Putting last week's discussion on matchups to the test, I made sure to start the speedy Royals on my AL-only roster -- Joey Gathright and Alex Gordon -- when Dustin McGowan and the Toronto Blue Jays came to town on Saturday night. McGowan's inability to keep runners close presented an opportune time to try to squeeze a few extra swipes out of two players whom I don't normally play all the time. The strategy worked brilliantly as Gordon came up big with a home run and a stolen base, while Gathright went 2-for-3 with two stolen bases of his own. McGowan allowed five stolen bases in all on Saturday night, and opposing runners are now a perfect 20-for-20 against him on the base paths. Talk about a good matchup!
Coming off the high of Saturday, I attempted to double up on my luck on Sunday when the Royals faced off against A.J. Burnett (who we know is one of the most run-friendly pitchers in the league). Unfortunately, neither Gordon or Gathright could take advantage, probably because neither managed to reach first base with Burnett on the mound. Adding to the frustration was the fact that I benched Johnny Gomes in order to get Gathright in the lineup, and of course, Gomes stole his fifth base of the year against the Texas battery of Kason Gabbard and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Ouch.
It's important to remember that playing the matchups is not always a sure bet. There will be times when it works in your favor (Saturday) and there will be times when it backfires (Sunday). There's plenty of back patting when making the "right" move, but complete and total frustration when making the "wrong" move. At the same time, just because the strategy doesn't pan out on a given night doesn't necessarily mean that it wasn't the right call. If you're going to be wrong, you might as well be wrong for the right reasons because more often than not, the strategy will work out in your favor.