The Royals ran themselves out of an inning and back into a tie for first place

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Last night, in a pivotal game against the Tigers, the Royals put two men on with a couple of singles with one out in the ninth inning. Down by two, with two of their better hitters coming up in Sal Perez and Eric Hosmer.

Joe Nathan was pitching for the Tigers. Nathan is easy to run on. Indeed, 44 of the last 46 runners who attempted to steal against Nathan going back to 2006 had been successful. Not one had been picked off. Maybe running on him in an effort to get runners to second and third base is a good idea?

Of course, it’s worth wondering how many of those successful steals were really situations where the scorer could have called it defensive indifference. A lot of closers in to protect three-run leads don’t give a toss about a runner on first. Also working against the idea of stealing: Ned Yost put in two pinch runners after those two singles, which did everything but install a neon sign that said “I’m going to double steal here,” which at least put Nathan and the Tigers on notice. Doesn’t mean it’s now a terrible idea to run on Nathan. But it does mean that it’s not a total slam dunk.

Yost had the runners run. Jarrod Dyson went too quickly. This happened:

I’ve seen many defending Yost in the wake of this play, choosing to blame Dyson instead. And yes, Dyson screwed up. But it’s also the case that Yost and the Royals were engaging in one-run strategies when they were down by two. They took the bat out of the hands of Royals hitters facing a closer who has been anything but automatic this year, and who was already in mid-meltdown. It’s easy to second guess, and yes, I’m second guessing, but why you’d risk running yourself out of an inning like that is a question that should be asked.

The Royals are now tied with Detroit. They’ve got one more game against them today. If it’s a close game, it’s hard to see how the Tigers don’t have an advantage.

Mets trade Wilmer Font to the Blue Jays

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The Mets announced a few minutes ago that they have traded Wilmer Font to Toronto for cash considerations.

Font was acquired by the Mets from Tampa Bay for a player to be named later back in early May. That player to be named later was later named: Neraldo Catalina. Catalina is 19 and is playing rookie ball right now. The Mets have now turned him into cash. I suppose we’ll see if that was a good idea in a few years.

As for the Jays, they get a pitcher who posted a 5.79 ERA in 10 relief appearances for the Rays and then started three games and relieved 12 in New York to the tune of a 4.94 ERA. On the season he has a combined K/BB ratio of 42/18 in 45 innings.

He’s an arm. He cost cash. That’s about all I have to say about that.