Royals Report: 3 Things About Crash In Cleveland
By John Viril
1) Joakim Soria/Drew Butera Chose A Terrible Pitch Versus Mike Napoli
Joakim Soria had Cleveland first baseman Mike Napoli down 0-2 with the winning run at third base and only one out in the ninth inning. Napoli had missed two straight fastballs and was now at Soria’s mercy since he had to defend the plate against anything that looked close to a strike.
Soria could have used his change, slider, or slow curve. He should have made absolutely sure not to give Napoli anything good to hit with an 0-2 count and a dire need for a strikeout. Instead, he went with a fastball aimed to toward that outer edge that caught way too much of the plate.
I presume that the idea was to get Napoli to reach for an outside fastball, but Soria missed his spot. He would have been better served to throw a breaking pitch in the dirt that Napoli could swing over. On the other hand, a passed ball or wild pitch would have allowed the winning run to score. While Drew Butera is a solid defensive catcher, he hasn’t won three Gold Glove like Salvador Perez and isn’t as certain to prevent a pitch in the dirt skipping past him.
At some point, the KC Royals injuries were going to bite them. Alex Gordon, Mike Moustakas, and Salvador Perez were All-Stars for a reason. They’re really freaking good. Even when they’re running bad they bring some serious defensive skills to the table. While I can’t say Perez’s absence COST the Kansas City Royals Thursday night’s game, it didn’t help.
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Salvador Perez is both an outstanding defensive catcher and a terrific play caller. I don’t think it’s any disrespect to Drew Butera to point out that Perez is almost impossible to replace, though Butera has done a really good job of it the last five days.