Friday, August 26, 2005

The Royals Come to My Kind of Town

Since the Royals are playing the Yankees this weekend, the game is on the YES network so I'm getting a relatively rare chance to watch a game on television (I follow most games on the radio, when I get a chance to listen).

Mike Wood Report. Mike Wood pitched quite well until running into trouble in the 6th, giving up 2 home runs thus far. He gets very good movement on his pitches in an unusual manner (he threw a pitch to Derek Jeter tonight that started out over the plate and tailed 2 feet to the right, which had Jeter bailing out with a terrible swing. He did this against Sheffield as well.) Wood also changes speeds effectively and understands how to use both sides of the plate. Wood obviously doesn't have overpowering stuff (he throws 88 max), but he gets enough movement and uses the plate well enough to succeed. However, Wood has a big problem: he doesn't have nearly the kind of control necessary to succeed with his ordinary repertoire. Not only does he issue far too many walks, but he misses in the strike zone far too often and gets hammered when he does. The two 6th inning home runs and several other well hit balls were on pitches that were strikes but well off Buck's target. Watching a sequence of 15 pitches in the 6th inning, he missed Buck's target 9 times. 9 TIMES. Some pitchers might be able to get away with that (Sid Finch, perhaps?), but not Mike Wood.

If he can learn to harness his stuff a little better, I don't see any reason why Mike Wood can't be an effective starter in this league for years. He KNOWS how to pitch, which is half the challenge. But to this point his right arm is not cooperating with his brain often enough, and if that trend continues Wood will find himself on the fringes of the major leagues in perpetuity. He kept the Royals in the game, but I thought he was lucky to give up only 3 runs.

-- Welcome back to the big leagues, Aaron Guiel. By the way, you're starting tonight against Randy Johnson (though I guess it doesn't hurt that he hit a HR against Johnson when he was with Arizona).

-- Speaking of Johnson, the Royals look positively anemic against the Unit. The Royals managed to scratch a run home in the 7th on Sweeney double and -- of all things -- a single by Angel Berroa after a long battle fouling off pitches. But the prospects are looking pretty bleak for a comeback on this night.

-- I knew, just KNEW we'd see both Joe McEwing and Denny Hocking on the roster at the same time. I don't know what else the Royals would do right now - they're no going to bring Gotay back up for the rest of this season, so there really isn't anyone else to play second base. But it nonetheless is embarrassing to have both of these players of my favorite team's roster.

-- Question: If Runelvys Hernandez was injured enough not to pitch, then why not let the appeal suspension drop and let him sit out 10 games AND rest his ailing back at the same, rather than putting him on the DL first? I suppose keeping an injured player on the active roster is only available to Mike Sweeney. J.P. Howell is back to take his obligatory spanking on Saturday, this time at the hands of the Empire.

-- I just finished reading The Numbers Game by Alan Schwarz. For some reason, the publisher sent me a free copy and "suggested" that I post a review on this blog. I'm pretty sure it will make or break the sales volume of this book. I will post my review in the near future, but in a nutshell: it's worth reading.


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