Saturday, June 04, 2005

Nathan goes down again

Joe Nathan apparently has a problem getting saves against the Yankees, but tonight was not a save situation, but rather a bad managing play. Having extensively used the bullpen in the past few games, Gardenhire had only a few fresh arms left. With the game tied, he should have used Romero for more than the out he got in the eighth, though the lead was given back with Romero on the mound. He also, as soon as he got into the extra-innings, gone to a fresh arm. It was Nathan's third straight day out and for a guy who hasn't been the best against New York, it was a bad move. I am not suggesting that Mulholland be brought out, because he's a joke. But Gardenhire should use Matt Guerrier once-in-a-while. Who knows? Maybe he's a hidden Yankee-killer. Its unlikely, but he shouldn't bring out his closer in the 10th. And don't forget about Jesse Crain, who's been so great lately, but likely was tired about extensive use recently.

Otherwise, it was a game that the Twins should have won. But some bad late-managing and some defensive errors are what gave the game away. And the Twins also put on a meager offensive showing only helped by Jacque Jones' 3rd inning three-run jack off of New York rookie Chien-Ming Wang. Here's the breakdown:

* Terry Tiffee, besides a 0 for 4 day that brought him down to a .194 average, made a bad throwing error in the eight with the bases loaded. Brent Abernathy had already made a crucial mistake, dropping a throw for an error instead of securing a sure out, when Tiffee fielded a Matsui grounder, stepped on the bag before throwing home, and thus erased the force play and allowed rookie Robinson Cano to slide in safely. It was another example of the loss of the great Twins defense that support the last three years of AL Central Championships.

* Other than Lew Ford and Torii Hunter's singles before Jones' homer, the Twins had only three hits, two from Juan Castro. It was paltry hitting against a pitcher who doesn't exactly have a track record of being dominate. This is the major problem that continues to hold the Twins back from winning consistency and utilizing the great pitching they are getting.

* On that note, the Twins wasted an excellent start from Joe Mays, who went seven and a third innings, giving up four hits and two earned runs while walking two and striking out three. Mays is 3-2 with a 3.59 ERA season now and appears to be fully recovered. He has been a pleasant surprise for the Twins, along with Lohse and Silva, who now have given the Twins a very formidable starting rotation. Its just too bad the offense has been so bad, because with the recent run, the Twins should be close to, if not, ahead of the White Sox by now.