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October 7, 2009

Prospectus Today

Who Can Say No to Twins?

by Joe Sheehan

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Sometimes, being both a fan and an analyst creates a conflict. For me, that has usually centered around my desire to be a credible writer and my lifelong love affair with the New York Yankees. This played out on these pages all through last year, the final season of the old Yankee Stadium, in moments such as the All-Star Game, where I wanted badly to cheer Mariano Rivera but couldn't because I was in the role of professional in that moment.

Last night, though, brought up a different kind of conflict, one related not to my love of the Yankees but to my love of baseball. The playoff game between the Twins and Tigers, won by the Twins in the 12th inning, was one of the most entertaining games of the year, and one of the most entertaining in memort when you consider the context. The game had all kinds of drama, some terrific plays, big performances, and enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat for hours. I had as much fun watching the game as I have watching any game on TV in a long time.

Yet it was also a poorly-played game. There were mistakes in every single aspect of play, from baserunning to pitch selection to defense to managing to umpiring. Take away the uniforms, and you might have though you were watching the Royals and Indians battle for playoff position, or even a spring-training game in the waning days of camp. The caliber of play was so bad that it was hard to believe that the winner of this game was going to be crowned champion of anything. It was entertaining baseball, but it was not impressive baseball.

I want to write about how much fun it was to watch the game, because it was a great fan experience, but I feel like that doesn't tell the whole story. I want to write about how badly the game was played, managed, and umpired, but I feel like that comes off as curmudgeonly. Both storylines, however, run through the game, and both run true. A race that featured not so much good baseball as entertaining baseball ended in a game that reflected exactly that quality.

It's appropriate that I want to take two angles on this game, because so did many of the players. This game was long enough for any number of people to be both a hero and a goat, sometimes in the same inning, sometimes hours apart. Alexi Casilla, the failed second-base prospect who bounced a single to the left of the shifted Placido Polanco and Clete Thomas to drive in the winning run in the 12th; in doing so, he redeemed a brutal decision in the 10th inning. Pinch-running as the potentially winning run, Casilla was on third when Nick Punto roped a line drive to left. The shot might have been a hit in another circumstance, but the drawn-in Ryan Raburn stabbed it and fired home. Casilla, whose speed should have made for a successful trip home, misread the ball and the play, tagged up late and was called out at the plate, extending the game. (I thought he touched the plate with his right hand prior to being tagged, but there was not agreement on this point.) No one is going to remember Casilla's "U Can't Touch This" dance off of third base, however; they'll remember the three-hopper to right field and the bedlam it caused.

Casilla's hesitation saved Ryan Raburn, who had set up the situation with a misplay to start the 10th. With the Tigers holding a one-run lead, Michael Cuddyer hit a sinking line drive to left. Raburn elected to dive for the ball, and when he missed, it rolled to the wall for a triple. Cuddyer would score on Matt Tolbert's single two batters later. There are two elements here: the decision and the execution. The execution seemed to go bad when Raburn lost the ball as he went into his slide. He actually had caught up to it-the ball flew past his glove, not under it-but he didn't see it. The real mistake was the decision to dive. You're protecting a one-run lead against a team that needs three hits to score; there's no reason to risk giving them extra bases and make their job that much easier. Raburn's decision to dive was the wrong one, and arguably cost the Tigers the game.

It's appropriate that Miguel Cabrera, the subject of so much attention in the days leading up to the game, would both help and hurt the cause. Cabrera's two-run homer in the third inning looked for a while like it would be the division-winning blow, but Jim Leyland used pitchers other than Rick Porcello and Justin Verlander, and hilarity ensued. With the game tied in the 11th inning, Cabrera drew a one-out walk and lumbered to third on Don Kelly's single. After an intentional walk to load the bases, Brandon Inge chopped a ball up the middle that left Nick Punto with just one play-coming home for the force. Cabrera is no speedster, but the ball was hit high enough that any runner had a reasonable chance to score. Cabrera, however, looked back at Punto not once but twice instead of charging home. With a force in play, Cabrera has exactly one job: to run. He doesn't need to see anything but the initial bounce of the ball to make his decision. His hesitation was costly, as he wasn't out by much, and the inning ended with the next batter.

Inge failed to come up with a hit in that spot, one of many spots over the last few weeks in which I think Jim Leyland should have sent up a pinch-hitter for his third baseman. Inge hit .230 this year, is a .236 career batter, and his next .315 OBP on a full season will be his first in a while. His lousy 2009 line is being carried by his first four weeks-he's hitting .215 since May 3, and .186/.260/.281 since the All-Star break. Inge failed in the eighth with two on and one out, and he failed in the 12th, and he's been failing for some time. In between those two plate appearances, though, Inge very nearly put the Tigers into the playoffs, roping a two-out double in the 10th that scored Don Kelly with the go-ahead run. Inge also made some very strong defensive plays in the game, and had home-plate umpire Randy Marsh correctly called a hit-by-pitch on Inge in the 12th-the ball brushed his jersey, just barely hitting him, but by rule hitting him-Inge might well have been a hero.

As is so often the case these days, you cannot write about a big baseball game without using an umpire's name. Marsh blew that call, which would have given the Tigers a lead. He just missed it, and the ridiculous justification offered by the announcers for it, "letting the batter decide the game," was embarrassing. Eventually, you have to publicly shame umpires for their incompetence, or they'll go on being incompetent. Marsh also made an ungodly bad call on a 2-2 pitch to Placido Polanco in the ninth inning, getting fooled by a breaking ball and giving Joe Nathan a key third strike. We can argue about whether he missed the play at the plate on Casilla as well, but the Inge and Polanco calls were more than enough bad to make Marsh the game's goat. I fear we're in for yet another month of fail from the arbiters.

Jim Leyland had a bad game as well. He repeatedly let bad hitters bat in high-leverage situations, costing himself opportunities to put the game away. Aubrey Huff and Clete Thomas should have been used against Joe Nathan in the eighth, and arguably against Jesse Crain in the 10th. Brandon Inge is bad, results aside, and Gerald Laird is worse. Leyland may have lifted Rick Porcello too soon, after the right-hander issued a homer and a walk with two outs in the sixth. Porcello had thrown just 92 pitches and was in complete control through the first 86. Not allowing him to face Delmon Young, who he'd handled, set the events in motion that may have cost him the game. Leyland needed more outs from his starter.

Leyland then became passive, riding Zach Miner through the top of the Twins lineup with a one-run lead in the seventh. With three lefties in four batters, Fu-Te Ni was called for. Miner just isn't a very good pitcher, and even granting the platoon issue, Ni would have been a better choice to face Orlando Cabrera. After Cabrera's homer, Leyland inexplicably let Miner face Joe Mauer, who singled, then used Ni to get Kubel before immediately replacing him. The sequence from Delmon Young in the sixth through Jason Kubel in the seventh is where Leyland lost the game: he took out a starter who was a better pitcher, even at 92 pitches, than the reliever he brought in; had his fourth-best reliever protecting a one-run lead; wasted a key resource to get just one out when he should have pitched to at least four batters, and turned the game into exactly what he didn't need: a battle of bullpens.

As Kevin Goldstein repeatedly pointed out, Leyland had an out. Having started Sunday, Justin Verlander probably could have given the Tigers an inning, maybe even two. There were countless opportunities to use Verlander, from where Zach Miner entered, or protecting a tie in the ninth, or a lead in the tenth, or instead of maxing out Fernando Rodney in the 12th. A do-or-die game requires a do-or-die approach, and Leyland didn't pull out all the stops. There's no guarantee any or all of these decisions, if different, would have put the Tigers into the Division Series, but collectively, they made the task harder.

So the Metrodome gets another baseball game, and that's a good thing. While a difficult place to play, and far from a classic setting for baseball, the Metrodome has been a unique and entertaining baseball environment. It provides a true home-field advantage for the Twins, and the raucous, towel-waving crowds have always made big games in the tent feel like big games. I don't know that yesterday's game would have felt the same at Comerica Park, and I certainly don't think it will be the same at Target Field. So when the Twins take on the Yankees Sunday, make sure to watch, because we're losing one of the last truly unique baseball environments around.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

46 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

SC

Hoping we see some BP team chats during the playoffs, should be an exciting one, and the instant analysis is always worth a read, even if disproved shortly after its made.

Oct 07, 2009 09:54 AM
rating: 3
 
akachazz

I second this sentiment!

Oct 07, 2009 10:22 AM
rating: 0
 
One Flap Down

There was one last night, although it wasn't formal and it took place on Twitter. Just follow Will (@injuryexpert), Joe (@joe_sheehan), Marc (@Marc_Normandin), Kevin (@kingclip), and Shawn (@shawndhoffman). And make sure to throw in non-BPers @robneyer and @keithlaw for good measure.

One could say that Twitter almost makes the roundtables obsolete.

Oct 07, 2009 10:25 AM
rating: 3
 
qbroda

Surprised you didn't mention Gardenhire not starting the 8th inning with Nathan, when the meat of the Tigers line-up was coming up. In the end, they used Nathan for 5 outs anyway. It likely doesn't even get to extras if that happens.

Oct 07, 2009 10:06 AM
rating: 8
 
Rob_in_CT

Yeah, I first-guessed that one from my couch. About 30 seconds later, tie game.

Oct 07, 2009 10:43 AM
rating: 4
 
mgknig01
(707)

Agreed.

Oct 07, 2009 10:54 AM
rating: 0
 
sanott

i was driving home @ 7:42 ESTfrom work and the announcer virtually set it up....top 8th 3-4-5 up, 4-3 lead @ home in sudden death game...why no nathan?

7:43- tie game. then you use nathan anyway to hold the tie.

i bet joe wanted to harp on this but didn't b/c he is blue in the face from discussing closer use/misuse. at least this is another data point on how not to manage a bullpen. i'm sure more would have been made of it if the twins had lost.

Oct 07, 2009 13:52 PM
rating: 0
 
SaberTJ

I was thinking the exact same thing.

Oct 08, 2009 07:06 AM
rating: 0
 
Mountainhawk

" fear we’re in for yet another month of fail from the arbiters.
"

Why would October be any different than April? MLB umpires may be more inaccurate than NFL officials, which is saying a lot.

Oct 07, 2009 10:08 AM
rating: 0
 
Bob

Great column, Joe. I enjoyed reading this a lot more than I enjoyed watching the Tigers lose. One point of contention, however: a missed call, particularly a missed close call (like Inge's HBP), is not a sign of "incompetence." It's a human error. A costly, season-changing, error, but an error and no more. Bruce Weber's excellent book on umpiring, As They See 'Em, notes that umpires expect and accept missed calls--after all, they're human and some calls are too close for the naked eye to make correctly 100% of the time. What they don't accept, and would probably concede as a sign of "incompetence," is being out of position to make a call. The questionable calls last night were not the result of being out of position. They were simply human errors on extremely close plays.

Oct 07, 2009 10:09 AM
rating: 20
 
Matt Kory

Yet another reason to use replay. It's more important to get the call right.

Oct 07, 2009 11:48 AM
rating: 0
 
teamhunt

The first strike to Orlando Cabrera in extras looked low and when he complained about it, it certainly looked like Marsh banged him with vengeance and gusto on a 3rd strike that was well outside.

Oct 07, 2009 10:13 AM
rating: 4
 
teamhunt

Also, TBS has the worst pitch tracker in the history of the invention. They have the abacus of pitch trackers. I think they just hired an intern, gave him an etch a sketch, and told him to plot where he thought the ball crossed the plate. The ball takes up about half the strike zone. I don't know why the even bother.

Oct 07, 2009 10:18 AM
rating: 1
 
Christopher Miller
(88)

The problem with the TBS tracker is that it is not permanently mounted--it is set up for each broadcast. I watched the operator one Saturday desperately try to configure the software and have no luck whatsoever, with laughable broadcast results. It's not that they use an abacus, it's that they use great technology without a firm fix in space, and for a tracker, that's near deadly.

Oct 07, 2009 11:40 AM
rating: 2
 
teamhunt

Ah, gotcha. Thanks for the explanation.

Oct 07, 2009 16:05 PM
rating: 0
 
gjhardy

I thought the same thing: Let's not call this a "great" game, but "greatly entertaining" would work.

Regarding the umpiring, go to mlb.com and watch the 12th inning play in which Punto fields the chopper up the middle and throws out the runner at the plate. The 2B umpire seems to assume that Punto will try to turn two and, after the ball bounces by the umpire, is actually moving into Punto's throwing lane (toward home) until the last instant, when the ump realizes that he's about to get beaned. How about a game decided by a player colliding with an umpire in the infield? Could have been a disaster. I realize the ump was actually moving into what he thought was the correct position for a call at 2B, but my goodness, he's way too close to Punto. Punto's play there, BTW, is evidence of how quickly these guys can assess and react to a situation. Impressive.

Second, regarding Leyland, can we go back to Game 161? Season on the line, expanded rosters, including 17 (!) pitchers...and he tabs Alfredo Figaro to start an almost must-win game? Figaro, who had a decent season at AA, hadn't started ANY game in three months and had made just two ML appearances in all of September, not to mention the fact that he had all of 16 ML innings under his belt and an ERA around 6.

If Leyland was planning to mix and match all game, is this really the guy to send out as the tone-setter? I don't get it and I wonder if anyone in the media will hold him accountable. A win on Saturday would have made Game 163 a moot point, but it feels like Leyland didn't give his team a decent chance to win that game.

Oct 07, 2009 10:19 AM
rating: 1
 
dcarroll

I'm curious--did anyone else think that Granderson made it back to first without being doubled up in the ninth? I saw it live and in a couple of replays, and he looked safe to me each time.

Oct 07, 2009 10:20 AM
rating: 0
 
dbimberg

TBS did not show a replay that conclusively proved Granderson was out. I too thought it was close, and it seemed no one has mentioned this.

fyi, this is not sour grapes on my part, I am a Twins fan and glad they won.

Oct 07, 2009 11:52 AM
rating: 0
 
akcolonial

The feature to reply to an individual post isn't working for me, but this is in response to Bob:

Human error is expected, but there's no reason why we should have to accept it. Balls and strikes can be called much more accurately with a computer, and other calls could be made using instant replay. We have the technology to avoid any human error, so why put up with it?

Oct 07, 2009 10:34 AM
rating: 0
 
Bob

that's a good point and you might be right. And as far as I know (again, according to Weber's book), umpires are actually not against instant replay technology, so long as they can still control the game on the field.

Oct 07, 2009 10:39 AM
rating: 0
 
David Coonce

Yeah, but do you really want six-hour games? Because if you've ever watched an NFL game, sitting through an instant-replay decision is about as much fun as watching paint dry, then peel, then be repainted and dry again.

Oct 07, 2009 11:00 AM
rating: 4
 
gtliles82

Joe, thanks for the solid analysis on Leyland that I expected to find in this morning's Free Press. I agree with all your criticisms except the usage of Inge. Bottom line is the Tigers don't have a reliable 3rd baseman to turn to in that situation (and we all know that playing Santiago Everett together wouldn't have been an upgrade). Brandon made some run-saving stabs in the late innings, as well as the go-ahead double and what should've been a go-ahead HBP. Hard to pin much blame on him being out there.

Oct 07, 2009 10:39 AM
rating: 4
 
Nowhereman

I agree that the ump blew the call on the hbp, but I think that rule needs to be modified now that everyone has their jersey's hanging out like they're some sort of hand-me-down from a giant. Maybe uniforms should be required to be tighter or something, because when a pitch barely knicks your shirt or pants only because your shirt or pants extend a good 6 inches away from your body, I don't think you should be awarded first base.

Oct 07, 2009 10:54 AM
rating: 6
 
deckholm

Completely agree. Having watched every game of Tigers and the Twins for the last 8 days, there is no one in baseball wearing a oversized uniform than needed than Brandon Inge - which I think has to be to get a HBP on an inside pitch when he crowds the plate.

Seems to have worked as he was tied for second in the AL with 17 HBP this season.

Oct 07, 2009 11:52 AM
rating: 1
 
eighteen

Did anyone else think DET's RF was playing way too deep for Casilla in the 12th? Casilla has no pop, and with 1 out is looking to put the ball in play to the right side. He's much more likely to bang the ball off the carpet to get it it the air and avoid the DP than to muscle the ball to the OF. With Gomez on 2d, a grounder past Polanco is game-over unless the RF is shallow; whereas a flyball to medium right means an out and maybe a runner on third.

I like Jim Leyland, but he was lousy this game.

Oct 07, 2009 11:04 AM
rating: 1
 
flyingdutchman

Jim Leyland is bad every game. Every single one. I am not sure where this idea that Jim leyland is a good in-game manager came from. is it because he is old?

Oct 07, 2009 11:07 AM
rating: -1
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)

I have absolutely no idea where Clete Thomas was on that play. I can understand pinching Polanco because you want the DP, but Thomas was way over in right-center (not indefensible) and pretty deep (indefensible).

Can I make a general point here? If there's something I *haven't* mentioned in the piece, it's probably because at some point you have to stop writing, file, and move on. I've joked in the past that I'm just going to publish my in-game notes, because there's a lot of stuff left on the cutting-room floor. After a game like last night's, which had about 25 distinct things you could have written about, you have to make some choices, because there's a series preview to write, and three games the next day, and a month of them behind that one. You think about the game, and you think some more, and you write, and you probably have to leave some stuff out.

I talk more about process than I should, but believe me, folks, there is one.

Oct 07, 2009 11:21 AM
 
David Coonce

The first part there is exactly my thoughts - watching the game, not even as monday-morning quarterback. You had a pitcher throwing only changeups to a left-handed slap-hitter - the likelihood of Casilla pulling that pitch was HUGE, especially given his hack-tastic tendencies. As I was watching the game with my wife, I even said "they should probably have the shift on against this guy; Rodney's not throwing anything hard." That was literally on the pitch he hit.

Oct 07, 2009 12:21 PM
rating: 0
 
eighteen

I for one would love to see your in-game notes.

Oct 07, 2009 13:08 PM
rating: 1
 
andrews

Joe,

Once again just focussing on the negative.

Quick question - were you impressed by Rick Porcello and, if yes, why not explicitly mention it?

Silver lining for the Tigers is that Porcello can now be shut down before he's damaged.

Oct 07, 2009 11:55 AM
rating: -3
 
RayDiPerna

"Quick question - were you impressed by Rick Porcello and, if yes, why not explicitly mention it?"

It's clear that Joe was impressed by Rick Porcello -- clear to anyone who can read, that is.

Seriously, Andrews, your constant hissy fits about bias are pretty silly.

Oct 07, 2009 12:27 PM
rating: 0
 
andrews

"Leyland may have lifted Rick Porcello too soon, after the right-hander issued a homer and a walk with two outs in the sixth. Porcello had thrown just 92 pitches and was in complete control through the first 86. Not allowing him to face Delmon Young, who he’d handled, set the events in motion that may have cost him the game. Leyland needed more outs from his starter."

This is the only thing that could be construed as "praise" and it's in the context of criticizing Leyland decision - not explicit praise of Porcello. I think his performance given that he is a 20 year old rookie deserved some explict mention - it's not me who needs some reading comprehension.

As a paying subscriber to this site I feel entitled to offer my opinions and feedback - clearly this is only ok if it is positive otherwise the internet thought police seem to feel it is their job to jump on and dissenting voices.


Oct 08, 2009 05:54 AM
rating: -1
 
RayDiPerna

Andrews: Fair enough. I apologize for my tone.

I still don't see your point, though. Joe said that Porcello was "in complete control" until the last two hitters. Joe said Porcello was pulled too soon, that he should have been left in to face Young. Later Joe said:

"That sequence from Delmon Young in the sixth through Jason Kubel in the seventh is where Leyland lost the game: he took out a starter who was a better pitcher, even at 92 pitches, than the reliever he brought in..."

I don't know how one comes away from Joe's comments thinking Joe didn't "praise" Porcello or "explicitly mention Porcello's performance."

Moreover, if you're going to charge bias, you really need to be considering Joe's thoughts about Porcello outside of this specific column. Just this week Joe heaped A TON of praise on Porcello. Quoting now from Joe's Tuesday 10/6 column:

-----------------------
"I want Rick Porcello to weigh against all that, because I think he's going to have an amazing career, be a strikeout/groundball pitcher with command, win awards, battle with Felix Hernandez in the seventh game of an LCS or World Series in a way that we tell our kids about. I'm just not sure he's there yet, and while his results have been fine of late—a 3.00 ERA in his last seven starts—there are so many warning signs that he's exhausted that I can't be confident of his performance tonight..."

"...Porcello, who also has a great mind for the game, is a 20-year-old pitching deeper into a calendar than he's ever done before, going to the mound with a fraction of the stuff he normally has, and eventually that catches up with you. As a fan, I would like him to have one more big night. As an analyst looking at his recent work, I'm skeptical as to what he has left in the tank."
---------------

Once more: I don't know how one comes away from that complaining that Joe is not praising Porcello enough.

Oct 08, 2009 07:45 AM
rating: 1
 
andrews

Thanks for that Ray, yes I wasn't aware of the other articles so I am guilty of treating this article in a bubble, apologies for that.

Oct 08, 2009 08:52 AM
rating: 3
 
andrews

Aside from being slightly bemused by the fact that 2 instances are characterized by you as "constant" I'm puzzled as to why you felt the need to wade into my question to the author in this fashion? I have no desire to engage in a flame war with you.

Oct 08, 2009 05:04 AM
rating: 0
 
bobgale

Awesome column, Joe! Thank you, I really enjoy getting your take on whatever the pressing business of the day is in MLB. All of your points are well taken. Given the "do or die" nature of the game, I felt the foremost sin of omission by either manager was not bringing Nathan in to start the eighth inning. Others have pointed this out, of course. How ironic to still have to bring him into the game in that same inning, but only after the horse had fled the barn..as opposed to when you were in a position of strength.

The umpiring...that's a tough one. Personally, I'd hate to see baseball turn into NFL, jr. Obviously large mistakes were made and I was kind of embarrassed for Randy Marsh, the chief instructor when I went to Harry Wendelstedt's umpire school in 1982. But it did go both ways. If the out call at the plate on Casilla was missed, at least it didn't take a win away from the Twins, ultimately, and let a great game continue into minor legend.. Everything is a tradeoff and the game has survived pretty nicely, thank you, for how many years now in its current manifestation, in terms of umpiring?

In the end, it's "only" a game, played and umpired by human beings. Football is an altogether different sort of beast. At least that's my opinion.

Oct 07, 2009 12:31 PM
rating: 0
 
R.A.Wagman

Re: Umpiring - I would really hate to have too much of the game decided by computers. I think I'd support the move to close run-scoring plays (which might even include the Ingo non-HBP yesterday) to replay-eligible, but more than that would hamper the game more than just by slowing it down.
For example, if we turned umpiring into technology, we would not be so tempted to learn the rules of the game, kids would not have reasonably well-read arbiters in Little League and their learning curve would be much slower. It would filter forward to generally poorer baseball play at the MLB level.
Turning the calling of pitches and common safe/out plays over to technology-fortified elements could kill the game.

Oct 07, 2009 12:36 PM
rating: -1
 
jwdinnin

A random question about the game, unrelated to Joe's article (which was great). The game counted as a regular season game (players' stats counted towards their regular season totals, plus look at the standings - each of the Tigers and Twins now has 163 games played). However, there were left field and right field umpires used in the game.

Why would a "regular season" game use non-regular season officiating?

Oct 07, 2009 12:37 PM
rating: 2
 
Hawkeye

Great column Joe,

Just wondering if Gardy should be off the hook here.

Brandon Harris for Jose Morales to face a RH pitcher in the 7th?? Brandon Harris as your DH? WHY???

It was a great game. When was the last time you saw two 1st and 3rd situations, go-ahead/winning run on 3rd, one out and both end in DP's?

Oct 07, 2009 13:23 PM
rating: 1
 
T. Kiefer

Hi Joe--

Great article. However, you state "we’re losing one of the last truly unique baseball environments around" vis-a-vis the Metrodome. I must protest. I am delighted to see the Metrodome go (as most players who are not Twins are, and probably the Twins' knees are too).

Has anyone calculated the WARP of the Metrodome? I can't tell you how many times I've seen the Twins score, turn an out into a single, or a single into something bigger, because an outfielder lost a ball in the lights/ceiling or misplayed a ball because of the extra bounce it gets off the artificial turf. Ditto with strikes as opposed to hits: I heard a commentator once report to the effect that opposing hitters have a hard time seeing the ball there because they weren't used to the blue seats and blue and white tarp opposite home plate. I'm sure Target field will have a much lower WARP.

Oct 07, 2009 13:30 PM
rating: 0
 
andrews

:-) Wins against replacement park (WARP) - good ridance!

Oct 08, 2009 05:08 AM
rating: -1
 
mark1623

No one has mentioned the terrible move by Gardenhire to bring in Gomez as a defensive replacement for Kubel in the top of the eighth. Given that the lead was only one run at the time, it was not unrealistic to think the Twins would need to score again, and Kubel's spot was likely to come up again in the ninth. Sure enough, Ordonez quickly tied it up.

As a Twins fan I hope Gardy finally stops taking Kubel, one of the Twins few competent hitters, out before the game has been decided.

Oct 07, 2009 14:15 PM
rating: 1
 
BP staff member Joe Sheehan
BP staff
(17)

If you're not going to d-rep for someone not due up again until the bottom of the ninth, when will you? That move wasn't notably bad--I wish, though, that Gardenhire would instead take Young out of the game, whose defense isn't that much better than Kubel's and who isn't nearly as important to the offense. The tradeoff would be better for the Twins.

Oct 07, 2009 14:19 PM
 
mark1623

You don't replace a far superior hitter with only a one run lead, especially when, as you said, the Twins have just four good hitters and then a bunch of scrubs. With a larger lead I don't have a problem with the move. Obviously replacing Young is the move there if you have to insert Gomez.

Oct 07, 2009 14:28 PM
rating: 1
 
GrinnellSteve

I turned the game on in the 7th, and they were talking about Marsh's tight strike zone. I sure thought it opened up considerably for Nathan. I had no particular rooting interest, but I like to see consistency. Anyone else note this?

Oct 07, 2009 15:32 PM
rating: 0
 
BrettG

I miss Olympic Stadium in Montreal

Oct 08, 2009 08:15 AM
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