• Red Sox 6, Twins 5

    I blame myself.

    I do. Heading to the middle of the eighth inning, Iím forced to leave my seat to pick up my kid at 10:00. By the time I walk through the stadium, Iíve heard the roar and see Jamey Carroll standing on third base with no outs and the third through fifth batters coming up.

    If I didnít have to pick up my kid in 10 minutes, I SWEAR I wouldíve stuck around. I mean Ė you know me by now. Is there anyone MORE superstitious?

    Four blocks away from Target Field I say to The Voice of Reasonô, ďHave you heard a roar yet? I havenít.Ē

    ďNope.Ē

    Me: (Heavy sigh.)


    ďYep.Ē

    One can frame this game a lot of ways. Iím sure the Boston papers will frame it as a Cody Ross redemption game. And if the Twins third and fourth hitters would have managed to do anything remotely similar to what one expects from the eighth and ninth hitters, it would have been a different game, and a different column.

    But they didnít. And it isnít. Check that Ė SO it isnít.

    I canít talk too much about those criticat at-bats. I didnít see them live. I saw replays of the swings. Apparently, Josh Willingham hit the ball hard but lined out to the third baseman.

    Joe Mauer swung weekly at an off-speed pitch and grounded out to first base. The at-bat looks worse because of how poor a hit it was Ė a dribbling play up the first base line. Of course, it was an off-speed pitch. On a full count, one might expect a pitcher to challenge a hitter, but with two bases open, why would he? He threw a 75-mph-pitch that Mauer had not yet seen and that was it. I want to come down on Mauer Ė I want to come down on everyone after this loss Ė but I can see what happened.

    A few more notes about the gameÖ

    Capping Off A Loss
    Hey, at least Matt Capps hasnít blown a Save (capital S) yet - just a game.

    Is that a cheap shot? Sure, but I donít mean it to Capps. I mean it to the Twins, who seem to think that once a randome team sprinkles a guy with Magic Closer Dust (capital MCD), theyíre forever a different guy. Capps now has four strikeouts in seven innings, which is under the league average, especially for relievers, but about average for him. (Correction: He actually has two strikeouts, which is less than half of his career rate.) To his credit, he hasnít walked a guy. But heís given up seven hits, which is about average for both him and your average major league pitcher. And, worse of all for a closer, heís given up two home runs, which is about three times the average rate for a pitcher.

    Hey, itís small sample size. It doesnít mean much.

    Except that home runs were Cappsí soft spot last year and have been every year heís struggled. He basically matched his career averages in all categories last season Ė except he gave up a couple of extra home runs. Which is what turned him from a below average closer into a really terrible closer.

    Which one MIGHT have anticipated, if he wasnít all glittery with that MCD.

    Oooh, sparkly.

    The Other Story
    Minus that eighth inning debacle and a ninth inning home run, hereís what the game story would have includedÖ

    • Gardenhire took a risk I didnít anticipate with the lineup tonight. Faced with wanting to get Chris Parmelee in the lineup instead of Clete Thomas (for which there should be wild applause), he didnít take the safe route. Instead, he gave Willingham a rest at designated hitter and gave Parmelee a start in left field. From what I saw, Parmelee didnít embarrass himself out there, which is REALLY nice to see. I was really happy to see this.
    But it didnít pay off. Justin Morneau, who played first base, didnít get a hit, and neither did Willingham. In fact, according to WPA, they impacted the game the most negatively of any of the Twins. Finally, Parmeleeís only hit came in the ninth, and was too little, too late.
    • Danny Valencia should have been the hero of this game. Taking a 1-2 pitch with 2 outs to deep center? Really? I really hope this is a sign of things to come. Soon.


    • The 6-4-3 double play that saved a run got the whole stadium excited. One canít say enough about Carroll on that play, but itís worth noting that the pivot was carried out by Trevor Plouffe. Itís exciting to see him make just a mediocre throw. That was phenomenal.


    • Is manager Ron Gardenhire pulling his starters too late this year? Itís late, so Iíll let someone else crunch the numbers, but Marquis gave up that home run when he was after 100 pitches. It seems like the last week or so, I feel like the starter is having a decent outing, but by the time theyíre done, theyíve given up enough runs in their last inning to inflate their ERA. It certainly happened tonight.


    • Of course, part of that might be not having a lot of faith in the bullpen. Capps certainly furthered that concern, but did anyone else note that Glen Perkins didnít make an appearance in the eighth again tonight? Perkins pitched yesterday, and was apparently unavailable, and thatís looking like a pattern.
    The thing is, he pitched yesterday when the Twins were already behind. (And then he gave up a run, so the team was further behind.) Just so weíre clear on where Perkins is so far this year: he hasnít been particularly good, he hasnít been available on back-to-back days, he has been hurt, and he just got a long-term deal.

    Everyone got all that? Good.

    This article was originally published in blog: Red Sox 6, Twins 5 started by John Bonnes
    Comments 21 Comments
    1. TwinsGuy55422's Avatar
      TwinsGuy55422 -
      I felt it was questionable leaving Marquis in for the 6th and absolutely the wrong decision to let him go out for the 7th. The bottom of the 8th was incredibly frustrating. The breaking ball Mauer grounded out on was a good one. The ball Willingham hit was smoked, and Doumit popped out on a first pitch fastball up and away. The ball that Ross hit in the 9th was a low and away fastball and I can't believe he was able to hit that out to the opposite field.
    1. TwinsGuy55422's Avatar
      TwinsGuy55422 -
      That roar you speak of outside of the stadium is a great thing. On the one hand you're pissed that you left early and missed something, but on the other hand you know something good just happened and can't wait to get home to see the highlights.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Capps now has four strikeouts in seven innings, which is under the league average, especially for relievers, but about average for him.
      This is not only misleading, but blatantly wrong. Capps has two strikeouts in seven innings. He has struck out two of 28 batters this year, or 7 percent. That's a huge reduction from his 18 percent career rate, and a sizable drop-off even from last year's 12 percent rate.
    1. TwinsGuy55422's Avatar
      TwinsGuy55422 -
      That is a sizable drop off and I have to think it will go back up as he pitches more innings over the course of the season.
    1. StormJH1's Avatar
      StormJH1 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      This is not only misleading, but blatantly wrong. Capps has two strikeouts in seven innings. He has struck out two of 28 batters this year, or 7 percent. That's a huge reduction from his 18 percent career rate, and a sizable drop-off even from last year's 12 percent rate.
      They had that game - shameful loss against a team whose bullpen could not be any more in shambles right now.
    1. twinswon1991's Avatar
      twinswon1991 -
      Maquis should've been pulled after 5. He was lucky his defense bailed him out numerous times with Span's catch and the DP. Maquis is a TERRIBLE pitcher and shouldn't be on any MLB roster. What a horrible signing to give this guy anything more than a minor league deal with a ST invite.

      I'm sure Dick, Bert, and Gardy (3 stooges) will say that he is a bulldog and has kept his team in the game but he cannot induce any weak contact, does not have impeccable control, and cannot K anyone so what value does he have???? Cut this BUM now and bring up Diamond or some other pitcher from AAA that has a chance to be with this team in the future.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Capps is not a very good pitcher, but Ryan compounded Smiths mistake by keeping him around.
    1. Gernzy's Avatar
      Gernzy -
      It is all your fault! I stayed the whole game... Fun game to be at, sucks we lost though. And as for pulling Marquis early, there was no reason to. He had 4 scoreless innings going, and the way the bullpen has been overused already we really needed those 7 innings from him. Cody Ross just had some crazy good game that is so not like him
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      As for Mauer's at bat with Carroll on 3B, to quote myself: "Is it bad that Mauer is the last guy I want up when #Twins need a fly ball?!". In my opinion, and I might be being harsh, but Mauer has to change his approach in that at-bat, and make sure he hits something in the air. Instead, he does the same old and takes some pitches he could get under, and isn't able to get it done. Situational hitting has been lackluster (to put it lightly) thus far on the season.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by Gernzy View Post
      It is all your fault! I stayed the whole game... Fun game to be at, sucks we lost though. And as for pulling Marquis early, there was no reason to. He had 4 scoreless innings going, and the way the bullpen has been overused already we really needed those 7 innings from him. Cody Ross just had some crazy good game that is so not like him
      But we didn't get "those 7 innings" from Marquis. The bullpen (predictably) had to get 2 outs in the 7th anyway. Only now they're in a tie game instead. If an 8 man bullpen is "overused" to the extensions you can't get 9 outs well got problems.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      Morales just owned Mauer in that at bat. Actually watch the pitches and then tell me what could have been done. A couple inside fastballs at 94-95, some off-speed garbage and then one low and away that he at least pulled to the right side instead of tapping to short. If that ball goes 10 feet to the right, Carroll probably scores.
    1. Kneelb4zerg's Avatar
      Kneelb4zerg -
      I don't blame Gardy for trying to get an extra inning from Marquis. The bullpen has been overworked already with all the short starts. Didn't work out but sooner or later a starter needs to go 7 innings or the relievers will be burnt out soon enough.
    1. SweetOne69's Avatar
      SweetOne69 -
      I didn't mind Marquis going out for the 7th, but feel it was a stretch. But I would've had someone ready to go and pulled him with the 1st baserunner. Marquis did get through the 6th on 9 pitches.
    1. @_2244's Avatar
      @_2244 -
      Post deleted- didn't have my facts together enough to be spouting off about this.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by @_2244 View Post
      Completely disagree that Mauer should have changed his approach with that AB. Mauer came up with runner on third and nobody out trailing by one in the eighth inning. Mauer shouldn't change a single thing about his "approach" in this AB. In this spot, Mauer should be trying to do what he does best and that's spray a line drive, maybe even hit a double somewhere.

      Let's look at it another way, and instead of bringing the local lightning rod into the converstation let's use the number of their spot in the batting order. Same situation, bottom of 8, tying run on 3rd, nobody out. #3 hitter coming up. If I'm on offense, I want #3 hitter to take a good at-bat trying to do what he does best. With nobody out, and that's the key here- I want him to go for a hit and potentially set up a multi-run inning to try to win the game. I don't want to settle for a fly ball to the outfield to tie the game. I let #3 hitter take his hacks and give my team a chance to win the game. After all, we should be able to bring a guy in from third with nobody out and #3 & #4 coming up. If it doesn't work out, then #4 hitter comes up with 1 out and now the main objective has changed as must now ensure that we are able to tie the game by any means possible, including a fly ball to the outfield.

      I'm well aware that Mauer-bashing is very fashionable here, but in this case the critical "situational" at-bat came in the bottom of the eighth with one out.
      The score was tied. That was the go ahead run on third. A patented lazy fliner to the left field corner puts the Twins ahead. Do try to pay attention.
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      shanewahl - For me, it's all about the approach that needed to be taken (aggressive), which is different from his usual (uber-passive), and he didn't do it. He watched 5 pitches go by before swinging. I was bothered by it. If you weren't, great. Would he have done anything better if he swung at any of the earlier pitches? Who knows, but I'd rather he take a cut at a borderline fastball earlier in the count than a 3-2 curveball heading for the dirt.

      @_2244 - The game was tied, you need that run to win. I'd tell Mickey Mantle to try and hit a fly ball there. If something falls for a hit, great, but a "hit" wasn't needed to get the go-ahead run across the plate -> situational hitting.
    1. @_2244's Avatar
      @_2244 -
      My apologies, Steve. My post was out of line, especially considering I had the sitch completely wrong.
    1. Cris E's Avatar
      Cris E -
      I mean it to the Twins, who seem to think that once a random team sprinkles a guy with Magic Closer Dust (capital MCD), they’re forever a different guy.

      Small point: As an organization, and one with a tremendous amount of continuity over the past couple decades, I have to object to the MCD comment. Going back almost 30 years to the days of Ron Davis and Keith Atherton, all of the the Twins' team leaders in saves came to the team with fewer than 10 career saves until Jon Rauch and Matt Capps popped up on Bill Smith's watch. (And Rauch was covering for Nathan and wasn't intended to be a closer.)

      This organization typically doesn't believe in the Dust. Capps was kept on because they had the money, he was a known commodity and it saved them a trip to the open market. But trading a talented young catcher for him was awful, and Mr Smith has had his keys taken away from him as a consequence. (OK, there were other things too, but the mindset has been rejected.)
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by Kneelb4zerg View Post
      I don't blame Gardy for trying to get an extra inning from Marquis. The bullpen has been overworked already with all the short starts. Didn't work out but sooner or later a starter needs to go 7 innings or the relievers will be burnt out soon enough.
      They needed 2.2 innings from the bullpen anyway, which wasn't hard to predict, with the added bonus of a 2 run gone. They do have an 8 man bullpen, no?
    1. Steve Lein's Avatar
      Steve Lein -
      @_2244 - q I didn't take it as being "out of line", you were explaining your viewpoint, which though maybe misguided, is perfectly fine and what these discussions are about!
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.