Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Disgusting Loss

I had originally thought that this post would just focus on one thought for the game, but too many awful things happened. Yes, I know that it looks close with a 4-3 loss, but the Twins had this game. They just didn't seem to care at all.

From sloppy late-inning defensive play to managing mistakes to base-running errors to bad at-bats, the Twins did it all. Who are the criminals here? How about Rondell White to begin? Oh yes, he did go 2 for 4 with an RBI and got his average to .200. But with a .200/.216/.238 line, I can't really congratulate him. Especially not when he makes horrible base-running mistakes nearly every time he is on base or gets into bad counts so much that he has one 3-0 count all year and that was during an intentional walk. Of course, that doesn't excuse his absense of homers in two months either. Its about time to give him the boot probably. Anyone notice the better lineup Sunday with Mauer DHing? I'm okay with that sometimes or even Mike Redmond DHing. He'd at least do a better job. Heck, I'd even take Batista over White right now. (I realize that sounds absolutely nuts, but at least T-Bat is hitting .325/.386/.575 with runners in scoring position. That's significantly better than White's .220/.250/.280 line. By no means a solution, but at this point, any change is better. It's not as if Ryan is willing to let Batista go. He won't admit that mistake anytime soon.)

How about the defense? A sloppy play by Luis Castillo on what should have been a line-out and a pathetic attempt by Justin Morneau to catch a pretty good through from Juan Castro lead to the game-tying run in the eigth. Naturally, a Morneau defensive mishap (though the error was given to Crain) helped the Angels win later as well. Just terrible. For a team that puts so much emphasis on the "basics," the defense and the care of players has been putrid this year.

As for managing, although Crain was doing alright, putting him out there for a third inning of work in the eleventh was just plain stupid. Why wasn't Joe Nathan out there for one inning? Or Matt Guerrier? I understand they had worked the night before, but that's stupid. Especially when Crain has been on a slippery rope as of late.

Hitting-wise? Although Michael Cuddyer hit a home run in the fourth to help the Twins to a lead, his three strikeouts on the night basically offset that. The problem is that Cuddyer seems to basically guess at pitches. While he certainly has power and has shown that this year, when he is off, it's pretty bad. Last night, he struck out by essentially taking fastballs grooved down the middle of the plate. That's not discipline at all. That's as bad as Nick Punto is in terms of failing to protect the plate. You have to make a pitcher work and that pitch, with a guy like Cuddyer at the plate, needs to go over the fence nearly every time. No excuses there.

Otherwise, besides Justin Morneau's 2 for 4 night, it was a fairly tamed lineup. Tonight could be a major start, with Scott Baker set to take on the Angels. If he does well, he'll likely preserve his spot in the rotation. If not, we may (gulp) see Silva back out in the rotation soon.

6 comments:

Ben said...

I really do like Gardy, in spite of the evidence, but it just seems like the franchises laser-like focus on the fundamentals has eroded in his tenure.

Nick M. said...

True. Even Gardy admits it, in a way. Look at this quote from today's Trib: "We just gave it to them," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We just missed plays. It was shocking, really. Rincon killed himself by walking the No. 8 hitter, and then we missed plays. We didn't pick the ball at first; our shortstop made a great play and then we didn't pick the ball at first. That play has to be made. And Castillo ... he has to catch that line drive. That's not a hit. That's an error. He's a better player than that. He has to make that play. It should have been our game, not their game."

The thing is, of course, you can throw much of the blame on Gardenhire. Clearly, he isn't running the kind of clubhouse TK would have. I think TK made plenty of mistakes, but he wouldn't stand for any of that play. That non-chalant error crap will just put another large wound in the Twins already dead season.

TheBentKangaroo said...

Although I wholeheartedly agree that Cuddyer looked bad during two of his three strikeouts, and that he's primarily guessing, I disagree that his three strikeouts "basically" offset the homer. I'd take 200/200/1.000 every day of the week. If he had swung at those meatballs but hit warning track outs, would it have made any difference?

And if he keeps his current line the rest of the season, guessing and all, I won't much care. That's not to say there isn't room for improvement, but I get nervous when trying to fix something that ain't exactly broken.

Nick N. said...

I think the thing about Cuddyer is that, like I said last Monday on this page: "I doubt Cuddyer will ever develop great pitch selection at the plate, but if he did he could be quite the offensive force."

It's not that we're upset with his current production, but if he were better able to read and react to pitches, there's no telling what he'd be able to do. I fear that pitchers are going to start to take advantage of his guessing at the plate and we could see a decline if they make that adjustment.

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