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Another shock from Lamb and Naturals

August 13, 2010

Frisco, TX – The Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Texas League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals plated six runs with the first seven players to start the game before recording the first out tonight against the Frisco RoughRiders. A shocking way for John Lamb to take the ball wearing his shortened sleeves to start the game attempting to stay cool during the Texas evening heat. Lamb promptly walked the lead off hitter on four consecutive balls out of the zone. Yet another first of his career.

This morning’s text message indicated John’s upbeat attitude over tonight’s game and honestly came at a shock to us out here on the West coast. More than likely it was the surprise he had received from the Naturals staff about the opportunity to wear shorter sleeves and expose his arms which are filled with tattoos to try staying cool. The game of baseball can, and will, humble many of young men especially when not permitted to exercise the same approach that has proven to get outs in earlier performances.

The night for the Naturals continued to shock the 10,207 Frisco fans at Dr. Pepper Ballpark with the less than average performance during the third Double-A start for John Lamb. The Naturals could not collect another run throughout the game and Lamb was tagged with his shortest professional appearance of his young career. Lamb faced only four batters in the 3rd inning without recording an out. Rowdy Hardy inherited 3 runners whom all scored tying the game at 6-6.

Lamb finished his shortest evening ever in professional baseball with only 2 plus innings. While  facing 15 batters, he threw 56 pitches, 29 strikes, 3 ground-ball outs, 2 fly outs, allowed 7 hits, 6 runs (6 earned runs), 3 walks and 1 strike-out before chased off the mound leaving the bases loaded for the Naturals bull-pen.

Rowdy Hardy did a great job for 5.0 innings after allowing the 3 inherited runs to cross in the 3rd. The recently returned Naturals pitcher Barry Bowden, took the loss after giving up the 8th inning earned run to the RoughRiders, which won by a final score of 7-6. The Naturals did however win the series as they head out-of-town to Midland, TX to take on the Rockhounds, Texas League affiliate of the Oakland A’s.

*Couple more thoughts on the recent Double-A work by John Lamb since his promotion.

The first batter he faced in this recent promotion to the Texas League he struck out, yet he hasn’t had more than a handful since. The first three innings, in that same debut in Springfield, MO, Lamb didn’t allow a run and then the wheel seemed to be reinvented. Look at his statistics since that 4th inning of work and see for yourself. Why?

I have heard enough accounts about his performances from scouts and professional baseball minds to know something is wrong. The last time I checked a box score, the pitcher’s name is listed for the win, or loss, and there lies the basis for an active opinion with how to get outs for his team.

I am convinced that the recent results are not due to any changes in his mechanics, but rather the approach at attacking professional minor league hitters. The same plan that was getting outs earlier in the year, can and, will get outs at the highest level, if given the same opportunity. Some guys can get outs by working off of a fast-ball, while others work backwards, as some might say. Both ways can get outs and that is the goal for a pitcher. Right?

If you can’t tell I am slightly confused over the recent changes of John Lamb and his attempts to get outs for his teammates, than you aren’t very perceptive. The sad thing is I know exactly what is happening and there is nothing I can do about the ongoing problem in the Texas League. All I can do is watch statistics for a second professional minor league season go backwards over changes to a pitching approach. Adjustments are one thing , but making adjustments to fundamental keys for pitching success is not how to get outs in baseball.

I believe with all my heart the Kansas City Royals management will find the problems…I can only hope sooner, rather than later.

Good luck Naturals with the next phase of your road trip in Midland, TX.

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