Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tigers 1, Twins 0

I should be doing about a million different things, and none of them are going away. But I'll be damned if I'm not going to sit down and watch Matt Garza pitch against the division-leading Tigers. I'm hoping while I do so, some random thoughs might entertain you....

Southpaw Struggles
AAAARRRRGGGHHHHH! Well, this not the way I wanted to start this game, but I gott ask...

Why the HELL is Jason Tyler in this game versus a left-handed pitcher?!?

I should clarify - I'm not a Tyner-hater. In fact, I think Tyner is valuable asset, and think much of the criticism towards him is a bad habit, carryover from his days with the Devil Rays. The fact it that for the last few years Tyner has been very valuable provided you understand:

1) he's in the game to get on-base, not hit for power and

This isn't debatable, by the way. He's never hit lefties. Not this year, not last year, not any year. He makes Jacque Jones look like a lefty-masher. I don't think I even really need to show any stats, but let's take a minute and check out his splits over on espn.com for the last three years. Versus right-handers he's had 210 at-bats and an OPS of 744. That's respectable. Versus left-handers he's only had 64 at-bats (a sign the Twins have used him intelligently) and and OPS of 584. That's brutal.

That's crazy. Gardenhire has to know this. Why in gawd's name would he do this? Are Kubel and Ford hurt? Are they palying with their roster to see if they can afford to let Ford go when Rondell White returns? Or maybe.....

That's it. Tyner has faced Robertson nine times and has four hits off of him. He'a also walked once. Gardy's basing it on his history against Robertson. OK. That's better than defendable. Maybe as far as inspired.

Of course, Lew Ford has good numbers against him, too....

Another Name to Consider
Over at espn.gom, Keith Law evaluates buyers and sellers and throws out a name for the Twins that I haven't thought of for awhile - Scott Hatteberg.

It's an intersting thought. Hatteberg is the type of guy I think the Twins will get - a second-tier first base/DH type. And Hatteberg is with the Reds, who the Twins certainly aren't afraid to trade with. But he's also left-handed, and really isn't any use aginst left-handed pitchers. I'd love to see him on the Twins, but as lefty bench pop, ala the role held right now by Garret Jones.

For the record, I think the Twins are going to find that right-handed pop somewhere before the deadline, and I don't think it's going to cost much. I'd like to crunch the numbers, but it seems like there aren't nearly as many teams looking for that as there used to be, and there are several that could be available. That's a story for another time.

Bartlett Bobbling
The Twins let in the leading run in the sixth but just plain booting the ball around, and it started with another bobble by Jason Bartlett. This was just plain a take-your-damn-eye-off-the-ball fumble.

For years I thought the criticism of Bartlett's defense was unfair, and was more about parroting a manager's excuse for playing his veteran than any objective analysis.

This year is different. This year Bartlett's defense just plain sucks. He still has the range which is going to make him a defensive asset, but his concentration is for crap. I can hardly wait to see the defensive metrics for him at the end of this year. If they aren't bad, I'm going to doubt their validity.

Little Frickin Punto, Tiny Superzero
Well, THAT was one brutal at-bat. In the eighth inning, with the lead-off (and tying) baserunner on first, Punto failed in two attempts to lay down a bunt, kept himself in the hole by fouling off high pitches, and then tried to inside-out swing on a ball that was directly over the plate.

Their reliever had trouble throwing a strike and seemingly couldn't throw anything over the outer half of the plate, and yet Punto keeps flicking those wrists. Pick to click, my butt.

Well, I'm a moron. I can't believe I spent tonight watching this game thinking I was going to enjoy it. I su

ppose this will be painted in Detroit as a Nate Robertson stepping up, but from where I sit, it feels like the Twins spent the night swimming upstream. It was Pitching 101 - just inner-half, outer-half pitching - but the Twins kept guessing wrong. Add to that some poor fundamentals - errors in the field, swinging at ball four in the dirt, failing to lay down bunts - and the Twins lost this game because they played worse.


Josh Johnson said...

Nice post.

With the Twins being shut out last night, I suspect that either tonight or tomorrow's game they'll score a baker's dozen or more. It's the way the Twins have played all year, inconsistant.

I too think the Twins will get th Righ-Handed DH that we need at the deadline. I think that if the speculated deal of Dan Johnson for Scott Proctor comes true, I think Mike Piazza will be at the top of the Twins list at the deadline. He has pop and I think can still contribute (offensively). Shannon Stewart would be a great pick up too.

I think the Twins should also explore a deal with the Reds about Edwin Encarnacion. He's been in the doghouse in Cincy since his arrival and with the relationship between Terry Ryan and Wayne Krivsky, I think something could happen. He'd solve our problems at 3rd Base both now and for the future.

Have a great day!

Anonymous said...

what about Mauer not taking his bat off the shoulder with two runners on?

That was the biggest dissapointment....

The Twins deserved a little bad defense karma because of how bad the Tigers played in the first two games of the last series.

John said...

Mauer's at-bat was also dissappointing. I also thought the pitch was outside, but it was close enough that you need to swing with two strikes.

As for Encarnacion, his relationship with Narron seems dicey, but he's playign everyday and I just don't see the Reds moving a young cheal major-league ready player. Certainly not for anything less than one of our young starters, and I'm talking about someone in the rotation, like Boof or Baker or Garza.

Josh Johnson said...

john, that's the problem... he's not starting everyday. Ryan Freel has been playing a lot of 3rd base since he's come back from injury.

Pete Mackanin doesn't seem to be very fond of him, like Jerry Narron was.

I think they'd be more willing to trade him than some may think. But part of it may just be wishful thinking.

Jack Ungerleider said...

Moan and groan... that's all you guys ever do.

John, I notice that neither you nor any of the commenters offered any praise for the young pitcher who didn't get out pitched last night. This was a team loss that goes on Matt Garza's record. I don't know about anybody else but when he took out Sheffield with the curve ball (I think it was Shef...) after to fastballs and two straight changes it shows the young man has learned to pitch a little. I'm very happy to see that. I was afraid he was Kyle Loshe all over again. A guy with "the best stuff in the organization" but no idea how to use it.

I also noticed many head bobs but not too many shakes. It looks like he trusts Mauer to call the right pitch. (Which he should.)

The wailing and gnashing of teeth can resume now...

John said...

I hear you Jack - and it was better than Sheff - it was Magglio. You're right - long term it was very encouraging. But I'm not ready to look long term right now.