Seeing as though Mondays are my day to shine here at Royals Review but the scheduling gods have seen fit to deprive me of this opportunity for two weeks running, I opted to take the twenty mile trip up to Round Rock from Austin with Rangers blogger, Scott Lucas, and our respective old ladies in tow. These are my quasi-linear thoughts following the game...
Everett Teaford started and cruised through the first four innings. He allowed an unearned run in the first as Lance Zawadzki airmailed a throw to first on what should have been a routine grounder from the bat of the inimitable Esteban German. Endy Chavez and Chris Davis each grounded out but succeeded in advancing German a base apiece.
This tied the game as David Lough had ripped a solo shot about 370 feet to right-center in the top of the first.
Teaford closed out the first with a strikeout of Other Chad Tracy, then struck out the side in the second, sending down Luis Cruz, Brian Barden, and Brad Nelson in order. After inducing a flyball out from the bat of Matt Kata, who will apparently only play for the Round Rock Express now regardless of what team they happen to be an affiliate for, he then struck out Taylor Teagarden for his fifth of the game and fifth of six batters. He tallied another K in the bottom of the fourth, striking out Chris Davis.
Then the fifth inning happened.After a grounder ripped back at Teaford for the first out, David Lough lost a ball in the lights (I hope), Brad Nelson went down on strikes again, and then the wheels came off. Now, I know what you're thinking: Who is strikes? Matt Kata and Taylor Teagarden both turned on pitches and deposited them to the same place that Clint Robinson had a half inning earlier, 380 feet to left center (Robinson's was more impressive, as it was to the opposite field). Esteban German followed with a single to left, stole second on Manny Pina (who seemed a little slow to jump from the crouch), and then scored on an Endy Chavez double that predictably ended Teaford's night.
Teaford hadn't allowed a hit until the fifth, but once he did the floodgates were open. Lough didn't do him any favors with the high fly-ball that ended up falling about 15 feet in front of him, even though Lough wasn't charged with an error. Neither did Zawadzki with the largely irrelevant unearned run that may as well have been charged to Zawadzki, as there was no justification for missing a target as large and sure-handed as Eric Hosmer. Still, those are only two runs, and the other three were all on Teaford. He feasted on guys like Brad Nelson and Other Chad Tracy, but borderline Major Leaguers ended up getting the best of him tonight.
Obviously, one doesn't want to overreact to one rough inning, but when Jesse Chavez has to come in and clean up your mess, you've done something wrong. Teaford cruised for four innings and still struck out seven in 4 2/3 innings, but his stuff seemed somewhat ordinary despite the strikeout totals. His fastball was sitting around 90 or 91, if memory serves me correctly, and his curve and change were both mostly effective, with the curve leaving a few of his strikeout victims looking foolish.
One might reasonably wonder at this point why I have spent so much time talking about almost non-prospect Everett Teaford when Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas bat third and fourth on this team?
Quite simply, there isn't that much to talk about from tonight regarding those two. Aside from a three-plus minute at-bat in which Mike Moustakas got into a 1 - 2 hole before fouling off 78 pitches to work the count full only to whiff on some high cheese from Zachary Phillips (who recorded a strange three-inning save), Moustakas didn't really do much. He grounded out to second twice and flew out to right once. There wasn't a single ball hit to him for the entire game, which is honestly what I was most curious to see.
As for Hosmer, he looked very capable at first, making a great stop on a ripped grounder by Endy Chavez. The Zawadzki error was absolutely all-Zawadzki. There was one other grounder the squeezed through under the glove of a diving Hosmer. While seeing him make the stop would have been great, it seemed like a ball that would have made it through fairly often. Of the big two, Hosmer was the only one who got good wood on a ball when he smashed a ball to the warning track in left center, having it travel about 390 feet to the warning track in the oddly shaped outfield of the Dell Diamond.
Johnny Giavotella reached on a bunt single to third with Clint Robinson on first having drawn a walk, but that was the only other hit Omaha managed. Giavotella also failed to cleanly field a grounder up the middle behind the bag, but he was ranging pretty far to his right. Perhaps a second baseman with slightly better range would have made the play, but an out on that ball would have been a tall order to fill.
Really, the only standout tonight was Clint Robinson, who drew a walk in addition to hitting the aforementioned opposite field home run, making it three on the young season.
I plan to make it to tomorrow's game as well and may be fortunate enough to take in a Jeff Suppan start on Wednesday.