Category Archives: Kansas City Royals

YANKEES – SIT TIGHT AND WAIT IT OUT

If there is one thing the 2015 season demonstrated, it’s that younger (read athletically) constructed teams were the ones who played well into October. In essence, speed kills. Whether you’re talkingimages-1 about a fast ball consistently in the 95-97 mph range (Mets starters) or quick thinking and athleticism on the base paths, or swift and reliable ball tracking in the outfield (Royals on both counts)  – all winning teams (add the Cubs, Astros, and Pirates too) have speed as a common thread between them. Continue reading

MONEY FOR NOTHING – TITLES FOR FREE

For those who follow baseball, an intriguing question images (6)continues to be…….what role does money play in the game today….and does $$$ automatically equate to winning, and especially winning World Championships?

Off the top of your head, you might say – look at the success MLBtrophyTampa Bay has had in recent years in a devalued market and shrinking revenue, and that is true. But overall, what is the true value of money spent? I thought I’d take a look at this from a pure mathematical standpoint. Here are the results of this study…… Continue reading

COLLINS: ” DON’T PUT IT ON HIM – IT’S ON ME”

Second guessing Terry Collins’ decision not to remove Matt Harvey images-17in 8th inning after 102 stress filled pitches does not do justice to a man who is a baseball “lifer” and who also has the credentials to be seriously considered for Manager of the Year in the National League.

Here’s the thing – in the press conference immediately following the loss to the Royals, he “manned up”images-23 taking ownership of his decision saying that he was thinking with his heart and not his head. Both he and pitching coach Dan Warthen had a plan coming into the game. It called for Harvey to go seven (if he could) and then for Familia to finish the game out.

A good, sound plan. Harvey did his part. And then came the “meeting” in the dugout in the eighth inning between Collins, Warthen, and Harvey. My brother Bob offered this question…..is this like Grady Little leaving Pedro Martinez in in the same eighth inning in the 2003 AL Championship Series? Good question. Continue reading

TODAY’S HISTORY AND MATH LESSON

Okay, real quick now……..how many times has a team come back from a 3-1 deficit to capture a World Championship?

I didn’t know either and had to look it up. It’s only been done four times. In 1925, the Pirates beat the Senators. images-1More than thirty years later in 1958, the Yankees beat the (then) Milwaukee Braves winning the final two games on the road. In 1968, the Tigers beat the Cardinals (Mickey Lolich!) also winning the last two games in St. Louis. And finally, the Royals came back and bested the Cardinals in 1985.

For our math lesson, what this means is that the Mets have less than a 4% chance (there have been 111 World Series) of coming back to beat the Royals. Or, to put it another way, the odds are 25 to 1 against them to accomplish this feat. Improbable, but not impossible you might say.

So tonight becomes yet another opportunity for Matt Harvey to show up and demonstrate that he is trulyimages-32 the ace of this young staff. I have my doubts about that but if he can get the ball to DeGrom, the true ace, well then you never know. Especially with Noah Syndegaardimage (1) waiting in the wings. It will be all hands on deck tonight and don’t be surprised if you see Syndegaard come in for a inning or two if the situation presents itself.

No doubt, if you are a Mets fan you will hold on to the late Tug McGraw’s refrain……”Ya gotta believe” and hope against the odds that you don’t have to say around midnight……”Wait till next year”.

 

AS THE GAME TURNS……

Just when it looked like the Royals had their gears in synced motion and their lineup was ready to quiet the raucous crowd at City Field with one of those keep the line moving rallies that has become their signature in this year’s Playoffs, the game turned on a dime in the second inning when a call at third base was overturned by replay.

The play (shown here in this MLB video) occurred when David Wright took a throw from left fielder Michael Conforto and the runner, 635818530669234576-USATSI-8892351Alex Gordon, was called safe on a very close play putting runners on first and third with one run in and nobody out.. However, Wright immediately raised his hand signalling to the dugout and Terry Collins pleading for a replay. Collins acknowledged his Captain and Gordon was ruled out by the replay umpire – resulting in runners on first and second with one out. Not necessarily a game turner but the play certainly swung the momentum back to the Mets and they never looked back from there. Continue reading

TAKE A DEEP BREATH – IT AIN’T OVER YET

Before the World Series began, I asked what I believed were two pertinent questions. The first one revolved around the contest of the Met starters who consistently average between 95-97 mph and have a litany of strikeouts as their major weapon – and how that would fare against the Royals offense which doesn’t strike out, images-1seldom walks, and seems to have a propensity to string together five or six consecutive hits creating the big inning that often decides what was (until then) a close game.

You may already get the drift of where I’m going with this, but I also pointed to the distinct possibilityimages-38 that most (or even all) of the Mets rotation has ( or would soon) run into a wall based on innings pitched and plateaus never realized until now. Never was this more apparent than the wall Jacob DeGrom (above) smashed into last night. Cruising images-19along with electric and dominant stuff, all of a sudden he left a few pitches up in the zone and voila – the Royals being the Royals capitalize on these mistakes and turn the game around – for good ( Congrats Johnny Cueto – above right). Continue reading

IT FEELS LIKE CHRISTMAS EVE….

Baseball’s Showcase or Fall Classic as it has been historically termed,  comes to life beginning tomorrow night. After 162 regular seasonFB_IMG_1445889516448 games and two playoff series, only two teams remain standing. The World Series is also, in many ways, baseball’s last stand before the NFL seizes the attention of sports fans until next February when the cycle renews itself and 30 teams arrive in Florida or Arizona with the sole purpose of being one of the two teams here in 2016.

For fans like myself, it usually doesn’t matter whose playing. MLBtrophyBut this year, it feels like Christmas Eve now because we can anticipate a series of gifts that may leave us gasping for breath – as was the case last year when the Royals took the Giants to the final out of the seventh game with a final score of 1-0.

The first gift I want to see opened is the contest between the Met strike out pitching and the put the ball in play Royals. Remember, the Royals don’t walk a lot – but they also don’t strike out a lot either. In fact, the Royals struck out the fewest number of times of any team in baseball ( beating the next closest team by almost 300 fewer whiffs). 

The other gift I can’t wait to see opened is the one with the image (1)fans wrapped inside. These are two great baseball cities and the players are excited about performing in front of them. You may not realize it but Kansas City is an integral part of baseball history and their fans know it. The Monarchs were the vanguard team in the (then) Negro Leagues. And there is a must stop visit to the Negro Baseball Museum in Kansas City that is a must for all fans. And the Mets, of course, have New York City as their backdrop. And judging by the newspapers and the amount of ink being used around here, this is BIG!

Indeed, Christmas comes early for fans of baseball……….

WORLD SERIES MATCHUP – METS VS ROYALS

Oops, the Toronto vs Kansas City series hasn’t even concluded yet. But, believe me it’s over. At home, there is no way the Royals lose two straight, even images-1with David Price (who has not exactly been Mr. Reliable in playoffs no matter where he has pitched) starting tonight for the Blue Jays.

So let’s get on with it. And let’s start with the probability that this will be a very entertaining World Series. On the one hand, you have the Royals with last year’s experience to build on facing the Mets with maybe one or two exceptions I can’t think of playing on Center Stage in baseball’s Fall Classic. for the first time.

Last year, the Royals met Mr. Bumgartner and the Giants. No doubt, “Bum” tore the Royals up. This year, they’ll be facing not one – but four prominent image (1)starters the Mets throw out there – each with 97-100 mph fastballs along with a litany of polished and tantalizing breaking balls. Plus, the Mets have that guy Familia (did anyone know his name in April) who appeared out of nowhere and continues to dominate.

On the Royals side, you have the patient and clutch presence of guys like 1412412471000-USATSI-8122795Eric Hosmer (left) and Alex Gordon (below) who “get it done”. Meanwhile, “something” appears to be wrong with Johnny Cueto and he and the Royalsalex-gordon-kansas-city-royals_20150901-e1441203607921 need to figure that out soon. But, to counterstrike their deference to the Mets in starting pitching, they have the knockout punch of a bullpen if the game is close.

And therein lies the key. The Mets were able to never let the Cubs even reach the door, much less enter it. The Royals however are a different brand right now. They do come back with a string of singles and doubles when they have fallen behind.images-38 Thus, the question is really how far the Mets starters can go into the game to prevent such an attack in the middle innings. In this regard,New York Mets Spring Training at their Minor League practice facility located within Tradition Field in Florida the whole question of innings pitched  to date (and it’s getting way up there) raises its ugly head again for the Mets. How far do you let these young arms go?

In sum, we are not only going to be entertained by this Series, but we will be talking about it throughout the Hot Stove season. If I were a betting man, I’d stay away from this one. Meanwhile, we can just sit back and enjoy it as baseball fans.

FINALLY – NEW BASEBALL DYNASTIES ON THE HORIZON

We all have our favorite teams and players to root for. More than likely, we will continue to do so. But as genuine fans of baseball, we also need to acknowledge a changing of the guard and welcome new teams (potentially) into the fold as Baseball Dynasties. 

While we have witnessed the amazing run of the Yankees images-14in the late Nineties and early 2000’s, they have diminished in recent years to a shell of what they once were (and I say that as a fan of the team). Same with the Braves who put together a incredible string of Playoff appearances under Bobby Cox. The Giants and Cardinals are a close call in terms of a dynasty, but have fallen short of being able to put together a string of any kind.

Continue reading

SMALL BALL (CHAPTER THREE)

Okay, give the Blue Jays some credit. They did what they had to do. They avoided a virtually insurmountable task of falling behind and having to overcome the Royals and a 3-0 deficit. They did it in Toronto style scoring eleven runs. Not to be missed is the fact that the Royals scored eight runs and pounded Toronto pitching.

 But the real question is this……do you see the Blue Jays scoring 11 runs (per) over the next few games? On the other hand, do you see them winning any of these games by a score of 3-2 or 4-3. Not gonna happen. Close games are won or lost by the bullpens. In that regard, can you even name the Blue Jays closer? 

So despite last night, small ball will win this Series. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.