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Analysis: The Jason Grilli Angels Debut Inning

A closer analysis of what we have acquired in action.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Grilli was one of four Angels pitchers to committee-together a five-inning post-rain-delay performance on Saturday afternoon in Kansas City in the win over the Royals.

Grilli was acquired Friday afternoon from the Pirates in exchange for Ernesto Frieri. He entered a 6-2 Angels road lead in the bottom of the eighth inning and had a 1-2-3 inning.

But let's look a little closer at that inning.

First Batter: Billy Butler hits a 3-1 four-seam fastball hard. A liner in the gap is headed headed to R/CF, Howie Kendrick is in position to make good short jump and spear the liner and record the out.

Second Batter: Alex Gordon strikes out swinging on a 2-2 four-seam fastball. The heater had "great late movement" as Mark Gubicza described it. Gubi called it.

Third Batter: Salvador Perez hits a 1-0 four-seam fastball to John McDonald. The ball hits hard in front of the plate heads sharply toward 3B. John McDonald races up to intercept it at the end of the infield grass heading tight to the line, He gets the ball into his glove before it has a chance to bounce hard down the line, transfers in the blink of an eye and makes an equally great throw to 1B to beat Perez by a step. The high-fives are waiting for McD in the dugout.

So Grilli had a great debut, right? Well...

I turn to my wife and point out that not every 2B in the MLB makes the play Howie did. And even thought they would not have pinch ran for Butler with a four run deficit, the Perez ball could have been a double down the line that would have either scored Butler or made runners on 1B and 3B with only one out. Should we have confidence in Grilli?

She tells me I am an idiot. She says Frieri would have given up a double to the wall and then a home run and that the Angels got a pitcher who plays to their defense. She says that inning gave her more confidence in the front office than anything they have done since the season started.

I point out that Freese doesn't make the play McDonald did and that Grilli could have easily at least had a man on 2B there. She quickly retorts that McDonald is as much a late-inning lead-preserver as Grilli and that I would be an idiot to feel anything but upbeat about dumping Ernesto for Grilli.

And so I will just be a good husband and do what my wife says, and you all should too. Let's all feel good about the Grilli acquisition. End of Analysis.