Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Quick Note

I have no desire to break down today's game -- it wasn't just an 18-5 loss, it was an 18-5 loss that I saw none of. That adds up to keeping quiet. Instead, I'm just going to comment on one thing, and will hopefully be back tomorrow with a more expansive post.

Andrew Kneeland at Twins Fix suggested after yesterday's game that the Twins should have gone to Joe Nathan before Manny came up with the lead on the line. It's a good post, and worth your effort to read if you haven't yet done so -- although I'm going to disagree with his conclusion. Andrew takes the "new school" line that a closer should come into a game during any tight situation, rather than only in the ninth inning.

A few things on this -- first, while it sounds great in theory, I don't know how well it would work. When should Nathan start warming up? Should he have been ready in the 8th in case Guerrier didn't get the job done? Should he have started after the first hit allowed by Guerrier? I guess as a practical matter, I just am not convinced that it would have been wise to have him getting ready in the 8th inning, and since things degenerated so quickly, I'm also not convinced that he would have had any chance of getting ready in time to come in unless he had started warming up at the start of the eighth. If you go that route, though, there's a good chance that he's going to be sitting around for a long time after warming up and before he comes in. I'm not a pitching coach, so I don't know if that's a real problem -- but I'm guessing it's not the best plan, especially if you do it regularly.

Second, I also don't want the Twins to feel the need to go to Nathan repeatedly in the eighth inning. That could significantly increase his innings pitched, and that could lead to arm fatigue problems or worse. I guess I feel that with a three run lead in the 8th, the team should have a setup man who can keep them in the game. Guerrier failed last night, but most of the time he'll be fine in that role. Now, with a one run lead heading into the eighth, I'd probably be more inclined to bring in Guerrier while getting Nathan prepared to enter early.



  • At Wed Jul 09, 10:25:00 PM , Anonymous Twins Fix said...

    Thanks for the link, and the debate.

    Sorry for not being clear, but I meant that I would have gone with Nathan, and will continue to go with Nathan, in tight situations when we don't have a legitimate 8th inning man.

    Now, if we had someone like Neshek who can effectively shut someone down to prepare for the starter, I'm totally fine with that. Things would be way different if Neshek weren't hurt, or if Minnesota had a good 8th inning guy.

    But with things being the way they are, I think Nathan has to step up a little bit. I would have used him before Manny stepped to the plate, and I'm sure he could have closed out the remaining five outs.

    However, I am assuming that Minnesota signs someone to take over 8th inning duties. If Nathan only has to step up and take a few extra duties until we can find an 8th inning guy, which would be soon if we do, I wouldn't feel like I was overworking him.

    Thanks again, Taylor.

  • At Wed Jul 09, 10:34:00 PM , Anonymous Marty Andrade said...

    The "closer" role is not traditional. The traditional bullpen consists of a long man, a short man and a mop up guy. The short man was the ace, brought in whenever the game was on the line. The idea of a bullpen "ace" is traditional.

    (don't believe me, read Joe Garagiola's "Baseball is a Funny Game" originally published in the 50's)

    The idea of a "closer" who only comes in the 9th inning and only in save situations, that's "new school."

    [And Josh, what about the day before, when the game was tied 0-0 and Gardy went to his mop-up guy in the eighth with the game on the line? Was that a good call? Shouldn't good pitchers (or the best pitcher in the bullpen) get the call when the game is on the line?]

  • At Thu Jul 10, 08:48:00 AM , Blogger JST said...

    First to Marty: There's a reason I put "new school" in quotes, but my intent was obviously too subtle (I don't mean that sarcastically, either). When I said "new school" I was doing two things: first, I was referencing Andrew's statement that he wasn't a "traditional" baseball fan; and second, I was implicitly acknowledging that the closer's role has become pretty well established in its modern form. Of course I believe you that it hasn't always been that way -- I may not be the world's foremost baseball historian, but I certainly understand enough to recognize the evolution of the bullpen, including how early "closers" such as Goose Gossage were used.

    As for bringing Bass in during a 0-0 game -- that was silly. As I mentioned in the post, I'm open to the idea of using Nathan in some eighth inning situations, just not in games where the team has a three run lead going into the eighth.

    Andrew -- we don't disagree all that much, but where we do is that I think Guerrier is actually a serviceable setup guy. He'll have the occasional blow up, but I generally trust him (especially with a three run lead). What I don't want to see is Nathan and Guerrier starting to warm up together every time, just in case Guerrier can't hack it that day.

  • At Thu Jul 10, 04:19:00 PM , Blogger Jeremy said...


    Do you have any idea what has happened to Dave Coulon, Elliot Biddle and Tim Atherton? I can't find them on any rosters.

    And as long as I'm at it, Daniel Lathan and Dominique Rogers don't appear anywhere either.

    If you know, could you help me out...


  • At Thu Jul 10, 05:36:00 PM , Blogger JST said...

    Jeremy -- Biddle, Atherton, and Rodgers have all been released. Coulon was assigned to Elizabethton, but listed as being "reassigned" on the roster, and has since disappeared from the roster, so I'm not sure what's going on with him right now. The last player you asked about is, I believe Daniel Latham. I haven't seen or heard anything about him so far this year. Hope this helps.


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