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 Kansas City Royals and Houston Astros game. We call this #PropHate.
I can’t even pretend. In fact, never before in the history of baseball has a series opened with fewer people able to convince anyone else that they were interested in it. The Kansas City Royals share no history with the Houston Astros. There’s no rivalry. There is absolutely no link between the two teams other than an arbitrary geographic proximity that might be interesting if the two teams were in the same division, but alas they are not. Yay, interleague.
At one point, on Stub Hub, tickets for this game were available for $4. I assume that’s not a cost to the person who wants tickets, but rather what the person holding the tickets is willing to pay to get rid of them.
It’s the middle of June, and the Kansas City Royals currently find themselves five games back in the American League Central, as they wait for the prospects in their system to make good on the expectations of pundits and create a competitive team. Meanwhile, the Houston Astros sit 11.5 games back of the leaders in the National League Central, as they wait to join the American League West next season. Both teams are without a doubt filling in the time until they can be better teams.
Making Monday night’s match up all the worst was the fact that the two starting pitchers were shit ballers of the highest order (or lowest, depending on how you see things). Jonathan Sanchez of the Kansas City Royals offers less control on the mound than Hosni Mubarak exerted as President of Egypt. J.A. Happ is the type of pitcher that only Ed Wade could love. Since 2010, no two starting pitchers in baseball have walked a higher percentage of batters.
Things started pretty much as you might expect with runs being scored on both sides of the very first inning of the game thanks to shitty pitching, and exhibiting some versatility, also shitty fielding on the part of Sanchez. While J.A. Happ settled down to a degree, Sanchez continued to struggle, putting together only a single clean inning of three up and three down baseball.
The Astros scored two runs in the fourth, but really put distance between them and the Royals when they scored five runs in the eighth to open up a 9-2 lead. Homers by Justin Maxwell and defensive replacement Brian Bogusevic (who made two great plays in the field before his dinger) did the damage, but it would be wrong not to also mention a two-run double by Brian Bixler, who homered in the first inning. He finished the game with a career high three RBIs.
Things got interesting, for the first time in the entire game, in the top of the ninth inning when Houston closer Brett Myers allowed five earned runs on eight singles from ten batters. Most, if not all the hits were incredibly unlucky. Coming into the game, Myers had given up only five runs in 22 and 2/3 innings, and only 15 hits from 85 total batters faced.
Never one to pass up an opportunity to make a pitching change, Astros manager Brad Mills brought in Xavier Cedeno to get the final out of the game, which he did by inducing a Mike Moustakas fly out.
The Win Expectancy Graph
The Most Important Play Of The Game
Brian Bixler’s first inning home run increase his team’s probability of winning more than any other offensive play from the Astros. As you might guess, such a play occurring in the first inning doesn’t exactly make for the most exciting of games.
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.
Royals right fielder Jeff Francouer went two for five, and knocked in a run on one of the eight singles that Brett Myers gave up in the ninth inning. The Royals never came closer to winning than at the moment immediately following Frenchy’s hit.
Anatomy Of A Singles Only Party
Only three other relief pitchers in all of baseball history have done what Myers did last night in giving up eight singles in an inning or less of work.
Here’s where the Royals batters were making contact, courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net:
So, maybe all those singles being hit off of cookies in the middle of the strike zone had less to do with Myers’ bad luck, and more to do with the pathetic swings of the Royals’ lineup.
Catching a foul ball in a cup is pretty cool, but having a nearby nerd document it forever really puts an exclamation point on the whole proceedings.
The Statistic You Won’t Believe
The Astros and Royals rank one and two in appearances by relievers for this season. Unsurprisingly, Houston manager Brad Mills made five pitching changes last night, but Ned Yost only made one.
The Most Awesome Photo Of All Time Ever
Carlos Lee is 1.11 Jose Altuves tall.
The Person You Should Probably Follow On Twitter
@HowManyAltuves uses the diminutive second baseman as a unit of measurement all the livelong day.
Remember that scene from one of the Mad Max movies where Mel Gibson was all ready to kill this huge creature that he was fighting, but then he rips off the guy’s mask and reveals a baby face, and he’s all like, “Oh, never mind, I don’t kill babies.” Well, Billy Butler, making a rare appearance at first base for the Royals, has the most babiest face ever for someone with a goatee.