After getting beat 18-2 over the last 2 games when the prior two games were also losses; I was concerned with CC on the mound against a good hitting team. CC turned in his best outing of the year. He would have pitched well against any team the way he was throwing. He had very good command of all of his pitches. He was 89-91 with his fastball but he was pitching inside to both lefties and righties and even climbed the ladder a few times and getting swings and misses on the high strikes. His breaking ball has been good all year and he had it again last night and he threw good changeups as well for the first time all year. I would still like to see a little more discrepancy in his change compared to his fastball, but as long as his command was as good as last night he can pitch well. Not walking anyone was huge as well. He went 7 but only had 88 pitches and could have probably completed the game, but I agreed getting Betances and Miller some work. If there was a negative for CC, it was that KC tried to take advantage of him by bunting and he showed he still is a liability defensively. On one play, KC sacrificed and CC fielded and turned, hesitated because Pirela wasn’t at the bag yet (he had a long run) and they beat it out. On the play, Kay immediately said, “that was surely not CC’s fault and Pirela was late.” Cone gently suggested that CC should just throw to the bag and eventually Kay agreed. Kay really does not have a good feel for the game while it is happening…but at least he has the ability to see after the fact. Cone is my favorite announcer because he looks at things from a player perspective but also has become a SABR student (a little like me).
· The key AB was the Chase Headley AB with the score tied in the 5th inning with 2 outs and 2 men on. Their pitcher, Duffy, who has really good stuff that he needs to control, had Headley 2-2 and had just missed with a hard slider when he threw another just inside for a correctly called ball (KC was chirping), so the call was 3-2. This was an interesting pitch and Duffy threw a slider that was right over the middle of the plate and Headley was right on it but fouled it straight back. At this point the chess game got interesting. There was no way he would throw another slider so the expectation was he throws his fastball and his change is clearly his 3rd pitch and he hadn’t been effective with it so far. So KC thinking Headley would expect the fastball (which is 94 MPH) decided to out think the situation and throw the changeup…and Headley crushed it for a 3 run HR and was really the game winning play. Sometimes you have to take the obvious call and trust your stuff. I would have been annoyed if I were blogging as a KC fan…
· ARod hit a HR to deep RC on a pitch low and over the middle of the plate. You can say what you want about ARod, but he has worked his tail off and you can see him generating power we haven’t seen from his in many years.
· Pirela made a bad error during some heavy rain; I am sure the rain impacted him, but it still was a bad play
· Drew had 2 hits with one being a well struck double, but the other was a bloop hit (in case some of you were excited to see Drew actually help the offense)
· The other night they flashed up a stat showing ARod up with a man on 3rd base and less than 2 out. ARod showed that he got the runner in 58% of the time (not sure of time frame) and the league average was 57%. I would interpret this as ARod does this about the same as the league average. Kay said, “ARod has been very good in these spots.” After he popped out I assume his average dropped 56% and now he is poor in these situations???
· CC has now won 2 in a row
· Betances and Miller each threw 12 pitches to retire their six hitters in a row.