Choosing not to flash the leather
In what had to have been the longest game in the history of mankind, the Omaha
Bill Paxtons Royals jumped out to a 2 - 0 lead in the top of the first and then rested on their laurels for the next four hours.
It was a 3 -2 final.
There couldn't have been more than 300 people at the Dell Diamond by the time the Express scored the walk-off run heroically driven in by the mighty Matt Kata with his bat clearly imbued with mystical powers thanks to daily sacrifices at his altar to Jobu and his recently commandeered hats for his bats.
There is no point in bothering with anything resembling a recap for this game. It would look like this:
More nothing happened.
Wait, what was that? Oh, nevermind. That was nothing.
The ball is under the first hat. Again. Even the kid-centric jumbo-tron crap is just the same as it was last night.
Hosmer or Moose have to slap a ball off Nolan Ryan's Beef eventually, right? Nope. Guess not.
Instead I'll just focus on the high- and low-lights.
Johnny Giavotella was the only
Helen Hunt Royal to do much with the bat, reaching four times in six plate appearances. Unfortunately, he decided that he had to make up for that by looking like Dan Uggla in the All-Star Game while manning second. He dropped a fly-ball about three feet onto the grass no more than 15 feet from where he had been standing when the ball left the bat. He still recorded an out at second, as the infield fly rule was not invoked. He also blew two grounders that never should have made it through the infield. All in all, it was a brutal game for Giavotella at second, who makes Dustin Pedroia look like Gheorghe Muresan in terms of stature but apparently tries to field the position as though he were My Giant.
Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas were both 1-for-6 at the plate, with the former striking out once and the latter striking out twice. The Hosmer K was of the backwards variety, and the called third strike seemed low from my vantage point, but I wasn't behind the plate today. Regardless, who the hell does that minor league ump (Angel Campos, for those keeping track at home) think he is telling Hosmer that a pitch is or is not a strike? If it was a strike, Hosmer would have hit it into next week, bro.
Defensively, Hosmer looked pretty solid. He had another grounder scream through past his outstretched glove mid-dive tonight, but not many first basemen are going to make that play. He also had a grounder hit the bag as he had taken position down the line and the ball took an insane bounce that not even Shawn Bradley would have pulled down, and nothing got past Shawn Bradley. That unfortunate hop came the play after Hosmer turned a double play off of a hard bunt up the line, gunning down Other Chad Tracy at second in an insanely heads-up play on Hosmer's part. Zawadzki finished the turn and just nabbed Express shortstop Luis Cruz at first. That hop was also the ground ball double (yes, you read that correctly) that ended up coming across the plate to mercifully end the game in the bottom of the 13th, four hours and five long minutes after the opening pitch.
Moustakas actually had a few balls hit his way tonight and handled them fairly well. He successfully started a double play on a sharply hit Matt Kata grounder. He came up on a grounder in the grass and threw out
world-renowned sprinter catcher Kevin Cash. The only rocky play for Moustakas was on a Chad Tracy roller that made it about 35 feet from home plate. Moose attempted to barehand the ball and left it on the grass. Tracy would have been safe if Moustakas had used his glove, and it was a play that often is not pulled off successfully.
Other than the Hosmer-started double play, the biggest defensive play of the night came from Paulo Orlando. Filling in at center field for the injured Lorenzo Cain, the get from the White Sox in the Horacio Ramirez deal of 2008 came up on a single to shallow center and embarrassed the speedy Endy Chavez, who was attempting to score from second. With both plays, it seemed as though no one could really believe what they had seen. No one was expecting Hosmer to start a double play off that bunt, and it seemed as though there was no way Chavez was not going to score. In each situation, everyone was surprised.
Orlando looked good in center, ranging well and flashing a solid arm. He got a bad read on one fly ball but recovered and still recorded the out. He should get a pass on that anyway, as it was the 845,765th inning.
As for the pitching, Mike Montgomery looked very good in the first, third, and fourth innings. His fastball was sitting in the 90 - 92 range and touched at least 94 (there may have been one reading at 95). He struggled to throw strikes in the second, and was pulled in the fifth after facing (and walking) Matt Kata. It appears as though he was working with a 75-pitch limit tonight, but I can't be sure. He struck out five while walking three. Not overpowering, but he managed to leave the game without having given up a run.
Louis Coleman threw four straight sliders (or so I assume, they were all 78 - 80 MPH and seemed to be diving) and looked impressive through one batter. Then he started throwing his fastball, which he had real issues getting in the strike zone. He yielded the tying run before righting the ship.
I got to see another three innings of a surprisingly effective Jesse Chavez tonight to go along with the inning and a third that I saw on Monday. Regardless of his performance, I'll still refer you to the last line in the faux-recap.
Speaking of that, Jeff Suppan is set to pitch tomorrow. I may try to con someone into working the end of my shift to take in the train wreck that is Suppan.