and 1st.  Aviles really struggling at the plate tonight, aside from his first at bat he's looked kind of confused.  Aviles lines into a double play.. tough luck, he squared the ball up pretty well, just hit it right at SS Ramirez.

Eighth Inning:

Aaron Crow back out to pitch the 8th.  Let's see if he can grab a couple of K's and run through a quick top half.  I never realized Crow had such a great slider.  It really is on fire tonight.  Royals try to go around the horn but the runner is just safe to avoid the double play.  Morel running on the pitch and Treanor nails him by at least a couple of steps for the third out.

Chris Sale comes on for the 8th inning.  I haven't seen him pitch yet so this should be interesting.

If Gordon can do something here against the tough lefty I'd be pretty impressed.  He's worked a full count, so that's at least a moral victory.  Gordon splits the LF and CF and rolls one to the wall.  1 out double for Alex!  Awesome!

3-1 count for Butler.. *Danger Chris Sale, Danger!*


You just had to think that we might be able to get to the Sox Bullpen.  And it looks like we did.

wow, what a worthless PA by Kila.. didn't see one hittable pitch and swung at all three.  Ugly, ugly stuff.  You've GOTTA be better than that.  Especially right after a rookie pitcher gives up a game tying HR.. You have to think there was an opportunity for a walk.

Jesse Crain comes on to relieve Chris Sale.  Frenchy works a 2-1 count and then singles to LF.  The Royals know how to beat up a bullpen, that's for sure.  Wow, Francouer JUST got picked off.  Wasn't even a good move either.  Frenchy either lost his footing or was just way slow, either way he was clearly out.

Ninth Inning:

Soria on to pitch the ninth.  I could turn the t.v. off for five minutes and still tell you exactly what will happen, haha.  Comebacker to Soria for the first out.  High popup to Escobar on the infield for the 2nd out.  Frank and Ryan are arguing against walks.. kind of makes me want to cry.  Meanwhile, Soria K's Adam Dunn to end the top of the inning.  On to the bottom of the 9th.

Escobar up to bat, then Treanor, then Getz.. I'm hoping Getz won't get the chance to bat, either we'll have won, or Yost will have pinch hit for him.  Escobar pops up to Konerko, 1 out.

Matt Treanor up.. can he become a folk legend with another HR?  And instead he hits a soft come-backer to the mound.. please pinch hit for Getz.

And Yost is letting Getz hit.  Awful, just awful.  Predictably, Getz keeps it in the infield and taps one back to the pitcher for the third out.  Onto extras!

Tenth Inning:

Robinson Tejada is coming on to pitch the top of the tenth inning.  At this point I'm just hoping for quick  a quick half inning so we get another shot at the Sox bullpen.  Our 7-8-9 hitters don't give us much of a chance.. I feel a little better about our 1-2-3 and even better about our 4-5-6!

Kila makes a nice play on a foul pop up to end the top of the 10th.. pretty easy and stress free inning for Robbie right there, if the game goes 11 I fully expect to see him out to pitch again.

Sergio Santos on to pitch the bottom of the 10th.  Turns out he's a converted SS.. I'm hoping this means he's more of a thrower than a pitcher and we can score on him.

Gordon breaks his bat but keeps the ball fair and ends up on 2b with a double!! Gordon has really impressed me this season, now it's time for the Butler.

And Butler gets IBB'd which brings up Kila with 2 outs and a man on first and second.. having made clear how much I think our 7-8-9 suck.. This is literally our best chance to win this game (lefty to bat, righty on mound)

C'mon Kila!

1-1 count. -- Kila fights one off and the count goes 1-2.. and strikes out swinging.  Pretty ugly stuff, too. Onto the 11th.

Eleventh Inning:

Kanekoa Texeira on to pitch.  He gets the routine fly out to LF to start the inning.  And then he gets Alexei to fly out to LF.. Gordon makes me so nervous when he plays it so cool basket catching those liners with one hand.. He's gonna drop one eventually, and everyone's going to react badly, why not just give all your effort and make sure you catch every ball!

Morel sends a liner into RF for a single and the White Sox have a base runner for the first time since the 8th inning.  Juan Pierre sharply grounds out to Aviles and it's the Royals turn to bat.

Jeff Francouer to lead off, and like I said, if we don't see a HR here, I'm afraid we'll see a 12th inning.  Santos is still pitching, he's got some good stuff, but he's the type of pitcher that Francouer could take deep.  Instead, Frenchy pops up to Morel and there's one out.

Escobar grounds out to his counterpart, Ramirez.  It's Treanor Time.  Treanor K's and it's time for the Sox middle of the order.. Beckham has been white hot tonight, scary stuff.

Twelfth Inning: 

Kanekoa Texiera is back out to pitch the 12th.  If he can put Beckham away I'll feel much much better.  And instead Beckham hits one to Gordon in left who has to range far to his right and get the ball in quickly to 2b to hold Beckham to a long single.  It was really a nice defensive play by Gordon.  Hard hit ball to Getz and he (barely) gets the ball to 2b in time to get Gordon Beckham for the fielder's choice.  Scary to watch, but nice play nonetheless.  Konerko walks and there's 2 on with 1 out..  Time for a clutch double play.

Yost brings on Jeremy Jeffress to pitch.

Very interesting what just happened.. Lillibridge, on to pinch run for Adam Dunn gets caught in no mans land and then gets seemingly picked off but he was called safe.. the Ump thought Aviles had the ball in his hand and tagged the runner with an empty glove.  The umps get together and the runner is called out.

And then Alcides Escobar makes what HAS to be the best defensive play of this young season.  He ranges DEEP in the hole and makes a perfect throw to first base.  Probably the best pick and throw I've seen ... maybe ever.  bottom of the inning time!

Getz to lead off the inning.. awful, but we'll fight through it.  Hopefully he can get on base so our real hitters can do some damage.  Getz works the count full.. and singles right up through the middle!  I'm hoping he doesn't try and steal second, at least until we have an out.

Forgot to mention, Tony Pena is on to pitch.

Aviles lays down a bunt as a single tear falls from my eye.  Getz advances to 2b.


Post game wrap:

Well now I've had a chance to calm down a bit, I think I can reflect back on tonight's game.  Tonight's game is a good example of how I hope this season will go.  The Royals were far from perfect, but they managed to get the job done.  They bunted when they probably shouldn't have, they double stole when it was probably too risky.  They ran into outs at 2nd base, they got picked off of first base, they struck out too much and walked too little, but the bullpen was incredible and they walked away with the win.

The biggest difference between this year and Royals of years past has got to be attitude.  This hot start that they've gotten off to is the perfect way to bring a young talented team like the Royals together for the season.  Opportunities are abound for this year's Royals and up is the only way to go from here.

I'm headed out to the park tomorrow, with the bullpen pretty obliterated I hope to see a good game from Jeff Francis.  If you read this, thanks!

1 comment:

  1. Nice play by play! Interesting to the similarities.and otherwise to my thoughts while watching the game.