Sunday, November 01, 2015

Crybabies: Volquez and Cespedes

By Nicholas Stix

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Royals pitcher Edinson Volquez had some control problems, not he hadn’t had trouble locating his pitches all game. So, does he get mad at himself? No, he glares at, and then argues with the white ump. Everyone has been saying that we have to pity Volquez, because his father died five days ago, just before he pitched and won game one, so he logically concluded that the ump has to rig his ball-and-strike-calling for him.

In the same inning, when Joenis Cespedes is at bat, with the count 0-2, he hits a foul ball off his leg just above his knee. Batters constantly hit balls off their legs and feet. It looks to me to be the most painful routine play on the game. I don’t remember seeing it happen so frequently when I was a kid.

A player does it, and gimps around for a few seconds, and gets back in the box. But not Cepedes. He lies on the ground, and waits for trainer Ray Ramirez to succor him for a few minutes. He has tears in his eyes.

Here’s the back story. The Mets got him from Detroit on July 31, a few hours before the trade deadline. For six weeks, he was superman. People were talking early on in those six weeks about him being another Carlos Beltran, who became Superman during the 2004 postseason, and who then was the prize catch of the postseason free agency class.

Then Cespedes came back to earth. He stopped hitting, though his defense was still good.

Then, in the playoffs his bat and glove both went cold. In game one of the World Series, he completely botched a fly by the Royals’ Alcides Escobar on Harvey’s first pitch of the game, letting the ball hit off his leg, with Escobar getting an inside-the-park homer.

Last night, Cespedes’ base-running screw-up cost us the game. Tonight, with the bases loaded and nobody out, Cespedes got up off the ground, lunged at a bad pitch, and hit an infield pop-up to waste a precious out. (Lucas Duda got one run on a sac fly.) Collins then removed him, for Lagares.

Collins and pitching coach Dan Warthen agreed to remove Matt Harvey after eight innings, 102 pitches, and with a 2-0 lead, but Harvey demanded he get to pitch the ninth. He blew it.
He walked lead-off man Lorenzo Cain, who stole second on the first pitch to Eric Hosmer, thus eliminating the potential double-play. Collins did nothing.

Hosmer then hit a double, scoring Cain. Collins brings in closer Jeurys Familia.

The next hitter, Moustakas, hits a ground out to Duda at first base, unassisted, with Hosmer moving on to third. That’s one out.

The next batter hits a ground ball to David Wright at third. Wright looks the runner back, and throws to Duda at first. Hosemer takes off for home on Wright’s throw. Duda can nip him at home, but makes a terrible throw. Tie game.

Familia got through the ninth and the top of the tenth, and the Mets are now up in the bottom of the tenth.

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