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.
Labels: Quick Note