If you read enough comic books (or if you’ve watched the recent flood of superhero movies and TV shows), you know a common theme is superheroes fighting the temptation to use their powers out of costume, thus compromising their secret identity. You have young Clark Kent wanting to go out for his high school football team, Peter Parker not beating up the bully, Dash Parr purposely not winning first place in track, and Forrest Gates not using his secret demon hunting job to impress dates. And now, maybe we should add Kyle Davies to the list.
How else do you explain Davies shutting down the Red Sox, who are averaging 5.4 runs per game, tops in the majors? My theory is that Davies is actually a solar-powered alien, imbued with the power of a magic ruby he found in a pyramid, and accidentally exposed to gamma radiation while biting a spider – all of which enables him to throw a baseball 3 gazillion miles per hour with pinpoint control and knuckleball movement. Normally, he hides his abilities by pretending to be an awful major league pitcher, but every now and then, he gets tired of all the crap we give him, and he decides to pitch well. Well, c’mon – do you have a better explanation?
Okay, okay. So hyperbole and geeking out self-indulgence aside, Davies did have a pretty good outing last night. He went 6 innings and stuck out 6, while allowing only 5 hits, 1 walk, and 1 run. And that follows his last start, where he struck out 9 in 5.1 innings, while allowing only 2 earned runs. Those aren’t great outings by any stretch, but if he can pitch like this consistently, that’s solid back-of-the-rotation value. The flip side, though, is that he has a $3.2M salary, which is a bit pricey for a back-of-the-rotation starter…
Anyway, if I haven’t driven you off yet with this extremely geeky (and probably poorly written) post, here are a few more amazing observations and incredible notes:
Two wrongs don’t make a right, but maybe three wrongs do?
If you haven’t seen Aviles‘s game-winning squeeze bunt, you should check it out. For the first few seconds, it looks like the comedy of errors we’ve grown used to seeing from the Royals. Every Royal involved screws up. With the squeeze play on, Frenchy takes off from first because he missed the sign (i.e. he was trying to steal second), Aviles pops up the bunt instead of getting it down on the ground, and Hosmer (who correctly took off for home with the pitch) stops halfway to home before realizing the bunt is going to drop. Somehow, though, the ball drops untouched, and the fielder’s momentum prevented him from trying to get Hosmer at the plate. The best part? Frenchy taking off for second is what pulled the first baseman in, which is what let Aviles pop-up go over him and drop. If Frenchy doesn’t miss the sign, he stays put, the first baseman stays back, the pop-up is caught, and Hosmer is probably doubled off third, ending the inning.
Our Bend-But-Don’t-Break Bullpen
Of course, Aviles never would have been in position to pull off his superhuman bunt if our bullpen hadn’t been displaying some magic of their own. Granted, they made their own problems, but check out these escape acts:
- Bottom of the 9th. 1st and 3rd, 1 out. Crow strikes out Crawford and gets Reddick on a fly to right.
- Bottom of the 11th. 1st and 2nd, 2 outs. Holland strikes out Crawford.
- Bottom of the 12th. Runner on 3rd, 1 out.
Coleman strikes out Crawford The Red Sox batter misses the squeeze sign (omen of things to come?), and the Royals tag out the runner, who broke for home with the pitch.
- Bottom of the 13th. 1st and 3rd, 1 out. Coleman gets Navarro on a foul pop and gets Ortiz to ground out.
Great. Googly. Moogly.
Royals breaking in a new leadoff hitter?
Down at AAA, Johnny Giovatella has moved to leadoff for the last few games. From what I heard on the radio, Gio projects as more of a 2-hole hitter, but given our lack of a prototypical leadoff hitter, the radio guys are thinking the idea is to let him try it out at AAA. Putting aside where Gio might slot in our batting order, the bigger takeaway to me is that he’s probably not going to be called up in the near future. It doesn’t seem to make sense to try something like this unless you want to give him some time, both for him to get used to it and for us to evaluate him at it. So for those of you on the Replace-Getz-With-Gio-Now bandwagon, this is probably not encouraging. Then again, my track record with predicting Royals moves is pretty lousy, so…