Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Royals Unimpressed by Fausto

Fausto Carmona proved human after all in Game 43 against the Kansas City Royals. The Royals brought a consistent offensive attack, scoring 3 runs on 9 hits off of Carmona. Despite having to deal with baserunners in nearly every inning, Carmona didn't panic and induced 4 double plays to get out of jams. Carmona pitched fairly well, but the Royals came up with some quality hitting to match. A 6th inning homer by Mike Sweeney off of an elevated pitch over the plate was Carmona's only glaring mistake over 6 innings.

The Indians had plenty of opportunities to score, but left five on base. Odalis Perez brought some good stuff to the park today, holding the Tribe to only 3 runs over 6 innings. Perez utilized an effective changeup and kept the Indians off-balance, striking out six. The Royals' bullpen came up big, giving up one hit over the final three innings to seal a 4-3 win at Kauffman Stadium.

I normally don't give any Dap to the opposing fans, but the Kansas City fans have to be among the most underappreciated in baseball. To be able to root for a team that's been as bad as the Royals for that long and still be as enthusiastic and supportive of your team is the ultimate display of dedication. The crowd at Kauffman always seems so spirited and into the game, even if their team isn't playing well that night (or that month). The fans have reason to be excited though, they have a dangerous, young team on the rise in K.C. The Royals have a dangerous, albeit inexperienced team this year, but give them three more years and they should be turning some heads.

Last Word on The Brick

After taking some time to ponder LeBron's decision to pass for the win, rather than finish his drive for the tie, I keep finding myself in agreement with his decision. "We told LeBron to go ahead and attack and make a play," Coach Brown said to the Plain Dealer. "If you get to the rim, go ahead and finish. If you feel like the defense is collapsing, go ahead and kick it. So it was his read." Marshall was wide open as Rasheed Wallace collapsed to cover a driving LeBron, so he did exactly what Coach Brown wanted.

This is exactly the style of play that LeBron has brought all season. James distributes the ball because he trusts his teammates and they've delivered all season. This is nothing new. I doubt the odds would have been much better to win the game in overtime against the surging Pistons than it would have been for Marshall to hit the open three-pointer. Tony and Wilbon summed it up nicely on PTI today (unfortunately I can't hunt down a video), making essentially the same point above and agreeing with LeBron's decision to pass. They went on to say that you can't fault LeBron for maintaining his style of play during the final possession (as a facilitator), but that you can absolutely fault him for not scoring more points over the course of the entire game.

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