Flashing back to Rany Jazayerli's assessment of the Kansas City squad that Moore inherited.
After yet another come-from-behind victory on Sunday night, the Kansas City Royals are again World Series champions. Today, we flash back to June 2006, when the Royals hired Dayton Moore to be their new general manager and Rany Jazayerli wondered whether Moore and the Royals could conceivably follow the turnaround modeled by... the Detroit Tigers and their talented GM, Dave Dombrowski.
At some point, an extreme performance can't simply be chalked up to simple sample size issue. Any team can play .250 ball for a week, or two weeks, or even a month. But it is now the middle of June, and as I write this the Royals have won barely one-quarter of their games--only a narrow victory over the Angels on Wednesday kept them from falling back to exactly .250--over a span of 64 games, or 40% of the season. "On pace" is an overused term in sports, but when we say the Royals are on pace to finish 43-119, equaling the 2003 Detroit Tigers' AL record for losses in a season, that is a pace not to be taken lightly. This team doesn't just suck; it sucks at a truly historical level.
When we talk about the decisions managers make in big games, we probably spend too much time on the mistakes. It’s true that the first tenet of good managing tends to coincide with the first line of the Hippocratic oath: “First, do no harm.” Still, sometimes a team needs good guidance, or the right button pressed at the right time, in order to get the result it deserves on a given night. So before we talk about the things Terry Collins and the Mets should have done differently in Saturday’s Game Four loss to the Royals, let’s talk about the things Ned Yost did right.
A rematch of Game One's starters is now a must-win for New York.
After a heartbreaking 5-3 defeat in Game Four, the Mets will try to stave off elimination in Game Five while the Royals will attempt to bring the title back with them to Kansas City. Whatever the result, this will be the final game played at Citi Field this year.
Yordano Ventura's strength has arguably become his weakness.
Early in Major League II, while the team is still in spring training, Jack Parkman, Cleveland’s prized free agent acquisition, steps in against staff ace Ricky Vaughn. Vaughn is fresh off leading the American League in strikeouts, and makes his living throwing fast fastballs, and lots of them.
It's that guy who's still a prospect versus that guy who's still in the majors.
The Mets got back in the series with a 9-3 drubbing of Kansas City last night. A win tonight would even the series and make it a best-of-three, but the Royals offense has been a horror movie villain that sits back up after you shoot it in the chest all postseason, and it is Halloween night.
Wright's game-setting homer was more impressive that you might realize, and the Mets get back in the series.
By the time David Wright stepped to the plate in the bottom of the first inning of Game Three, the Citi Field inhabitants had plenty of reasons to feel down about the Mets' chances of winning the World Series. In addition to a 2-0 series lead, the Royals had pushed a run across in the top half of the inning, giving them another early advantage. But Wright's at-bat seemingly changed the feel of the game and—depending on how these next few games go—could be credited with altering how the series played out.
How PECOTA and the Royals diverged so sharply this year.
None of us ever thought that PECOTA's 72-win projection for the Royals would go quietly—it's just too rich to ignore when writing about Kansas City's two-game lead in the World Series. About a month ago, I performed a review on that projection for Fox Sports' JABO. It went like this:
How the Mets let a briefly vulnerable Johnny Cueto slip away in the top of the fourth.
The consensus coming into Game Two was that the pitching matchup favored the Mets. After all, the last time we saw Johnny Cueto, the Blue Jays torched him for eight runs. Through all the shimmies and quick pitches, Cueto had looked very shaky since coming over to Kansas City at the trade deadline. On the other hand, Jacob deGrom fanned 13 Dodgers in his first-ever playoff start and followed that with two more very good outings despite not having his best stuff.
In Game Two of the 1964 World Series, Bob Gibson lost to the Yankees. He pitched eight innings, and gave up four runs on eight hits and three walks. In the bottom of the eighth, with St. Louis trailing 4-1 and a runner on first base, Cardinals manager Johnny Keane lifted Gibson for a pinch-hitter (Bob Skinner). It was, inarguably, the right choice, and Skinner doubled to set up a run, but still, Gibson fumed. Gibson was pitching on three days’ rest, after a four-inning relief stint that came on one day’s rest in the season finale, but still, he fumed. Cardinals relievers gave up four runs in the top of the ninth, pushing the game far out of reach. Gibson was furious.