Wednesday, March 16, 2005

An Excellent Day with an Insane Finish

An interesting game today. Jimmy Gobble pitched a strong first three innings before giving up 2 runs in the 4th. Sweeney returned to lineup after missing a few days and declared himself fit. The best news of all was Zack Greinke, who pitched 3 2/3 innings strong innings, giving up only a single while striking out three. A pretty good day all around, I'd say. But...

Mike MacDougal picked up a save with 2 strikeouts in the 9th, though he did walk a batter. Not big deal, right? Walked a batter. With a 3 run lead. Walked a batter. Bullet in the head.

The thing that has driven me absolutely crazy about the Royals over the past few years is the ridiculous number of walks their pitchers yield in late game situations, especially when they have a sizable lead and should be doing nothing but throwing strikes. There is absolutely NO excuse for a pitcher of major league caliber to hand out a walk with a 3-run lead in the 9th inning. None. Zero. Drives me completely insane.

Trust your ability - throw strikes. I don't care if you give up home runs; I'd rather see the Royals lose with 4 straight solo home runs than endure the pain of watching nibbling pitchers allow teams back into the game without earning it. Just throw strikes. How can any pitcher at this level, even if it is with the Royals, not do that consistently? If they can't, they aren't major league pitchers.

This has been Mike MacDougal's problem in perpetuity. He has knee-bucklin' great stuff, but if he can't put the ball over the plate when he needs to, he's useless.


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