Fire Gardy

Mismanaging games since 2002

Wherefore art thou Joe Nathan

The twins were in a close game in the late innings last night. Again. Ron Gardenhire failed to use the Twins best reliever in the late innings of a close game. Again. This is a disturbing pattern that needs to stop. Gleeman wrote a pretty good post on this topic this morning and I felt the need to discuss it further. 

Why does Gardy feel the need game in and game out to fail to use Nathan unless we are up by 3 or less in the ninth inning. Seems like a dumb idea to use your best reliever (if not best pitcher) in such a narrow scope.  I’m not really sure what else to compare this to. Maybe if Tony LaRussa only used Albert Puljos as a pinch hitter against tough lefties. Its a complete waste of talent to use Nathan just to rack up “saves”.  I’m surprised Gardy doesn’t have Nathan pitch three innings every game and finish each season with at least 80 saves.  Seems like the save might be that important to him.

On another note, I like the move to pinch hit for Gomez with Kubel against Papplebon. Gomez didn’t look to good at the plate all day, but Kubel laid off a good pitch or two that he might have been able to at least hit in the air to score Punto from third.  Hopefully he realized all we needed was a sac fly not necessarily a hit.  I think when a player comes in as a pinch hitter late in the game like that he tries too hard to hit a homer or something. Just put the ball in the air somewhere in the outfield and tie the game. That way Gardy can mismanage the bullpen for a few more innings and get some other mediocre reliever a loss, but keeping Nathan on the bench in case a “save” situation comes up.


4 Comments so far

  1. sirsean July 9th, 2008 8:05 am

    These were a pair of very tough losses, and it feels horrible.

    The first one was unforgivable, bringing in Bass is simply the wrong decision, whether it works or not. The second, not so much, the bullpen wasn’t used poorly except that Reyes and Guerrier didn’t get the job done. That’s easy to second guess, but only because it didn’t work.

    But these one-run-losses are annoying. Since we lost them, we’re a bad team that can’t close out a victory. But if we’d won these one-run games, it “barely counts” because winning one run games doesn’t make a difference to the stats people. Unless it’s the Red Sox.

    (By the way — given that most of the stats today are calculated and maintained by Red Sox fans, and it started after the Red Sox got good again … what happens when they get bad? Will blogging coverage get more balanced, or will much of it just go away?)

  2. FunBobby July 9th, 2008 8:20 am

    I agree, last night wasn’t so much mismanaged as the players didn’t play well. I was really more referring to monday. But since Nathan didn’t pitch on monday, why not use him in a close game last night? After we sign him to a big contract, he is on pace to pitch his lowest innings total as a Twin.

  3. sirsean July 9th, 2008 9:58 am

    What’s worse is that Nathan hasn’t pitched in a while and will “need work” pretty soon, meaning that he’s going to come in when we’re either up or down by 10 runs.

    Gardy always manages for tomorrow — just in case we need Nathan fresh tomorrow, and for a presumable string of 10 straight close victories! That ignores, of course, the fact that using him gives us a shot at winning close games today.

    I don’t have a problem with a GM playing for tomorrow, and stacking the farm system with talent so there’s never a drought. But I do have a problem with the manager playing for tomorrow, ignoring the value of a win today. (Exceptions include: overworked relievers, injuries, 15+ inning games.)

  4. [...] Wherefore art thou Joe Nathan Ron Gardenhire failed to use the Twins best reliever in the late … in such a narrow scope.  I’m not really sure what else to compare this to. [...]

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