The Royals struggled from the beginning once again and lost their fourth consecutive game.
BIG PICTURE: The loss dropped the Royals to 29-30 on the season. As bad as the Royals have played at times this season, they are remarkably around .500.
NOTES: Bobby Witt Jr. hit what appeared to be a home run Tuesday night. He was then called out on an appeal because he missed home plate. Witt said after the game that he touched home plate.
BUBIC STARTS LIKE KOWAR… Jackson Kowar struggled big-time Monday night in his major league debut. Kowar recorded two outs on 39 pitches before he was pulled. So you figured it would be better Tuesday night with Kris Bubic on the mound. Bubic has been terrific this season. Well, it wasn’t much better. Bubic did get through the first inning, but it took 42 pitches.
Both Kowar and Bubic made some nice pitches that Angels batters fouled off to stay alive. Bubic was much better with his control than Kowar, but he had similar results.
I am not one to worry about pitch count for a game. But I do worry about pitch count in an inning. Bubic threw 43 pitches in the first inning, and Mike Matheny sent him back out for the second inning. Any time you get over 30 pitches in an inning, you have to consider removing that pitcher. Stressful innings are hard on the arm. Pitchers throw a lot of pitches in one inning. They get tired. That’s when injury chances go way up.
I’m sure Mike Matheny will say that he could not afford to go to the bullpen so early in the game for the second game in a row, but that’s no excuse. That is a terrible reason to leave a pitcher in the game. Kris Bubic is an important piece of the rotation for years to come. We don’t need him ending up needing Tommy John surgery because of poor managing.
Bubic went on to give up four home runs on the night. All four came off of changeups that stayed in the middle of the strike zone. Only one of those was in the long first inning, and it was to the second batter. The other three came after the first inning. Is there any chance that the changeup problems after the first were because of the long, stressful first inning? I would lean toward no simply because he struggled early in the game with it as well. However, the long first inning certainly wouldn’t help his control later in the game.
Mike Matheny, and apparently the television broadcast crew, seems to believe that all pitches are the same. I lean towards pitches after 30 or so in an inning to wear on a pitcher many times more than pitches early in an inning.
IT’S OK TO BUNT, AND WHIT SHOWED YOU… I get the thinking that you shouldn’t bunt. I just won’t go so far as to say it should never be done. Whit Merrifield showed great use of the bunt in the second inning Tuesday night.
The Angels had Ryan Gosselin playing first base. Gosselin is not a first baseman. Second baseman David Fletcher was playing close to second base, so Whit pushed a bunt to the second base side of Gosselin but made him make a play on the ball. At that point, all Whit had to do was beat the pitcher to first base, which he did easily.
There are times to use the bunt. And it can be used a lot more than it is used these days. The ridiculous shifts should be eliminated, not by rules, but by bunting for easy base hits. That would fix the shift, but it is not happening.
So even though the analytics geeks will claim that the numbers say you should never bunt, they are wrong. Of course, the numbers might say that. But there is a lot more to baseball than the numbers.
NEXT UP: The Royals and Angels wrap up their series Wednesday night. The Royals will send Brady Singer to the mound to try to salvage one game in the series.
Thanks for reading…