05 April 2007

Game 2 report

It was a cold one. Paid attendance was reported at 22K, and the stadium looked fairly full by the 3rd or so. It was also about 70 percent empty by the 8th. Odalis Perez struggled with control somewhat (but so did Josh Beckett) and grooved a couple pitches in the 1st that Drew and Lowell made him pay for. After that, Perez settled down somewhat and stayed out of serious trouble until getting the hook in the 6th with a couple runners on. Soria made his MLB debut and did well to get out of the jam with only 1 run in after walking the first batter he faced. Wellemeyer looked bad -- falling behind batters, balls not close to the zone, what balls were in the zone were grooved. Ryan Braun was impressive (even tho he gave up a run) -- he buckled down and kept guys like Ortiz and Manny off balance, struck out Ramirez looking after making short work of Youkilis. He looks like he's got some potential as a reliever.

Beckett looked really good in person on the mound for Boston. He didn't have total command but he was blowing batters away at times. The stadium gun had him at 96-97 on many fastballs, and he broke off a couple nice breaking balls to freeze batters. My hopes of seeing Alex Gordon's first hit were in vain, as Beckett overmatched him twice and the other two times he was impatient at the plate and swung at the first thing he saw, without getting good wood on either ball. Maybe he's just trying too hard or something, or those first two at-bats got into his head a little bit and he just had an off game. It would be tough for your first two MLB games to be against Curt Schilling and Josh Beckett, but he'll have to grow into that. The guy that looked the best at the plate for KC was probably Ross Gload. He stayed balanced and drove a couple pitches for 2 of the 3 team hits. Teahen was solid in the field, although you can tell he's still figuring out RF with the routes he takes and way he judges the ball. His double in the first (the only hit other than Gload) came from fighting off a good pitch for a hit. Sweeney worked Beckett to a 3-0 count in his first AB, then popped up the next pitch, and didn't exactly inspire with his other ABs. Teahen also swung on 3-0 later in the game. Does Buddy not want them taking walks? Not to say if you feel there's a great pitch to hit on 3-0, not to swing, but Beckett was having command problems, why not put some pressure on him by taking a walk or two? I guess they did take 4 walks off Beckett, but they coulda done more. Those walks usually came in hard-fought ABs where Beckett got down 3-1 and then made them work the walk. Pena Jr. didn't dazzle at the plate or in the field, although he didn't get a lot of defensive chances. He did have one ball lined right at him that bounced off his glove and the hometown scorer gave the Boston batter a base hit, which I thought was charity, since it was the same kind of ball Lowell got his first error on. Former Royal gas can Kyle Snyder even came in and looked good last night. It's not like Boston sent out a squad of elite relievers after Beckett's 5 IP. All 4 guys they used were hittable -- the Royals just didn't get it done. I partially blame the weather, since it was 40 degrees colder than opening day. Ultimate blame is on them, tho.

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