Well, maybe not legitimately good hitting.
Maybe great pitching beats good hitting, and even great hitting, ala Bob Gibson.
The New York Mets have good pitchers with great stuff, but they are not great pitchers yet, and Kansas City’s hitters might have taken their hearts, as well as the hearts of the Mets, period, by wearing down their ace with a simple but great strategy that has gone on since the beginning of the game—make him throw strikes, foul off his good pitches until he makes a mistake and then just meet the ball for singles and doubles and let those speed burners run wild on the base paths, unnerving the opposition while disrupting the rhythm of the ace and eventually knocking him out of the game.
If you looked closely, you saw that DeGrom does not have a slider of the likes of Tom Seaver or a curve in the league with Nolan Ryan or Sandy Koufax and has not perfected an exceptional change-up but has relied on devastating speed and movement and spotting the ball and can inevitably be worn down by a .line-up of experienced two-strike hitters.
DeGrom finally started missing his spots.
The Mets pitchers were successful against a Dodger team with big holes in their line-up and in the swings of their younger hitters who appeared over-matched. The Cubs swung and missed more than any team in baseball and struck out more than anybody in baseball, duping the experts into thinking Mets’ starters were near invincible.
The so-called experts are overwhelmed by the speed gun and the unusual poise of such a young staff of hard-throwers on the Mets.
As I said before, The Royals have a line-up similar to the great Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees of the 1970s, with a top-to-bottom balance of tough table setters and power hitters along with speed on the base paths to drive even the greatest pitchers in the game crazy.
The lesson? Power is over-rated and diminished by good scouting reports; and especially in cold weather when the ball is deadened. Toronto was over-rated. The home-run derby at all star break is distracting bullcrap and akin to the slam dunk at the NBA all star game and discourages the real game for the instant gratification of unknowledgeable fans obsessed with sensationalism. It’s doubtful any these fans know how to keep score.
I’m not sure if the shifts are helping or hurting these teams. If anything, it makes for awkward baseball, with a big third baseman chasing down hard shots in short right field and trying to pivot on doubleplays.
I hope Kansas City can stay away from the PHD’s from the Ivy League.
Fielding techniques have changed drastically and in some cases are downright wrong, and especially infielders back-handing balls right at them, sweeping at and trying to snare balls one handed without getting in front of them. Hosmer is guilty of this and booted a big one that cost a run and was lucky to be bailed out by Alex Gordon’s homerun that tied the game. A loss, because of this boot, could have changed the path of the series. With a man on second, Hosmer has to get in front of that hard smash, and if he can’t catch it he can at least knock it down and prevent the run scoring.
I’ve seen infielders from all infield positions, especially shortstops, backhand balls right at them. You back hand the ball only when you HAVE to. Otherwise you field, plant and throw. Elementary.
It seems, at certain points in the game, Harold Reynolds, doing commentary with Joe Buck, needs to go down on the field and tap those hitters attempting to bunt and show them the simple art of laying down a sacrifice. It’s embarrassing. Even the great Mickey Mantle knew how to lay down an excellent drag bunt.
Cespedes is swinging too hard and lost his groove. Swinging too hard leads to pulling out, not keeping your eye on the ball, and swinging at bad pitches. He might be in an irreversible tailspin, and if he is, the Mets are finished. Hitting slumps are the toughest things to fight your way out of in baseball. I recall waking up at 4 in the morning at age 9 and finding my father (Murray Franklin), who was still playing in the old Pacific Coast League at 39, swinging a bat in front of a mirror in the living room after taking the collar in a game that night for the fourth straight time.
One of his solutions to get out of a slump? Play pepper. I wonder if any of these modern players play pepper.
Somehow, I don’t have the trust in Ryan Madson in a crucial relief situation as Ned Yost does. He gets behind and comes in with cheese.
The cold weather isn’t helping David Wright with all the stiffness in his lower back.
Kansas City is playing a blood-thirsty game of cold-blooded killers.
The last thing on their minds is home runs.
At the gym where I work out most mornings a bunch of older guys talk baseball all the time in a serious manner all during the season but a couple confessed they fell asleep during the first extra innings game.
I didn’t have the heart to tell them I’ve known too many fair-weather wanna-be baseball fans who talk the game but know nothing about it and don’t really care enough.
If you want to hear the stupidest remarks ever by baseball fans, go to a Dodger game.
Michael Cuddyer, one of the great productive very smart grinders in the game, looks finished, and it’s sad, and it hurts. He deserves better, but like Clint Eastwood says in “Unforgiven” before he shoots Little Bill, who professes he doesn’t deserve such a fate, “Deservin’s got nuthin' to do with it.”
And that’s baseball—pitiless.