Saturday was supposed to be a fun day with both the Royals and Sporting playing. It was fun to watch the two teams but unfortunately both ended in defeat. We’ll see if the Royals can prevent a four-game sweep at home to the White Sox on Sunday.
Here is today’s Dr. Feelgood…
Kris Bubic pitched seven innings and allowed just two unearned runs. Immediately after the game, traditional sports media was pleased with the performance and everyone pointed out the two unearned runs. Why did they do this? Well, they did it because two runs allowed in seven innings is a very nice outing. However, Bubic allowed five runs.
Yes, by pointing out the two earned runs, what the traditional media and others were saying was that Bubic gave up more than that but those weren’t his fault. He is excused for those runs. That’s not how the thinking fan sees it, and that’s who we are here at the Kansas City Sports Monitor.
I get it. Earned run average is an attempt to show how well a pitcher does. It’s not the pitcher’s fault if a fielder makes an error and it ultimately leads to a run. They argue, “How can you count that against the pitcher?”
Well, we don’t subtract anything from a pitcher if a fielder makes a great play behind him. If an error is made, the official scorer plays the inning in his head as if the error wasn’t made to determine earned and unearned runs. But you really can’t do that. That’s not real. The game is different when a batter reaches base. And you can’t figure out how things would have gone differently if a great defensive play had not been made. The idea appears to make sense, and is widely accepted, but it’s flawed.
In Saturday’s game, Kris Bubic led off the fifth inning against James McCann. McCann reached on an error by Maikel Franco. So, the official scorer says in his head that we have one out and nobody on base. The next batter was Adam Engel who flied out to right. Now there are two outs and the bases are empty for the official scorer even though we see a runner on first and one out on the scoreboard. Nick Madrigal then steps to the plate and grounds out for what the official scorer says in his head is the third out of the inning even though we can see that the inning is not over. There is now a runner on third and two outs.
Are you following me so far? As far as Bubic’s ERA is concerned, this inning is over. Nothing that happens after this point will affect his ERA. But it does affect the game. And whether baseball fans want to admit it or not, it’s the outcome of the game that matters, not the stat line of the players. Baseball fans still look at ERA regardless of what the stat nerds say.
So with two outs, Tim Anderson singles and a run scores. Yasmani Grandal then hits a two-run home run before Jose Abreu flies out to finally end the inning.
So the people celebrating Kris Bubic’s game point out that he only allowed two earned runs in the first as if the three unearned runs in the fifth didn’t matter. Well, the Royals scored three runs in the game. Without those three unearned runs, the Royals win the game.
Baseball stat nerds, of which I was one at one point in my life, will say that you can’t blame Bubic for that. Maikel Franco made an error. But isn’t this a team game? Isn’t Bubic still supposed to get batters out even if he should have been out of the inning?
And there’s the problem. Yes, Bubic had a good outing. It might have been one of his best so far at the major league level. But it’s also a learning experience for him. He has to find a way to get out of the fifth inning without allowing those three unearned runs. A good team picks up each other. And I’m sure Bubic was trying to get batter out after he should have been out of the inning but why didn’t he? I’m not sure we can answer that. The White Sox do have a tough lineup. The good news is that Bubic retired the White Sox in order in the sixth and seventh inning. The bad news is that this confirms that he wasn’t tired. No, it was something else.
It was a good outing for the young Royals pitcher. But don’t get carried away. If Kris Bubic is going to be the pitcher the Royals need, he will need to learn how to get out of innings like the one he had in the fifth inning Saturday. Otherwise, he’s just another Danny Duffy who never reaches our expectations. That’s not Duffy’s fault or Bubic’s fault if the same happens to him. That’s our fault for thinking they were going to be more. Duffy has been a fine pitcher. He just hasn’t been the pitcher we thought he was going to be after posting a 2.53 ERA in 2014. We want Bubic to be better than this.
White Sox 5, Royals 3
Dynamo 2, Sporting 1
1:05pm – FSKC – Chicago White Sox (Dallas Keuchel, 5-2, 2.42) at Kansas City Royals (Matt Harvey, 0-2, 14.09, 1-3, 5.19)
– Saturday was cut-down day. Teams had to reduce their rosters to 53 players. Matt Derrick released his unofficial depth chart after the cuts.
Kris Bubic pitched pretty well, allowing just four hits and one walk over seven innings, but it wasn’t good enough as the Royals lost their fifth consecutive game 5-3 to the White Sox. Two of the four hits allowed by Bubic were home runs.
On offense, Maikel Franco had two of the Royals’ six hits and Bubba Starling hit a solo home run. Adalberto Mondesi went 1-for-4, improving his hit streak to two games. If he’s not careful, Mondesi will have his batting average over .200 in the near future.
The Royals will look to salvage the four-game series with a win on Sunday. Matt Harvey takes the mound for the Royals.
– Jorge Soler was removed from Saturday’s game. He looked uncomfortable at the plate, and if you remember, Soler has been dealing with oblique irritation and mid-back tightness.
– The Royals designated Randy Rosario and called up Edward Olivares on Thursday. Olivares is one of the two players acquired from the San Diego Padres in the Trevor Rosenthal.
If you were forced to guess how this game would go for Sporting, would you be wise to say that you expected it to go like a typical Sporting game over this and last season. Sporting would outshoot the Houston Dynamo but have no more, or even fewer, shots on goal. You might think Sporting would score, since they have in every game this year, but that their poor defense would find a way to give away goals late leading to either a tie or loss. If you said that you were exactly right.
Sporting took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Erik Hurtado in the 30th minute and held a 1-0 lead at halftime. Houston tied it in the 59th minute and then won it in the 85th minute, both goals scored by Dynamo substitutes.
The young kids for Sporting once again played pretty well. Gianluco Busio is becoming one of the best players on the team.
Tim Melia made a couple of outstanding stops but he couldn’t stop everything. Sporting’s defense once again did too much standing around instead of marking its opponent.
In this week’s podcast I talked about how Sporting might not be in first place much longer because of the play of their defense. And frankly the offense hasn’t done much the past few games. Seattle plays Portland Sunday night. A Seattle win would drop Sporting down to second place in the Western Conference.
Sporting gets a full week off before their next game on Sunday, September 13 at home against Minnesota.
ROUND AND ROUND
– YouTube TV and the NFL Network reached an agreement to finally add the network to the most popular streaming service.
– The Seattle Seahawks signed WR Josh Gordon to a one-year contract.
– The New England Patriots named Cam Newton the starting quarterback and team captain.
– Joel Sherman wrote a piece for the New York Post in which he discusses an idea of expanding the MLB season to 174 games. Single games would be eight innings. Doubleheaders would continue to be seven innings as they are this year.
Contact me at email@example.com or on Twitter at @KCSportsMonitor. You can also leave me an audio message at kcsportsmonitor.com. I would love to hear from you. Send me your comments and questions and I might include them in a future column or podcast. Also, if you have an event in the Kansas City area that you would like to have mentioned in a future column please let me know and I would be glad to include it.
Thanks for reading…