A double, a sacrifice bunt, and a sacrifice fly. That's all it took to beat Zack Greinke on a night in which he only gave up four hits in eight innings. Greinke became the seventh player since the start of the 2008 season to allow four hits or less in a complete game and lose. He's the only pitcher of the seven to give up just one run. That is really tough luck. It's happened forty-one times for a Royal with this game by Kevin Appier probably the toughest loss in team history by a starting pitcher, he gave up only one, a home run, and struck out eleven.
But small ball is what did in Greinke and the Royals offense was pathetic enough to let the one run hold up. As a rule I generally hate small ball and when Aybar sacrificed Matthews over to third I was pleased - because they willingly gave up an out to the best pitcher in baseball. Of course when Figgins hit the sacrifice fly and I had to admit the strategy worked though I would still hate to see KC do it. For two reasons actually, the first being that Matthews was already in scoring position and the second reason is as a team the Royals strike out a lot. The Royals are fifth in the league in strikeouts while the Angels are thirteenth so maybe small ball works better for them because they have guys who can frequently put the ball in play.
Now I know we hear that strike outs are just like any other out but that is not true and I think Figgins proved that last night. They are unproductive and can kill momentum. I don't get why people obsess over a pitchers strike out rate and then blow it off when a hitter strikes out a lot. If a strikeout is the best possible outcome for a pitcher then wouldn't logic dictate that's it the worst thing a hitter can do? There's also the whole babip thing which suggests that once the ball is in play anything can happen. In other words if the Royals strikeout less then they probably will see an increase in batting average and on base percentage which ultimately will lead to more runs.