PREGAME: Jeremy Bonderman and Gil Meche in a matineee.
Game Time 1:05
POSTGAME:There wasn’t a lot to like about this game with the exception of Jeremy Bonderman and Curtis Granderson. Bonderman went 7 innings on 86 pitches but wasn’t allowed to come out for the 8th. This is the 2nd time in a week that Jim Leyland didn’t send out Bonderman even when his pitch count and performance probably warranted another inning.
Granderson mentioned this offseason that Gil Meche was one of the toughest pitchers he faced last year. He seems to have gotten past that with 3 hits today, granted one was a dribbler, but he was one of the few to get a solidly hit ball all day. Granderson and Placido Polanco combined to get on base 5 times, and Sheffield failed to do anything to drive them in once again.
As for the bullpen, at least Joel Zumaya was good. I’m not too upset about the Todd Jones blown save. It was the walks which were uncharacteristic for Jones that did him in. He’ll allow hits because he doesn’t strike out many, but normally it takes several of those hits. With the free passes Jones loses his slim margin for error. Blown saves are frustrating, but no closer is perfect.
Fernando Rodney continues to struggle. I understand frustrations with him, because he quite frankly hasn’t been effective. And when Rodney is struggling it is excruciating to watch as he takes a long time between each pitch. Still, I’m not terribly worried. He could be a set-up man for many teams, and he’s only splitting the role in Detroit.
As for some of the moves today, I know this will sound like second guessing due to the timing, but I was questioning them as they happened. I didn’t agree with taking out Bonderman. There was no need to. Jones was going to pitch the 9th no matter what, so using Zumaya in the 8th was unnecessary and rendered him unavailable in the 10th.
I also disagreed with the designated bunter approach. For the chance to move a runner into scoring position which would still require another hit, Leyland was conceding an out. The probability of not scoring with a no out-runner on first situation is 57.8% and in a 1 out-runner on second situation it is 60.4% (in a 4.5 RPG environment). So even if it is successful, it reduces the chances of winning. If it were a matter of moving a runner from 2nd to 3rd I’d agree with the move, but not in this case.
A well pitched game in which the the Royals defense handed a struggling offense some runs slipped away. It stinks, but it is also going to happen. Detroit has come out on the winning end of some of these as well.