Royals Find a Way to Win, Inspite of More Nedulence.Follow @RoyalsBlue_com
Ned Yost Dreams
Some how, some way, I sit here this Monday morning reflecting on what transpired this weekend, and still find myself optimistic about the playoffs.
The Royals still have a grasp of a wildcard spot as we entire the last week of the season! In other words with only 7 (and 1/2 inning) games to go, the Royals are in control of their own destiny to PLAYOFF BASEBALL!!!!
For the first time in nearly 30 years, that can be written in Kansas City. A team that holds North America’s current record for most consecutive years without reaching the playoffs, is on pace to break that streak!
And the most amazing part of all of this is they are going to do it with “Baseball’s worst tactical manager.” I know this is not a new topic for me, but I feel obligated to the blogosphere to point out just a few more ludicrous moves Ned, #yosted the Royals with over the weekend:
First, why the hell is he so fascinated with the sacrifice bunt? Especially with his top hitters? Especially in early innings? Especially against a team that is averaging 5+ runs a game coming into the MOST crucial series to date. All of these are questions that can only be answered by again realizing the Royals are managed by the “Worst tactical manager in the MLB.”
Let’s set a table for you and let you choose the logical path. You have a hitter who just set the club record for most hits in a three game series, and was one hit away from setting the MLB All-Time hits in 4 games mark. Now lets say that it is the first inning of a game where last year’s Cy Young winner is on the mound, however he already gave up a double to the leadoff man. With 9 full innings of baseball left to play, against a team that will undoubtedly score more than one run, you would play for the big inning? Right? Now let’s also point out the said pitcher is currently sporting a 4.21 ERA against the Royals, so he is prone to giving up some runs. You definitely think, play for the big inning. Right? But no, Ned, the king of “Playing the hot hand” yet again trips over his own mantra and takes the bat away from Nori Aoki, who going into that at bat was 13 of his last 16. Nori gets the job done, moves Alcides Escobar to third, and Willingham and Gordon both proceed to strikeout to end the threat. No runs scored.
Let’s fast forward two innings. This time the two fastest guys in the Line-up are on first and second. The SAME batter at the plate, the same .813 average is looking to score some runs. Great time to double steal right? Ned Yost just flipped you off. He says HELL NO! It’s time to play small ball! Let’s give up a guy (again) to get our “all-or-nothing” king Josh Willingham (if you are a homerun/power guy it doesn’t matter what base they are on!!! A double scores Escobar from first!) and his .218 batting average up to score both these runs with a single…. You know the thing the guy we are giving up does at a .813 current pace. Not to mention Willingham just proved, he CAN’T TO THIS! but Aoki being the team player he is, gets the job done yet again…and Willingham….well let’s just say he didn’t! ROYALS FAIL TO SCORE AGAIN!!!!! (More about that game in a second).
Now fast forward to the next day. A fresh new Sunday Yost had time to take his lashings from the media, and reflect upon his game plan. His lead off man is at the plate with two runners on. With the bunting of Aoki in the game before cooling off his stick (from a blue flame to a red flame) Escobar is now the hot hand going 6 for his last 7 and 2-2 in the current game with a single and a double. So what is the logical thing to do again? You guessed it, drop down a sacrifice. Possibly due to the shock, or just frustration, Escobar pops the ball up to the pitcher. This was only the 2nd time in 8 plate appearance the Tigers had managed to get Escobar out. And guess who is coming up next. Yesterday’s bunter of choice Nori Aoki…and what does he do? The exact same thing he was going to do yesterday (because I can predict stuff like that), he shots a triple down the first base line easily score runners from first and second. The Royals manage to score the runs, and take a lead they would never give back. All because HITTERS WERE ALLOWED TO HIT!!!!
Before I rest my case your honor, I would like to bring one last piece of evidence before the court.
After all this non-sense of bunting, leading to NO RUNS! The Royals still found themselves in a fortuitous position in the 9th inning with runners at 2nd and 3rd, while being down by 1 run. With the struggling Joe Nathan on the mound for the Tigers, Ned knew it was time to go to a pitch hitter. In the dugout he had multiple options, but with speed on the base paths he knew a single would do that job. The natural move would be to go with the person who had the best career numbers against Nathan to get that single right? That person, would be Billy Butler. A career .421 hitter against Nathan, Butler was poised and ready. Ned decided to pass. So the next logical person would be the only full time player with a batting average over .300, Lorenzo Cain. Again, high average, and a good bet to make contact (it was his infield single? that won the game against the White Sox just 5 days prior). Again, Ned kept looking…… “You know what I really need here, a professional at bat” (Ned literally said this in the press conference). EUREKA, I will go to the guy that is 1-11 lifetime against Nathan, Raul (I’m a spritely 42) Ibanez. The player/coach and his .167 average, walks to the plate to a ROARING 37,000+ crowd, and promptly rolls over on a ball to first to end the game. Royals lose 4-3. The Royals had every chance to win this game…but alas, couldn’t get out of their managers way!
I guess it is a miracle in and of its self that we have made it this far. But this team has managed to figure out ways to win! And the season shows, they actually should continue to be able to do this! If we can find a way to win 5 of these next 7 (and 1/2 inning) games I really think we are in. And if we could get a little help from our rebuilding brothers in Houston, and the Twinkies of the North, that wouldn’t hurt either!
All this being said, the little kid that still controls my sports mind says, we make it to the playoffs, and the Central is not out of the question!
Go Royals!!! I really want to use these seats I have for the ALDS!!!
*I would like to thank our reddit viewer that helped guide me to the term Nedulence!
Stockholm syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending and identifying with them The Royals and their fans wake up with few games remaining in the 2014 ... Read more