Fire Gardy

Mismanaging games since 2002

Twins win thanks to Carl Crawford being dumb

When i saw Carl Crawford slide to catch that ball in foul territory last night I shouted “idiot!”, despite the fact that I was alone in my home.  That was a very boneheaded move. It would be one thing to catch it standing up (well maybe not for Crawford because the throws like a girl), but to make a circus catch with one out in the 8th of a tied game with the go ahead runner (with speed) on third? careless.  Did he think there were two outs? Possibly, that seems to happen more and more with kids these days.  I read in the paper this morning that he was just focused on making the out, not determining fair or foul.  Well, that is a lame excuse, but lets run with it. Shouldn’t the third baseman or shortstop  have been yelling at him to let it drop? Maybe they were and he couldn’t hear them over the 10 people who showed up to watch baseball inside on the first truly nice day of spring. As I saw Crawford track that ball down I kept saying to myself (again, aloud) “he’s going to let it drop…he’s got to let it drop…he’s going to catch it! Idiot!”

On to the actual game. Livan looked like the Livan of old. Walks, homers, slow.  That 2 run homer he gave up to Riggans. Man. There was no way he COULDN’T homer on that pitch. It was good to see the team hit the ball well. 11 hits. And we do OK with RISP.  Mauer seems to have broken out of his slump, hitting the ball well the last two games. He is now back to 300.  Gomez looked ok, he is at least exciting to watch.  I’m glad to see Kubel as a fixture in the lineup. Its a shame it took an injury to one of our better players to force Gardy into playing… another one of our better players. Idiot!

I wonder how long it will take me to not be nervous when a member of our bulpen steps in I hope Reyes gets paid overtime because he got 4 guys out, compared to his usual one or none. Rincon’s fastball looked pretty good, and he got the win. Nathan was, as always, good. I pretty much expect him to give up one baserunner.

Another question, why do people run on Mauer? The two putouts he had were very pretty. I would have loved to see him toss out Bartlett in the ninth, but as they say, 2 out of 3 aint’ bad. 

Boof is going tonight against someone I have never heard of for Tampa. This weekend is the Indians, who looked terrible last night as CC got shelled. We need to pounce on them.

Did anyone hear Scott Erickson in the booth today. When he and his wife were in there Dick said something along the lines of “Scott, you and your wife are here to talk about a special project” So i’m thinking, great Scott is going to talk about some charity. No. It was a lame movie called “A Plumm Summer” which Scott is exec producing. When asked what he did every day as a produced Scott replied “golf, fly fishing, hang out” Tough life, dude.

15 comments

15 Comments so far

  1. sirsean April 17th, 2008 8:08 am

    CC getting shelled (again) really hurts me. But if it’s good for the Twins, I’ll take it every day of the week.

    The Crawford play is something you’re supposed to learn when you’re a kid. Just like bunting and baserunning and which base to throw the ball to. I’m repeatedly stunned when major league players don’t know this stuff. (Although I’ve realized that knowing the fundamentals is meaningless in determining major league talent — if you can hit, you’re in.)

    The offense has looked pretty good for the last few days. And I think it’s kind of promising that even with Mauer grounding out 5 times in the 3 hole, we can still put up runs. An offense can’t rely on one guy to get 3 hits every night. (That kind of worked when Mauer was batting .350+ in 2006, but it’s not exactly a sustainable plan.) I’ve been saying that by upgrading the rest of the lineup to average hitters, we’d be able to score a lot of runs; it took a week and a half longer than I would have liked (maybe we should start our spring training at the same time as all the other teams?), but we seem to have a legitimate major league offense.

  2. FunBobby April 17th, 2008 9:22 am

    Tampa doesn’t seem like they are a very fundamentally sound team. BJ Upton had some questionable throws from center, and looks like Bartlett has reverted to his old ways of making bad throws.

  3. Grizz April 17th, 2008 9:41 am

    I loved watching that idiot Crawford make that play, as well as see the flashback of his other bonehead play from last year, when he ran to third to try to get a triple, while the runner ahead of him stayed at the base. Then, to make things worse, he ran back to second during the rundown and got doubled up. He is doing a lot to discredit his ridiculous words about Young earlier this season, and Young has followed suit by never saying anything about him, even when he makes dumb plays. I can understand while you are sprinting for the ball, you may not know exactly where the line is, but it wasn’t like it was close to the line at all.

    I’m also glad to see the offense do a little damage, and I would like to see Gomez get good at bunting, because the ones that he safely gets hits on, really aren’t very good, and it makes me wonder how great he could be if he could lay them down well. He has also shown he can hit the ball well on occasion, which could help prevent infielders from creeping up too far. Livan didn’t look that great last night, and I would like to see the errors cut down in the field, especially on the routine plays that have been blown (e.g the ball right through Harris’ legs that kept the inning alive for Riggans’ homerun).

    I thought it was funny last night how both Gordon/Morris and Bremer/Blyleven kept trying to talk to Scotty about baseball and he kept trying to talk about A Plumm Summer. I have never heard the words Billy Baldwin and Henry Winkler mentioned so many times during a professional baseball game. Scotty probably chose to be the “Executive Producer” of this movie because it was the only script he could understand when it was read to him. Anyone else smell Oscar?

  4. sirsean April 17th, 2008 11:01 am

    The Rays organization seems to prefer talent over skill at all levels. I don’t think that can qualify as a cricism, for a few reasons: 1) Now that they have talent, they’re expected to be a winning team for the first time ever, 2) You can learn skills but you can’t learn talent, 3) The Twins are the opposite and it’s often pretty sad. I think we should continue teaming up with them, swapping some of our guys for some of their guys, producing two better balanced teams that can compete with the juggernauts in their respective divisions. However, I see a budding rivalry between these two teams, sparked largely by the douchiness of Carl Crawford and Matt Garza. Oh well.

    Oh … Gomez. If he could learn to bunt like Mauer, he could bat over .400 with that speed. But, as I said above, I think it’ll be a lot easier for Gomez to learn to bunt like Mauer than it’ll be for Mauer to learn to run like Gomez. So he just needs some work on that bunting, and he’ll be getting a lot more hits (and make me wish I had room on my fantasy team for ANOTHER young outfielder with crazy upside). You’re definitely right that his bunts are all crappy, even the ones he beats out for hits.

    Gleeman was right today that a .600 OPS never looked so entertaining.

  5. Texas April 17th, 2008 11:01 am

    If we could only play the Carl Crawford led (Devil) Rays every game.

    Baseball players are consistently getting dumber and dumber. Guys don’t know or understand the nuances of the game and that leaves teh nuancing to us!

    On to the game. I was stuck in my Love, Sex, and Marriage class at the U for the first part of the game and was stuck watching the game on ESPNs Gamecast which is terribly frustrating by the way.

    I feel like this is the Livan that we will see most of the year. There might be flashes of the first three games, but an ERA between 4 and 5 should be expected. Mauer seems to have snapped out of his funk. I also would like to see Gomez get better at bunting, but even more so I would like to see him get better at his approach to an at-bat (i.e. taking some pitches, swinging a better stick, and getting on base more so that he can change games on the bases).

    Gleeman said that Gomez is on pace to steal 95 bases, and that is getting on base only about 3/10 PAs, which is freaking amazing. The last 90+ base stealer… Rickey Henderson.

    I must admit I had been on the move Mauer out from behind the plate bandwagon, but watching his play so far this year I’m relatively convinced that if he trains properly in the off season there is no reason he can’t be a great catcher for a long time (both defensively and offensively)!

    It’s funny you mention being nervous with the bullpen. If I remember correctly, in Spring Training, everyone was saying we just need to get the game to the 6/7th innings with a lead. I was leery. I have always been leery of Nathan as a closer, even though he continually performs well in those duties. I think one thing to note is that many supposed good bullpens are imploding or suffering injuries to key components. (Borowski, etc.) I think it might be a bit early to worry about the bullpen, but I think our bullpen is highly overrated. I might be eating crow on this later, I certainly hope so, but I don’t trust Rincon or Crain yet and Neshek needs to figure out how to get movement back on his slider.

    That is all, sorry for the rant.

  6. Texas April 17th, 2008 11:04 am

    “(and make me wish I had room on my fantasy team for ANOTHER young outfielder with crazy upside).”

    Totally, unfortunately I need some big sticks, what with Soriano on the DL now

  7. sirsean April 17th, 2008 1:07 pm

    I had to go out last night, so instead of getting to watch the game I had to refresh MLB.com’s box score on my phone. Trust me, that’s worse than ESPN’s Gamecast. Thanks to FunBobby and Grizz for keeping me up to date (up to the minute, in fact!) with what the box score can’t tell you.

    Something we’d kind of touched on but hadn’t said explicitly about closers … what would the bullpen look like if we used Nathan in the most necessary and high-leverage situations, rather than in the 9th inning? I worry that he’d be less effective, having gotten a “demotion” from being the “closer” (or even “9th inning guy” which sounds much better than “7th inning guy”). On the other hand, that’s what the Indians did last year on their way to winning the division.

    They actually had a “closer” who got a lot of “saves,” but their best pitcher was clearly Betancourt, whom they had the distinct advantage of being able to use in whichever inning would help the team out most.

    Should Gardy take a hint from Wedge here? What effect would it have on Nathan’s production? (Stats guys would say “none,” but I have a hard time believing that.) What effect would it have on the rest of the bullpen? (Would it take the pressure OFF guys like Guerrier and Neshek if they ended up taking a 9th inning every once in a while? Or would they crumble in the 9th and get a bunch of blown saves and losses?) Most importantly … would it end up in more wins? (We’d have had a better chance in those two games against the Tigers, but who’s to say they wouldn’t have done the same thing in the 9th as they did in the 8th if we just switched who pitched when?)

  8. IowaWigman April 17th, 2008 2:28 pm

    Texas – are you still leery of Nathan as a closer?

  9. Texas April 17th, 2008 3:16 pm

    Yes, I think I will always be leery of Nathan. I think he allows to many base runners, but as I’ve stated he continues to get out of those jams and rack up saves.

    I like the idea of your best bullpen pitcher coming to pitch in the most important situation (particularly if you only need one out in the seventh or eighth).

    As I’ve said before I think the closer role is overrated. If Nathan is the best pitcher in the bullpen he should be used when the game is truly on the line. (Say when the opposing team is down by 1, after they have scored 4 runs to come back from down 5, for the second time). Keeping your best relief pitcher on the bench in that situation is just poor management!

  10. sirsean April 17th, 2008 3:31 pm

    Nathan doesn’t put too many runners on base. His WHIP:

    2008: 1.000 2007: 1.019 2006: 0.790 2005: 0.971 2004: 0.982

    That’s his entire tenure as a closer. Given that 1.00 is generally considered excellent, I’d say he does alright.

    Combine that with a K/9 of over 11 during that span, and he’s very clearly doing a great job.

    (Compare that performance to a guy like Eddie Guardado, who got his WHIP down to 1.050 for his last 2 seasons in MN, but before that was a 1.3-1.6 WHIP guy. That is too many baserunners.)

    Keeping your best reliever on the bench in that situation may be poor management. But it’s also conventional wisdom … and there’s exactly one manager in baseball who goes against it (Wedge). I think it’s pretty hard for Gardy to just go against conventional wisdom without good reason, which is why I think someone needs to build a very strong case for this … and in the process see if one truly exists.

  11. IowaWigman April 18th, 2008 9:54 am

    Texas – I think you’d be leery of Michael Jordan taking the game-winning shot :-)

    To build off sirsean’s post, Mo Rivera’s career WHIP is 1.04, Trevor Hoffman’s is 1.05, and Troy Percival’s is 1.08.

    I looked at Eckersley’s stats and his career WHIP is 1.161. Part of that was as a starter, but in looking at it after he became a closer, he had a WHIP that ranged from 0.607 to 1.361.

    Long story short, I like Nathan :-)

    As for your other argument, I can’t provide a solid argument on either side.

  12. Texas April 18th, 2008 8:44 pm

    It’s not that I don’t like the guy. I have no affinity either way and he obviously gets the job done. No argument from me on that point. It’s just a feeling I get when he comes in.

    He has obviously been terribly effective in the closer role. It’s just my personal feeling, and I hope he keeps proving me wrong.

    I also hope that the Twins give him more than one opportunity a week to prove me wrong!

    By the way, I always liked Steve Kerr in the clutch, although Jordan might be a close second ;)

  13. Joe Nathan April 23rd, 2008 9:32 pm

    What else do you want, man?

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