Shields gets extra work in win over Rockies
KANSAS CITY -- If it hadn't been for Carlos Gonzalez and Jordan Pacheco, the pitch count for the Royals' James Shields would have been considerably lower in his 5-1 victory on Tuesday night.
"Gonzalez and Pacheco both had great at-bats, they both fouled off a bunch of pitches," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Indeed. Gonzalez had a 14-pitch at-bat that included 10 foul balls in the second inning before he singled.
"I threw him some really good pitches, 3-2 right there, and he was just fighting it off. He ended up getting me at the end and I'm just glad I didn't walk him," Shields said.
Shields had no walks in the game.
In the third inning, Pacheco had a 10-pitch at-bat in which he fouled off six pitches before grounding out. So he and Gonzalez accounted for 24 of Shields' total of 95 pitches, a number that kept him from coming out for the eighth inning.
Hall of Famer Luke Appling, White Sox shortstop from 1930 to 1950, was famous for fouling off pitches intentionally. He and Yost had worked together with the Braves.
"He said he could do it on purpose," Yost said. "He got mad at the owner one time because he felt he was a tightwad and he said, 'I'll show you,' and he fouled off like 20 in the stands. That was his story anyway."
And those were the days when owners counted baseballs like gold, long before they were routinely thrown into the stands as they are now.