Every Thursday, the Getting Blanked crew makes a prop bet of sorts with one another having something to do with baseball games over the weekend. Of the three competitors, whoever wins the prop bet is able to dole out a punishment on the colleague of their choice. This week’s punishment was watching and recapping Monday night’s Minnesota Twins and Kansas City Royals game. We call this #PropHate.

The Narrative

Ugh. It kind of sucks to watch a game between the two bottom feeders in the American League Central. It really sucks to be the two bottom feeders in the American League Central. I mean look at this starting pitching match up: Will Smith vs. Cole DeVries.

The Royals have such little hope for this season that they’ve begun selling starting pitching roles to movie studios looking for a fresh way to promote their latest films. Aside: Watch Men In Black 3, now playing at a theatre near you. The Twins would do the same, if only a studio would be willing to buy it. Instead, they’ll start absolutely anyone, even guys who were pitching in rookie ball as a 26 year old just last season.

Despite the ugliness on the mound, there were some stars playing during last night’s game. The Twins still have Justin Morneau (no matter how hard Blue Jays nation foolishly attempts to will his presence on Toronto’s team) and the rather remarkable Josh Willingham (whose success this season has been more secretive than the Pittsburgh Pirates draft strategy). Meanwhile, the Royals have youngsters Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas, not to mention leadoff hitter extraordinaire Alex Gordon.

Combined, the Twins stars, sans Joe Mauer who (quelle surprise!) took a day off with an injury, avoided outs in half of their plate appearances, hitting two home runs and driving in five of the team’s ten total runs for the night. Meanwhile, the Royals stars, all three of them, combined for a .500 OBP, a single home run and four RBIs.

Unfortunately for Kansas City, Minnesota’s other players played slightly better than their other players, as the Twins won 10-7. The victory was due in large part to a three run fifth inning which featured a two-run dinger from Morneau and another home run from the unfortunately named Trevor Plouffe, both off of movie star Will Smith.

Last night, the long ball was the equivalent of playing baseball the right way.

The Win Expectancy Graph

Yep. It really happened this way:

Anatomy Of The Most Interesting Play Of The Game

In the sixth inning, with runners on first and second and one out, Ben Revere FIP’d his way into a single on the right side of the infield. The ball drew Johnny Giavotella far to his left, but he ultimately couldn’t come up with it. Jeff Francoeur in right field charged the grounder, and threw it home, but it was off line and too late. Then this happened:

A typical mindful-of-the-runner-on-third-base rundown of the greedy Revere, right?


Look again. Remember that Giavotella was pulled far off second base, and that the third baseman and catcher have to hold Denard Span at third base. Who’s that making the tag on Revere for the out. Why it’s a rather thoughtful Jarrod Dyson … the center fielder. That makes this a not-so-typical 9-2-6-3-8 tag out. It’s quite possible that this is one of the rarest put outs ever recorded in baseball history.

The Interesting Thing You Probably Didn’t Know

Last night’s game was played in Kansas City at Kaufman Stadium, the home of the 2012 All-Star Game where the players will be allowed to tweet from the bench. How social! Here are some facts about Kaufman Stadium:

  • The stadium is 39 years old, making it the sixth-oldest stadium in Major League Baseball.
  • Between 2007 and 2009, $250 million were spent on renovations to the stadium.
  • The stadium, which opened on April 10, 1973, was originally called Royals Stadium, but was renamed Kaufman Stadium, after the Royals first owner, on July 2, 1993.
  • From 1973 to 1994, artificial turf was used on the playing field, from 1995 and on it’s been grass.
  • On May 15, 1973, the stadium, only a month old, played host to Nolan Ryan’s first of seven no-hitters.

However, the two coolest things that Kaufman Stadium has going for it are 1) the fountain in center field, and 2) a red padded seat placed at Section 127, Seat 9, Row C in the midst of the blue seats behind home plate to honor Buck O’Neil. A person from the local community is selected every game to sit in that seat based on their work bettering the city.

The Shamsky Award

Named after Art Shamsky, who single handedly increased the Cincinnati Reds’ chances of winning by 150.3% in a losing effort during a game in 1966, The Shamsky Award is given to the player on the losing team who contributes the most to them winning.

Mike Moustakas, with his three for four night, including a home run increased the probability of his team winning by 30%, all, quite sadly, for naught.

The Aggravating Thing The Manager Did

With one out in the fourth inning, and runners on first and second because of DeVries absolutely falling apart for the Twins, the seventh hitter in Kansas City’s order, Alcides Escobar, who surprisingly has the third best wOBA on the team, was asked to sacrifice bunt, presumably to move the runners over.

Except, following Escobar in the order were Dyson and Humberto Quintero, the bottom two batters in the lineup and two of the worst three regulars on the team. After the successful bunt, as successful as one can be anyway, Dyson and Quintero both struck out to end the inning.

It was unfortunate only in so much as Ned Yost was in charge of making the call. The results were rather foreseeable.

Stray Observations

I’ll be honest here. I cheated. I only partly watched the first four innings of the game. It was on in the background while I followed along with the draft. But to be fair, the draft wasn’t much better:

Trevor Plouffe has got some power. His .227 ISO, thanks to his home run last night would make him number one in the league as a shortstop. However, Plouffe has played varying amounts at six different positions this season.

Justin Morneau isn’t ageing very well. And, I mean that mainly in terms of appearance.

The commentators on the Kansas City Royals feed told the story of Tim Collins in its entirety when he came out to pitch. True or not, it goes something like this: The diminutive reliever was spotted by the Blue Jays when they were watching someone else. At the time, J.P. Ricciardi was the GM, and Collins was from the same town as his father. When asked about Collins, Riccardi’s dad gave him a glowing review, and so the Blue Jays signed him as an amateur free agent in 2007.

Mustering seven runs in a losing effort must be especially painful for the Royals.