119 thoughts on “March 26, 2020: Truncated”

    1. I really like that ubelmann's idea starts with the premise that this season is going to be unlike anything else so don't be tied down by tradition and the current set-up.

      1. I agree. A 62-game season won't feel like a 162-game season so don't try it. Try something different. I like the idea of a big tournament. Yes, it increases the luck factor but it would be fun.

        1. right, like a large scale beer league softball tourny. The second chance bracket with the possibility to grit their way back into the championship round. That would be fun. Something like this would also have the benefit of introducing players / teams to whole new audiences.

  1. My brother-in-law is an EMT. A patient he transported to the hospital on Tuesday tested positive for COVID-19 yesterday. His ambulance company has placed him under a mandatory 14-day quarantine last night. So far he’s asymptomatic, but we’re still in the first 48 hours since exposure.

    1. Putting first responder staff under quarantine every time they encounter someone who tests positive seems like a recipe for having no first responders in pretty short order.

      1. My thoughts as well. BIL & his partner wore masks, glasses, gloves, & smocks for the call. The ambulance company converted one of their stations into a decontamination facility, and as far as I could tell, he & his partner followed protocol.

  2. My life has gone in such a different direction the past few years. TBH, I'm not really even concerned about whether or not there is a season. That seems unimaginable, say 15 years ago, but that's where I am now.

    1. I do encourage everyone to try to incorporate some exercise into their routine if you can. I'm not a huge physical fitness guy, but when I make time for exercise it helps lower my stress level significantly.

      1. The jalapeno is an athletic kid who seems to constantly be in motion. Until recently he had no interest in taking walks, but he's been embracing them this past week. Last night we went out in the drizzle ("I don't care if I get wet," he told me) and walked for probably an hour. Since I'm sitting at my laptop most of the day, it's a blessing to be able to walk with him in the evenings.

  3. There's something about Cuddyer I never really liked. He was a good player to have around, but I can't really put my finger on it. Maybe it's that he looks a bit smug most of the time? He also always seemed just a little less athletic than he should have been -- like some guys are sneaky fast, but he seemed sneaky slow.

        1. I could totally believe that. If it wasn't apparent, I am really commenting on the baseball persona of Cuddyer, given that I have no idea what he's actually like as a person.

        2. When I visited spring training in 2005, Cuddyer was remarkably friendly and generous with his time. I asked him for some dinner recommendations in Ft. Myers at the end of the day, and he spent 45 minutes telling me places for every type of cuisine. He kept signing autographs for people who walked up during the conversation, and I thanked him a few times for the suggestions, but he kept on offering more.

    1. The thing that bothered me was reading all the negative quotes about Mauer at just about the same time Cuddyer's agent was pushing for a new contract for him. If anything, it was probably the agent but it still bothered me.

      1. I think the other thing that I remembered is that I really loved Bobby Kielty back in his Twins days -- switch-hitters are just fun and Kielty had such a big year in '02, slashing .291/.405/.484 -- and moving Kielty was primarily about Shannon Stewart but seemed partly about making room for Cuddyer. But credit to the Twins, they definitely backed the player who would go on to have the better career.

          1. That year's lineup was incredibly top-heavy. Span-Cuddyer-Mauer-Morneau-Kubel had the 5 most PA on the team (and unfortunately Morneau got injured down the stretch), Span had a 115 OPS+ and everyone else had a 125 OPS+ or better. But after that, woof. Young and Cabrera were passable hitters (though Young obviously way more disappointing when you consider position), but Harris, Punto, Crede, Carlos Gomez (in a career-worst year for him, the Twins really bought high and sold low on him), Casilla, Tolbert, Buscher, Redmond... you're really just praying for something to happen in the bottom half of that lineup pretty much however you set it.

              1. The announcers went on and on about that, but the left fielder was playing really shallow and the ball was hit hard enough that if Casilla had stayed on the bag, I'm not sure he would have made it home on a hit. It was a lot tougher baserunning situation than they made it out to be, unless you are really sure off the bat that it's going to be caught.

    1. It's funny, I would not have thought it was a night game until the broadcast crew just mentioned it getting late. I suppose it was a weekday and there weren't any other games that day, so they put it in a prime time slot, but with the dome, 9am or 9pm is all pretty much the same on TV.

      It's also more striking to me 10 years after the fact how bad of a viewing experience it is for there to be essentially no fans in frame on every pitch.

      1. I doubt Milwaukee would have gone for it, but I would have been so much happier holding on to Carlos Gomez and dealing Young for Hardy instead.

        Also more happy keeping Hardy than dealing him for whatever it was, was it ineffective relief pitching or something? Gomez-for-Hardy wasn't a terrible deal, but I really think the Twins misvalued both players in that deal.

          1. Smith made a lot of questionable moves, but that is really high on the list! Though to be completely fair to him I think with Hardy it was an organizational thing. Just watching the broadcasts back in the day, you could tell that Dick'n'Bert were never very high on him, and those takes are always highly influenced by Gardy and the rest of his staff.

            Going back farther in that trade chain -- I defended the Santana trade at the time, and I think it was still a completely reasonable trade. Even if the Twins had a bigger budget, they probably could have used the $25M/year better by spreading it around on multiple players instead of sinking it all into a long deal for Santana. Fangraphs had Gomez's contributions valued at $58.5M over the 5 years after he came to Minnesota, which would have all been salary controlled, and since he was a bit of a late bloomer, even the arb-eligible years must have been pretty reasonable. It's sad that Santana spent so much time on the DL, but it's also not so unpredictable that an aging pitcher was going to either decline or have a huge injury risk. The rest turned out to be filler, but were not unreasonable prospects (hell, Humber eventually went on to throw a no-hitter, clearly there was some talent there) and it just turned out to be one of those 1-for-4 deals where you only hit on one of the prospects who becomes a good regular, versus one where you get 2 or 3 more middling players.

            The Twins' problem was more that they couldn't leverage the money they saved on Santana into talent elsewhere on the field. Had they been willing to trade Garza and Bartlett and taken on a net of $25M/year in salary in the trade, they probably could have gotten a couple of borderline All-Stars in the deal, considering that without taking on salary they got a couple guys who I was not high on but many might have projected as a borderline All-Star in Young and a platoon player in Harris.

            Honestly, even if they didn't take on salary they could have done so much better. Garza+Bartlett was a better package than just Erik Bedard (on the last year of his contract) -- if the Twins could have gotten Jones + Sherrill + Tillman, that would have been a fantastic deal for Minnesota and a better deal for Seattle than what they got. Span+Gomez+Jones would have made it totally reasonable to flip Gomez for Hardy. Jones was so much better than Delmon it's ridiculous.

            With better luck on Mauer and Morneau's health, it could have been really great from 2010 forward

            C - Mauer 5.7 WAR
            1B - Morneau 5.0 WAR in half a season
            2B - Hudson 3.0 WAR
            SS - Hardy 2.1 WAR (followed by 4.5, 2.4, 3.2, 3.0)
            3B - Valencia 2.1 WAR
            LF - Jones 2.5 WAR (followed by 2.5, 4.4, 4.9, 4.7, 3.4)
            CF - Span 2.7 WAR (followed by 1.9, 3.2, 3.2, 4.2)
            RF - Cuddyer/Kubel platoon (both were roughly replacement level that year but would have been better as a platoon)
            DH - Gentleman Slugger Jim Thome 3.1 WAR

            Average or better production at 9 positions and even their options in RF wouldn't have been that bad. Cuddyer bounced back in 2011 so RF wouldn't really have needed to be addressed that badly, and Willingham was a pretty good get to replace Cuddyer. 2B and 3B would have been soft after 2010, but with the rest of that lineup in place (especially assuming an alternate reality which is less cruel to Mauer and Morneau), you could easily accept a couple of defense-first replacement-level players there to focus some spending on pitching.

            I guess I'm getting at that the Twins wound up being pretty good, and the overall framework for a great team was really there, they just really, really missed out by getting a complete nothingburger out of Delmon and turning Hardy into nothing. (Plus fate being cruel with injuries.) It's almost more frustrating to look back and see how badly they botched it than it was at the time.

            1. Smith made a lot of questionable moves, but that is really high on the list! Though to be completely fair to him I think with Hardy it was an organizational thing. Just watching the broadcasts back in the day, you could tell that Dick'n'Bert were never very high on him, and those takes are always highly influenced by Gardy and the rest of his staff.

              Gardy needed a scrappy, fast guy at SS that could get on base and steal bases. The org never seemed to appreciate that Hardy's defense was really good even without having blazing speed.

            2. Plouffe would’ve been a serviceable replacement at third for Valencia beginning in 2012, and possibly earlier had they not jerked him around the field. And with the revenue boost from moving to their new ballpark, they should’ve had the ability to have a rotation that didn’t resemble a rural county highway in harvest season.

              Seriously, avert your eyes if you go back and look at the rotation from 2012–2014.

                1. Thanks.

                  The math seems challenging, still. A lineup composed of all "average starters" would thus be worth ... 16 wins above replacement (for position players)?? So, how many wins would a lineup of replacement-level players be expected to accumulate? Sorry. Don't have the Google Fu working at the moment.

                  1. I don't know if this part is accurate according to the guys who really do this stuff, but I had the thought, if you figure for 9 hitters and 5 starters who are each "average", that's 28 WAR, then throw in a few WAR for your bullpen (who obviously accumulate fewer WAR each based on amount of innings), with a 50-ish replacement-level baseline, you'd be right around 81 wins, or an "average" record.

                    1. Yea, I started doing that napkin work, then realized I had forgotten about replacement level and needed to know where the sea level was set.

                  2. I think FG and BR agreed at 1000* WAR for the season. That's 33.3 for each team. With 81 wins, that's 48 wins as replacement level, or a 0.294 winning percentage. This is key, because I recall BP has or used to have a lower winning percentage for replacement level. They might have moved to the same level.

                    * As we're learning, it's all made up. Might as well pick easy to remember numbers.

        1. Batista was remarkably bad, but I didn't really dislike him, I just hated that they kept him on the roster over Bartlett. He also seemed like kind of a fun guy and hit for a bit of power (was a complete void in the field, though.)

          Looking back on that season's bb-ref page is still pretty horrifying. I remember RonDL being a drag on the team, but bb-ref lists Lew Ford at LF. Lew actually ended the season with a lower OPS than RonDL, .599 and .641 respectively. It is a special kind of roster construction when your LF and DH are the two worst hitters on the team. Carlos Silva went 1 for 3 with a single and had a better OPS than either of those two guys.

  4. I'm not an advocate for pitching to contact, or valuing hitters putting the ball in play over all else, but as a spectator I do really think baseball is at its best when there is one or more runners on base and the ball is in play. I don't know the best way to maximize that while keeping the three true outcome rates reasonably low, but if there's a good way to do it, I'd be all for it.

  5. The week before this game we were in Las Vegas, celebrating our anniversary watching the first half of the doubleheader in Detroit in the casino sports book and drinking Bloody Marys for lunch. Good times.

          1. We make a Minnesota Mule at the joint. We use Prairie Vodka (local) and we make our own ginger simple syrup. See recipe below:

            Minnesota Mule
            In a shaker combine:
            • 1.5 oz. of Prairie vodka
            • 1 oz. ginger simple syrup
            • 1 oz. of lime juice
            Add ice and shake. Strain into a copper mug with ice and top with club soda. Garnish with a lime and serve.

            1. Prairie is my preferred domestic vodka. They make a great product. I gifted a bottle to a Ukrainian acquaintance who put me up in his Brighton Beach apartment on a Moscow-bound layover; he opened the bottle immediately, we did toasts, and Prairie got his official okey-dorky. (That was back in 2012, so it hadn’t really expanded beyond regional distribution yet.)

              1. We love their cucumber vodka here. I accidentally grabbed a bottle of their gin a while back because the labels are way too similar. We both had one gin drink and put it back in the cabinet.

                If anyone would like to risk breaking quarantine, free 95% full bottle of gin to a good home.

                1. I was not impressed with their gin. I love the stuff, but have particular preferences, so I’m not sure if it’s them or me. I drink mostly Plymouth or Knickerbocker, which is made in New Holland, Michigan, sometimes Old Raj.

                  I was sorely tempted by a bottle of Monkey 47 I saw at Woodmans, but it was $59.99.

      1. I have about 2 gallons of Bloody Mary Mix in my cooler that I just portioned out for staff to take home (since we can use it). The recipe was made up by our original bartender trainer when we opened and honestly, people go crazy over it. My gift to you in these troubled times is the recipe below.

        P&P Bloody Mary Recipe
        • 1 Can Tomato Juice (#5 can - 46 oz)
        • 1 Bottle Clamato (32 oz)
        • 3 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
        • 2 Tbsp A1 Sauce
        • 2 Tbsp Old Bay
        • 1 Tbsp Black Pepper
        • 3 Tbsp horseradish
        • 1 Tbsp Celery Salt
        • 1 Tbsp Grey Poupon
        • 1 Tbsp onion Powder
        • 1 Tbsp Franks Red Hot
        • 1 Tbsp Sriracha
        • 3oz Pickle Juice
        • 2oz olive Juice
        • 2oz Roasted Garlic Puree
        • 1 squeeze Lemon/Lime

        1. the mix at the last place i worked was similar at least in amount of ingredients (i think there was some au jus in there somewhere). man that was a pain to make. i'd do like 3 batches at once out of annoyance (we went though it fast enough).

  6. I've been reading up on the symptoms and pathology of COVID-19. We know that the vast majority of infected people remain asymptomatic or experience only mild to moderate symptoms. There is some speculation that this may be because they already have coronavirus antibodies from previous infections similar enough to the COVID-19 antigen that the body can mount a sufficiently fast, effective immune response. But for about 10-15% of people infected, the disease can become devastating in a very short time. When the COVID-19 virus gets into lungs, it moves with lightning speed, attacking the cells in the alveola (air sacs), causing them to swell and eventually rupture. The alveola are where all of the body's gaseous transfer takes place, oxygen and carbon dioxide passing by osmosis into and out of the blood through capillary membranes. In a short time the cellular damage manifests throughout the lung tissue. With progression, the lungs become less and less efficient at exchanging gasses, resulting in low O2 and high CO2 and causing shortness of breath. As less and less oxygen gets into the bloodstream, the secondary effect is cardiac - the heart becomes starved for oxygen and patients can begin to experience angina symptoms, a feeling of tightness and constriction in the chest. From there a nasty spiraling effect begins. Less oxygen for the heart, less effective pumping, less effective bloodflow to the lungs. Less effective bloodflow to the lungs, less effective gaseous exchange, lower and lower O2 and higher and higher CO2. Throughout the viral infection, the tissue damage in the lungs, those ruptured air sacs, makes patients extremely susceptible to secondary pulmonary infections like pneumonia, so COVID-19 patients in ICU typically receive prophylactic antibiotics as a preventative measure. Meanwhile, more and more lung tissue is getting damaged. More CO2 builds up in the blood and dissolved blood oxygen is further depleted, putting more strain on the heart. Eventually patients reach a critical point where artificial respiration is about the only chance for survival. Without it (and sometimes even with it), lung damage eventually becomes so severe and the heart so starved for oxygen that it goes into cardiac arrest, which becomes the ultimate cause of death. From a public health perspective, we should be focusing heavily on testing for both COVID-19 infection and antibodies as there are different tests for both. Those who test positive for the infection need to be quarantined and treated as necessary. Those who test positive for the antibody can be cleared to go to work and resume more normal levels of social contact. Everybody else should self-isolate and practice social distancing and other preventative measures. While the lack of PPE and other medical supplies is getting the lion's share of media attention, the severe lack of data for modeling a rational, effective response to the disease has been the biggest failure in dealing with this pandemic to date. We've lost two months of valuable time and many people will die because of it. And the worst of this disease is still ahead of us.

    1. This seems like an appropriate place on the web to decry the lack of data, given that initially I was drawn here to discuss data in baseball (and the Twins' reluctance to use it). I see two main roles for data, one is what you are describing in terms of explicitly identifying carriers of the virus or the antibodies, but the other role is just to monitor the severity of the outbreak, and arguably I think that is more important. Even if we use testing to recommend specific actions to specific individuals, I don't think that will scale up to everyone in society (even with better planning for test production), but a reasonably well-controlled random sample wouldn't need to be very large to have a better understanding of whether public policy decisions are having the desired impact.

      The fog of war is incredibly thick at the moment and the only statistics I'd consider somewhat reliable at the moment are hospital beds in use, hospital capacity, and deaths. And those are really trailing indicators rather than leading indicators, so as long as that's our best understanding of the problem, we will remain reactive at best.

      The situation reminds me a lot of the 3rd season of The Wire (I think it was the third one) where the mayor's office wants the police to make crime drop, without giving them more resources to fight crime, so the police just start fudging the numbers, but they can't fudge the murder count (or at least are generally less willing to do so), so that ultimately continues to reflect the lack of any real change in policy. I don't know to what degree testing has been scarce due to authorities in the government just wanting to juice the numbers, but intentional or not, the effect of limited testing is that we don't really understand the nature of the situation until the stage where it results in hospitalizations or deaths.

      1. a reasonably well-controlled random sample wouldn't need to be very large to have a better understanding of whether public policy decisions are having the desired impact.

        I had a similar thought recently. The problem, of course, is that we simply do not randomly sample from the population for these kinds of public health purposes. The growing, but still limited evidence that there are large numbers of asymptomatic but infected people out there makes the lack of large, random samples all the more concerning for public policy.

      2. There are data points beyond clinical test results that we could be leveraging that are much more predictive. In South Korea and Japan you get your temperature taken when you enter any public place and the results go into a huge central database. In Singapore they've deployed a smartphone app that does contact tracing. I read an article just yesterday that leveraged cell phone geo-mapping to measure self-isolation levels. These are the kinds of data collection that can compile leading indicators that are used with predictive analytics to model contagion spread. We have to stop thinking this is a two week or two month deal because we don't win this game until there's a vaccine. Until then the best we can do is slow the spread and death rate with containment strategies and tactics, and those are most effective when we have a lot of good data to work with.

  7. Just wanted to say hello to everyone over here and tell you I’m wishing us all well. These are some strange days we’re living in. May we make it out relatively unscathed.

  8. Strat-o-Matic is doing a simulation of the 2020 season. In their version of reality, the Twins lost to Oakland 5-3. Berrios had a bad game: 3.1 innings, 5 runs, 8 hits, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts. All five runs came in the second inning.

    The bullpen gave up only one hit in 4.2 innings. Matt Wisler was perfect for 1.2, Littell and Clippard each had a perfect inning, and May gave up the hit but was unscored upon.

    Cruz was 3-for-4 with a home run. Garver also homered, and Arraez went 3-for-4.

    I'm not sure how they put together their lineups, but they had Sano batting eighth. I will be very surprised if Rocco ever bats Sano eighth.

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