Saturday, May 21, 2005

Waste of Time

I attended tonight's game at the Metrodome, a 6-0 loss to the Brewers, and my feelings can best be described in one word: betrayed. Betrayed by a team that I paid good money to see, and they gave a pathetic effort, got completely dominated, and didn't seem to care too much at all. There honestly was not one single thing worth cheering about in this game, unless you were one of the numerous Milwaukee fans in attendance. The Twins never mounted anything close to a scoring threat, the pitching sucked, and the defense was unspectacular for the most part.

The Twins have been getting dominated by a LOT of starting pitchers as of late. In the past, this has been excusable to some degree. Daniel Cabrera could be seen as an up-and-coming young star with a 100 MPH fastball who was simply on that night. Kenny Rogers has been impressive this season, and has pitched well against most of his opponents, and even though he dominated the Twins more than most, perhaps he too was simply on that night. But DOUG DAVIS?! No. There is absolutely no excuse for Doug f***ing Davis coming into our house and tossing a complete game, 7-hit shutout against us. It is absolutely EMBARRASSING.

And that gets to the thing that frustrates me the most about this team. They just don't seem to really care. I was listening to John Gordon interviewing pitching coach Rick Anderson on the radio on my way home from the game, and "Andy" was jovial as could be. Rather than voicing his disgust with the absolute lack of offense or the ugly pitching performance by Brad Radke which was much worse than it looks on paper (only 2 earned runs allowed in 6 IP, but a lot of hard hits), he cooed over how nice it was to see AAA-callup Luis Rodriguez get a meaningless pinch-hit at-bat late in the game. When asked about the Twins' in ability to hit, he predictably gave all the credit to Davis. "He pitched great, he was locating his cut fastball inside on right-handed hitters"... blah blah blah, etc. I'm sick of Twins coaches spouting this generic BS everytime the team fails to produce any offense (which is VERY often). How convenient that all these pitchers seem to throw their best stuff of the season when they're facing the Twins.

I understand that the Twins have this persona about them that they are a team that has fun, and smiles a lot, and are a bunch of generally good guys. But there is a time when you need to show some sort of competitive fire. I'm sick of seeing Torii Hunter walking back to the dugout with a big ol' grin on his face after striking out. There are barely any players on this team who truly seem frustrated when they or the team are not performing. It stretches to management too. Ron Gardenhire and his staff are WAYYY too easy on players. Look at the best managers in the game: Torre, Cox, Piniella. These are guys who will let a player know when they are screwing up. In most cases, they aren't pricks, but they realize that they are running a professional ball-club and they will do things at the expense of a players' feelings in order to ensure a winning product for the fans, who make everything possible in the first place. How much longer can the Twins keep Hunter hitting in the 5-hole when he continues to bat .238?

There's another trend that I have noticed from this team which is probably a result of poor coaching as well, or else just bad fundamentals by our pitching staff. I have noticed this season on several occasion that our starting pitchers, namely Radke and Johan Santana, do not seem to understand how to handle a batter when ahead in the count. All too often I see those guys get up on a hitter 0-2, and then throw a fastball right over the plate. It just doesn't make any sense. On an 0-2 or 1-2 count, the objective is to throw some junk and try to get the batter to swing and miss or make bad contant. I don't understand the strategy of hurling a fastball that they will destroy when they're looking to protect the plate as it is. This trend was all too evident tonight when Radke got up in the count 0-2 against Carlos Lee in the first inning, and proceeded to toss a high changeup right in the wheelhouse which Lee easily nailed for a 2-run homer. That is just stupid, stupid pitching.

Obviously, I am very frustrated. I apologize that tonight's post was such a complete rant, but I feel totally ripped off by the lackadaisical performance of this team that 32,000 payed to come out and see tonight.