Monday, July 9, 2007

Hochevar sizzles in Futures Game; Royals win D-Rays series

That's how No. 1s are supposed to pitch.

Luke Hochevar, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, threw a perfect 5th in the Futures Game yesterday, won by Team World 7-2. Here were the 11 pitches he used (velocity listed) while proudly doffing KC insignia:
Batter 1:
91 ground out to third

Batter 2:
93 called strike
92 called strike (nice movement on the fastballs)
78 ball (difficulty locating these curves, though they're around the plate)
79 ball
83 ground out to short

Batter 3:
77 ball
93 called strike (very good fastball)
84 called strike (low and inside)
93 foul (attacking him inside)
79 fly out to center (good breaking action)

This is a very positive development. One inning is just one inning -- and alas, the Royals' consecutive Futures Game MVPs streak ended -- but hopefully Hochevar returns to Double A with a boost of confidence and re-upped dedication to join the likes of former Futures All-Stars now in the bigs, Alex Gordon, Billy Butler and Zack Greinke.

During ESPN's broadcast, the commentator (Steve Phillips?) mentioned that big-league teams like their prospects to go through slumps in the minors. That way, when they struggle in The Show, they'll know how to handle it. Hochevar said practically the same thing after the game:

I've tried to stay locked in on the day-in, day-out process that I need to do to help myself get better. It's good when I go through tough times, you know. That's what makes you tough. I'm thankful for rough times.

While that was going on, the parent club was dusting off the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 12-4. The lopsided score can be attributed to a six-run 8th, and general awesomeness on the Royals' part. It's their ninth win in 13 games, and now they head into the break just 12 games under .500 at 38-50.

The star of the game was Tony Pena Jr., who hit three of the team's seven doubles and drove in four. The D-Rays, from what I can tell, would have a better bullpen if they let Cara Gorges pitch in relief. That's Cara Renee Gorges, reigning Miss Kansas, who has an underwhelming fastball but possesses plus-plus coquetry. She tossed the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday's game, and after hurling the ball across the plate, she gave a nice little fist pump that can only be described as "cute." Then a duly-inspired Royals team won 8-7.

Bravi, Mr. and Mrs. Gorges. Bravissimo.

POSTSCRIPT: For your reading pleasure:
EDITOR'S NOTE: Live-blog! 7 p.m. Central! Today, today, today!

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