Friday, September 03, 2010

A Bad Night

Scott Baker left last night's game after two innings with a sore elbow; he may join fellow starter Kevin Slowey -- already fighting an achy elbow -- on the disabled list. In a game prolonged by repeated blown umpiring calls and baffling fielding gaffes, the Twins ran through eight pitchers, including the scheduled starters for the first and third games of this weekend's series against the Rangers.

Brian Fuentes remained unavailable due to sudden back problems. Matt Guerrier, whose overuse I complained about yesterday, made his 63rd appearance of the season and looked terrible, serving up a mammoth home run along with two other hits while helping cough up a four-run lead. Jesse Crain appeared for the 21st time in the team's past 33 games and gave up his first home run since May 18. Brian Duensing, who threw 103 pitches in the series opener on Tuesday, had to chip in two innings. Acting manager Scott Ullger -- at the helm since Ron Gardenhire had long since been ejected for arguing one of Joe West's many embarrassing whiffed calls -- was forced to call on Friday night's scheduled starter, Nick Blackburn, to pitch the 13th. That leaves the Twins turning to Matt Fox, a 27-year-old career minor-leaguer having an unexceptional season in Triple-A, to come up and pitch against a first-place Rangers club on three days rest.

Jason Kubel, Jim Thome, Justin Morneau and Orlando Hudson remain sidelined. Joe Mauer got beat up behind the plate on Wednesday night and caught 13 innings last night. J.J. Hardy suddenly can't throw the ball accurately to first base and Alexi Casilla's bumbles in the field are mounting. And the Twins' lead over the White Sox has been whittled down to 3.5 games with Texas coming to town.

To be sure, the Twins are still favorites to come out on top of this AL Central division. But after last night's game, the White Sox have to be feeling a whole lot better about their chances. The Twins probably aren't feeling so hot.


Ed Bast said...

Wasn't Sept. 1 the date for roster expansion? I can't believe the Twins used 2 starters last night.

Anyway the Twins are playing poorly, have been for a couple weeks now. Injuries obviously haven't helped. But it's becoming apparent that even healthy (minus Morneau, who is not coming back this year), this team is once again not going to win a playoff series. Bad, bad defense, unsettled pitching, blah blah blah.

That being said, I'd suggest a couple things:
1. Sit Matt Guerrier for 3,4,5 days. Just don't pitch him. He's killing us.
2. Give Span a week off. The dude is terrible right now.
3. Catch Morales instead of Butera when Joey needs a day off. Morales can hit; with these injuries we need hitters.

thanatoschristou said...

This was the worst managed game in the history of the sport.

1.) Either you knew Capps didn't want to pitch before you sent Rauch out and you are an idiot (Ullger) or he surprised you after you sent Rauch out and you choked. Rauch is the 2nd or 3rd closer option, no reason he should be in before Matty G.

2.) You give Fuentes one out when the bull pen is depleted. Another brilliant move.

3.) You continue to leave Matty, I can't perfrom in the clutch, Guerrier in with the winning run at 1st?

4.) After you already screwed up your closer situation (Ruach in the 7th) Ullger should have brought Crain in to end the game with four outs.

5.) Why not go straight to Blackburn if you knew he was next in line and wasn't going to get his next cheduled start? Instead you kill two starters instead of one.

6.) Not Ullger's fault but we bring up two players for a team with multiple injuries. Forgive my ignorance but doesn't the minor league exist for the major league club. If the club needs help recall the help and the heck with how it will affect the minor league team.

Span needs a week off for sure. He is terrible, period. Jones should get some playing time to help the outfield sitation.

thanatoschristou said...

Maybe someone else knows, but why is Pavano not pitching on normal rest? That come from Gardy or Pavano? If Pavano this is the second time he has preferred extra rest to be being a warrior and battling when the team needs him. That's a bad omen. If it comes from Gardy this is just a crazy decision. Too late in the season to throw away games. Chi Sox are still close and we could own homefield to take on the Yanks or Rays. This is an important series.

Tricia said...

I'm impressed that you managed a coherent post after that putrid mess of a game. Yuck! I knew the Tigers were going to win as soon as Jesse Crain gave up that homer.

Ed Bast said...


It's got to come from Pavano, the players run the show over there.

It's funny, we're not hearing from the Gardy apologists today like we were yesterday.

All you need to know about Gardy's pitching staff management skills (with a definite assist from Bill Smith) can be summed up in two words: Matthew Fox.

thanatoschristou said...

That's what really worries me Bast. A manager must have leadership over the team come the postseason. I am worried about postseason run for two reason: 1.) I don't trust Gardy's bull pen management and 2.) I don't think he is the true leader of the team.

Anonymous said...

Thank goodness the team is practicing some level of calm vs the PANIC on display here. It's WAY too early to be playing heavy shuffle with the rotation.

Matty is not to blame for the loss of his lead. JJ needs to hold that throw, and they get out of it with a 1 run lead vs tied. Just a bad game. Decisions didn't pan out. Relax. Get things going.

Ed Bast said...


We've been told to "relax" since May. It's September. This team should be gearing up for a pennant run. Instead they are playing poor baseball again. Go ahead and relax yourself into another Round 1 sweep. Then you and the team can relax all fall and winter too.

Getting home field in the playoffs is likely the only chance we have to win a series. Now terrible play and managing has forced us to start some no-name minor leaguer in a game against the team we're chasing for home field. It's time for a little sense of urgency. If not now, when?

ScottyB said...

I can't totally blame the loss on Joe West - there was a lot of poor play by the Twins.
However, it's time for MLB to get rid of West. He's an attention whore who has regularly been rated as one of the bottom five umpires in the league. He doesn't deserve to be a crew chief. He certainly shouldn't be picked for the post season. This guy is a joke and just keeps blowing call after call. He missed several last night, including calls which would have gotten the Twins out of innings where Detroit scored. He's been fined and suspended by MLB - it's time for a pink slip.

Matt said...

However, it's time for MLB to get rid of West.
Better work through his publisist. Yes, that's right, an umpire with a publisist. That would make him the only one.
Besides last night, the bats have been silent for the better part of two weeks. That's my concern. This team NEEDS to hit a TON to win in the post season. If Kubel ends up on the shelf and Thome's back can't make it to October, there's zero hope for an ALCS appearence, assuming they can hold off the south siders the rest of the way.

jack torse said...

It really seemed like minnesota lost more than one game in the standings last night. Suddenly this team has a mile pile of issues. But you get into a bind fast when your starter goes 3 innings and the game lasts 13 and the pen is already overworked,injured,ect. Joe West is bad for baseball.

Anonymous said...

Gardy would be an Okie house painter if the baseball gods had not mysteriously placed him at the helm of the MN Twins.

Ed Bast said...

Bizarre win...but I'm sorry, Matt Capps is awful. It's really hard to watch him "pitch" (i.e. mix in walks with a couple hits). His WHIP with the Twins has to be around 2. Nick, I know you liked the trade, but at this point I don't know how anyone could possibly trust this guy in the playoffs. I say they go to Fuentes full time, if the kink in his back ever goes away. Or Crain.