Nightly Notes: Game #34
1.) Check the post below this one for my thoughts on the Pat Neshek situation. Bottom line: I wish Pat the best in his recovery.
2.) I suspect that I'm often labeled an apologist for Twins management, from Terry Ryan to Bill Smith to Ron Gardenhire. Generally, I accept the label willingly -- when in doubt, I trust the professionals in the organization to make the right decision. I suspect Smith will prove himself to be an excellent GM in time, and I think Gardy is, overall, a very good manager. One of the things that I simply can't stand, however, is his propensity to bunt over a runner on first with no outs when trailing by a run. Occasionally, based on the context of a given situation, I actually think this move makes sense -- and you can usually make at least some sort of argument for such a move.
Unfortunately, I don't think tonight was such a night. I guess it's pretty brazen of me to be sitting here condemning a move that, in the end, turned out alright. However, this was quite possibly the worst possible time to bunt a runner over and give up an out. Here's why: first, you take the bat out of the hand of Matt Tolbert, who is hitting nearly .300 on the season; second, while that advances the runner to second, the next batter up was Adam Everett -- admittedly, Everett had 2 hits coming into that at-bat, but he's still hitting just .209 on the season; and third, that almost certainly was going to put Carlos Gomez at the plate with 2 outs and the tying run on 2nd. The same Carlos Gomez, mind you, who occasionally screws himself into the ground swinging the bat. It would be an understatement to say he's a bit excitable.
All of that, in my mind, adds up to a big old flashing "NO" when it comes to deciding whether or not to have Tolbert sacrifice. Again, things obviously turned out just fine -- better than fine, actually, since the team got the win. I've mentioned before, however, that judging a decision by the result can be a bit tricky, because in a one-of event like this the wrong decision can lead to the right result, if you catch my drift. I think over time, sac bunts with no outs are detrimental, and when the circumstances are such as those which faced the Twins tonight, I think the better move would be to let the hitter swing away.
3.) Since I'm on the subject, how about Gomez? The fact that he took a walk tonight was huge. He was up against one of the better closers in the game with a chance to tie the game, yet he still managed to avoid swinging at bad pitches and drew the walk. Admittedly, a couple of the pitches in that at-bat were about a mile out of the strike zone, so he should have been able to hold up. That doesn't make it any less significant that he did hold up. It's possible this walk was meaningless. It's also possible, however, that the walk was a sign of increasing plate discipline on Gomez's part. You would think that Gomez, as excitable as he is and in this kind of situation, would have swung like Jason Kubel against the Yankees in the playoffs (remember that?). Anyway, I'd at least like to think it was significant -- we'll see.
4.) Patrick Reusse thinks the Rays bamboozled the Twins in the Garza and Bartlett for Young, Harris, and Pridie deal. He bases this on 34 games of action. Mind you, Garza has a 4.91 ERA and a 13-11 K-BB ratio with a WHIP of 1.52. I'll admit, Delmon has left a lot to be desired so far this season, but how Reusse managed to draw the conclusion that he drew based on the numbers available to him is beyond me. Then again, we're talking about Pat Reusse. Maybe he has mystical powers that make things more obvious to him than they are to we mere mortals and shoddy bloggers . . .
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