09/05/11 9:36 PM ET
Defense shows off with flashy double play
By Dick Kaegel / MLB.com
The Royals' middle infielders, second baseman Johnny Giavotella and shortstop Alcides Escobar, pulled off a classic in Monday's 11-6 victory over the Oakland A's.
With runners at first and second in the Oakland fourth inning, Scott Sizemore hit a hot grounder toward right field that Giavotella dove to stab spectacularly. He made a hard snap throw to Escobar who was covering second base and caught the ball barehanded -- yes, barehanded -- for a force-out. He quickly relayed to first baseman Eric Hosmer to barely retire Sizemore at first to end the inning.
The double play came after Royals pitcher Felipe Paulino had walked Ryan Sweeney and Kurt Suzuki with one out and the score tied at 4.
"The reason we're able to do that is we're so athletic up the middle," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
"Gio did a nice job and Esky is as athletic a shortstop as you're going to find in the big leagues and he has the ability and the natural reactions to do that. You can't think about that. It's just, boom, he grabbed it barehanded and then fired it to first. It was a phenomenal double play. I imagine we'll be seeing that one over and over again."
Duffy will make last start of season on Tuesday
OAKLAND -- Danny Duffy will make his last start of the season on Tuesday night against the Oakland A's on the theory that 150 innings is enough for the rookie left-hander.
And, you know what, he can pitch a full nine innings against the A's and be right at his limit. He'll enter the game with 141 innings, 99 for Kansas City and 42 for Triple-A Omaha.
"Whatever they give me, I'm going to make every last pitch count -- in every aspect of that phrase," Duffy said. "I'm trying to be really efficient."
Duffy has had a tendency to throw too many pitches in the early innings, reducing his capacity to pitch deep in the game. In each of his 19 starts, he's thrown 89 or more pitches and has gone five innings or less in 10 of those games.
"I'm trying to be more efficient and get to the seventh," Duffy said.
That would match his longest outing this season, reached three times.
Manager Ned Yost pointed out that most young pitchers seem to go through a period of refining their command once they reach the Major Leagues.
"You've got to wade through that mud field. You've got to just get in it and trudge through it to get to the other side," Yost said. "And that's what he's doing. You know it's going to be tough for 'em; you know he's going to do exactly what he's done. Tommy Glavine lost 17 games his first or second year. All those kids come up and they struggle, but they find it, and they take off."
That's his hope for Duffy.
For Duffy, this will be his second start not too far from his hometown of Lompoc, Calif., about 250 miles south of Oakland. He hopes for a similar result of his first start, his first Major League victory in a 7-4 Royals win.
"I really think I'm going to have a good game," he said.
Getz sits with Escobar in lineup
OAKLAND -- Chris Getz was back on the Royals' bench on Monday as Alcides Escobar reclaimed shortstop after missing two days with a sprained left ankle.
Getz has started just three games at shortstop in the Majors, all within the last two weeks. The two last weekend against Cleveland were his first back-to-back starts.
"He did fine," manager Ned Yost said. "He's got the range and the glove to handle it. He just needs to adjust his throws -- I think he made one throw over there that didn't bounce."
Getz agreed, noting most throws from his normal position of second base are made sidearmed while many throws from shortstop are best thrown directly overhand.
"I know there were some good things and bad things -- it's a work in progress," Getz said. "The adjustments that I need to make are arm angle stuff, figure out when I need to be up here [over the top] and down there [sidearm]. Other that, I thought it was pretty good. Obviously Hoz (first baseman Eric Hosmer) helped me out a few times, but I feel like I can play over there."
More chances to play shortstop would help, he said.
"I don't know how this whole thing is going to play out, but just being able to go over there when they need me to do that, I think I can do it. Obviously, I did it," Getz said.
Since the arrival of second baseman Johnny Giavotella, Getz has been cast in the role of backup infielder.
"Who knows where next year is going to take us," Getz said. "You just wait for another everyday job to open up, whether it's here or somewhere else. Like last year and this year -- there were times when I wasn't playing and all of a sudden I was playing. So I'm just plugging along."
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.