After over a year of working on this blog I thought I have pretty much figured out what to expect when it comes to certain subjects. Yankees-Red Sox stuff? Oh, so predictable. Steroids threads? I can chart out how the comments are going to go with those like I was Hari Seldon with a TI-84 calculator. The Phillies fan insecurity-fests are a much newer phenomenon, but I’m even starting to grok those pretty well too.
But I gotta tell ya, I’ve been rather surprised at how the comments in the Ken Griffey Jr. thread are going so far today. If you would have asked me how I thought it would have gone before I posted it, I would have figured that about 95% of the comments would be of the “he needs to hang it up and give his job to someone who cares” variety, with a smattering of “he was so good once, sad to see him go” offerings.
Imagine my surprise when I was met with a great number of comments wondering if he had a thyroid problem or some other medical condition or otherwise trying to rationalize or explain away the fact that he was snoozing during a ballgame. What happened to all of the “he’s paid top play a kids game!” comments? Where is all the outrage we typically see when A-Rod does something less than godly? Man, if A-Rod had fallen asleep in the clubhouse he’d probably need to be under police protection right now.
All of which brings us to our comment of the day. It was really the most baffling — and hilarious — comment I’ve seen in some time. Does it attack Griffey? No. Does it defend him? Not really. Instead, it goes after the anonymous players who told the reporter about the incident itself:
The entire generation born after 1980 are just a bunch of rat fink
ba—–s. I work kids that age….so i know…snitches.
Look, on some level I understand that being a generally likable guy for the past 20 years has bought Junior a lot more leeway than your average ballplayer, but I figured that at some point — and that point being simply unprepared to play the game of baseball on a given day — likability wouldn’t matter and people would at least go through the motions of tut-tutting Griffey over this. Guess not.
And with that I’m getting out of the comment thread prediction business. Because you guys are way more unpredictable than I had given you credit for.
Alcides Escobar finished with a .292 OBP this year. He came in at .246 in 117 at-bats in August and .257 in 109 at-bats between September and October, so he wasn’t exactly flying high entering the postseason. Still, that didn’t stop Ned Yost from putting him into the leadoff spot for Thursday’s Game 1 against the Astros.
Yost finally did reconsider hitting Escobar first in September. It took Alex Gordon‘s return to health, plus the previous addition of Ben Zobrist to the lineup, in order to make that happen. However, it didn’t stick. Escobar hit ninth in each of his starts from Sept. 7-26, batting .236 with a .276 OBP during that span. With five games left to go, he was suddenly returned to the leadoff spot. The Royals went on to win all five games. Yost saw it as a sign, even though Escobar went 5-for-22 with no walks in those games.
Escobar went 0-for-4 in Thursday’s loss to the Astros. He did not swing at the first pitch of the game, which probably explains the defeat.
It’s been difficult to argue with Yost since last year’s World Series run and this year’s incredible run out of the game. The blind spot with Escobar, though, gets rather infuriating. One can defend hitting him leadoff against the Astros’ lefties. His career OBP against southpaws is .319 (.316 this year). Against righties, he’s the most obvious No. 9 hitter alive, with a career .258/.290/.342 line (.252/.284/.314 this year). He’s not a pace-setter. He’s not a spark plug. He’s a liability.
After shutting out the Yankees in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday, the Astros beat the Royals 5-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Kauffman Stadium. Road teams are now 4-0 to begin the 2015 postseason.
The Astros grabbed an early 3-0 lead against Yordano Ventura through two innings. Chris Young took over for the Royals after a 47-minute rain delay and was very effective for the most part, allowing just a solo homer to George Springer over four innings while striking out seven batters. Colby Rasmus, who homered in the Wild Card game, took Ryan Madson deep in the eighth inning to give the Astros’ bullpen some extra breathing room.
Collin McHugh stayed in after the rain delay and ended up tossing six innings while allowing just four hits and one walk. Kendrys Morales did all the damage against him with a pair of solo homers. He’s the first Royals player to hit two home runs in a postseason game since George Brett in the 1985 ALCS.
The Royals’ offense showed some signs of life in the bottom of the eighth inning with back-to-back two-out hits against Will Harris, but Oliver Perez got Eric Hosmer to foul out to end the threat. Luke Gregerson tossed a scoreless ninth inning to finish off the victory.
Consistent with their identity during the regular season, the Astros won despite striking out 14 times. The same goes for the Royals, as they struck out just four times. Despite putting the ball into play more often, the Kansas City lineup wasn’t able to muster anything aside from the home runs by Morales.
Game 2 of the ALDS will begin Friday at 3:45 p.m. ET. Scott Kazmir will pitch for the Astros and Johnny Cueto will get the ball for the Royals.
After Kendrys Morales brought the Royals within one run in the bottom of the fourth inning with his second solo home run of the game, George Springer took Chris Young deep in the top of the fifth to extend the Astros’ lead to 4-2 in Game 1 of the ALDS.
According to Statcast, the ball traveled an estimated 422 feet and left Springer’s bat at 109 mph. Royals fans are happy it was just a solo home run. It could have been worse, as Jose Altuve singled to lead off the fifth inning before being thrown out trying to steal second base during Springer’s at-bat.
The Royals will try to answer as we move to the bottom of the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium.