The Kansas City Royals look a lot better when they’re hitting against Jake Peavy than they do against Madison Bumgarner. (Then again, I bet you could say that about most teams.)
When Gregor Blanco led off Wednesday night’s game with a home run off of Royals rookie phenom Yordano Ventura, I started to have visions of the Giants sweeping the series. Blanco just isn’t supposed to hit home runs, especially off a guy who’s been clocked at 100 mph.
Unlike Tuesday night, Kansas City didn’t wait until the seventh inning to put some runs on the board. They answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the first and took their first lead of the series in the second inning. But give Peavy credit – he limited the damage in those two innings and retired 10 consecutive Giants heading into the sixth inning.
That’s when the Royals broke the game open, forcing Bruce Bochy to tie a World Series record by using five different pitchers to record three outs. (We also learned that Hunter Strickland is a hot head and shouldn’t be used except in mop-up situations.)
The Giants had their chances, but couldn’t cash in. Ventura allowed eight hits in 5 1/3 innings, but the Giants stranded five of their baserunners and saw another erased via a bad baserunning play.
And once Ventura was out, the Giants could do nothing against Kansas City’s vaunted bullpen trio of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland.
I still think that forcing a split on the road gives the Giants an advantage as they head home for Game 3 on Friday, but the Royals are in a much better spot than they would have been down 0-2. I hope this weekend’s games are as exciting as Game 2.
I have to admit that I was not looking forward to the All-Star Game. Knowing that Beltran will definitely play and that he should get more than one at-bat, I’m much more interested in watching now. Watching the “best of the best” play each other lost a little of its impact when I realized that about 10 percent of MLB players got picked for the game. But now I’m looking forward to seeing if Beltran can be an All-Star Game hero. Go figure.
In other news, Francisco Rodriguez has a new agent – Scott Boras. Previously, Rodriguez seemed willing to accept a trade to any contender. Now, he’s only interested if he can be a closer. Fortunately for the Mets, K-Rod can only block a trade to 10 teams. Unfortunately, he’s gotten that much tougher to move.
It looks like Sandy Alderson may need to budget $17.5 million for Rodriguez’s 2012 salary. That probably does not bode well for the Mets’ chances of keeping Mike Pelfrey and Angel Pagan if they want to even try to re-sign Jose Reyes.
Bruce Bochy had a relatively undistinguished Major League playing career with the Houston Astros, New York Mets and San Diego Padres. He is best remembered for his hat size — at least in New York.
After his playing days ended, Bochy moved through the ranks as a minor league manager and big league coach. In 1995, he took over as manager of the San Diego Padres. The next year, he won the National League Manager of the Year trophy. Two years later, the Padres set a team record by winning 98 games en route to the National League pennant.
In 2007, Bochy moved on to manage the San Francisco Giants – a position he still holds.
I sent the 1986 Donruss card shown on the right to Bochy just after Opening Day this year. He must be catching up on fan mail now that the season is over, because I got it back today.