2011 Game 102: Wasted Opportunities

"Like a tire fire in your mouth." - photo by Flickr user DR000

I suppose I could do the usual thing and tell you which batters and pitchers had the highest and lowest WPA for the game, but seriously, why should I bother? Last night was beyond laughably bad for several reasons. Joe Mauer inexplicably played the entire game despite not exactly being a McGriff-like model of durability. That seems to be to be a case of serious managerial malpractice. Did the reporters present at the postgame ask a single question about this decision? Not as far as I can tell from the articles available as I write this (0100 Tuesday). I could grouch about Mauer playing or mediocre journalism more, but I'm guessing the number of eyes that care to revisit last night by reading this are already going to be pretty low.

Moving along, the storyline for last night (apart from being blown out of the water) is Cuddyer's turn as a pitcher. According to the AP, this was the first time a position player took the hill for the Twins since John Moses pitched an inning in relief. That was 31 July 1990, in a 13-2 loss to the California Angels. Moses actually pitched twice in 1990, each time in a loss charged to Allan Anderson, throwing an inning in each appearance. The other was in a 13-1 loss to the Red Sox on 19 May, when the Sawk hung 5 runs on Anderson before he was given the hook after 0.2 IP.  In all, five position players have now pitched for the Twins: Julio Becquer (10 Sept 1961), César Tovar (more on him in a minute), Dan Gladden (27 June 1988 and 7 May 1989, both Fred Toliver losses), John Moses, and now Cuddyer.

Anyway, Cuddy's now played every position on the diamond except shortstop and catcher. The question is, why didn't he play all nine last night? If you believe (or have resigned yourself to the fact that) the Twins will not trade Cuddyer at the deadline because they're overly fond of him, then there was absolutely no reason for him to not become the second Twin to have played all nine positions in a game. I suppose one could make the argument that doing so would simply remind Twins fans of this game when it comes up in bar trivia 30 years from now, but quite honestly, that's not good enough. In a game where history has significant weight, Ron Gardenhire and the coaching staff squandered a golden opportunity for Cuddyer to join (in order) Bert Campaneris, César Tovar, Scott Shelton, and Shane Halter as the only players in baseball history to perform that feat. I don't think there's any shame in that. I would have kept watching, no matter how bad the score got, simply to see Cuddyer pull it off.

A few words about pulling it off, then. If you don't already know, Campaneris was the first player to pull it off, back in 1965. Tovar became the second three years later, on 22 September 1968. When he took the mound in the first inning of that game, do you know who stepped in to face Tovar? That's right - Bert Campaneris. (Campy fouled out to Ron Clark at third base.) Tovar recorded one strikeout - the always-prolific Reggie Jackson.  In the second Tovar was behind the plate, and you can guess what his box score reads from there: P-C-1B-2B-SS-3B-LF-CF-RF. Tom Hall, who came on to pitch the second, got the win. Rod Carew played short for an inning. Graig Nettles manned center field for four innings. If Graig Nettles could play center for four innings, there's no reason the Twins couldn't have let Cuddyer play short, catcher, and everywhere else last night. It would have given Twins fans an opportunity to fondly remember César Tovar, a player who deserves more remembrance than he gets, and would allow Cuddy to check off an item or two more on his bucket list. With a game as bad as last night's was, and it was far, far worse than hitting Malört out of the bottle like a cowboy, the club has to give something back to the fans who stick around until the bitter end, something to deaden that throw-up-in-the-mouth taste. Cuddy playing all nine would have done it. Instead we got nine innings of suck and needless risk to the franchise player (yeah, I'm not over that).


Here's this week's View from the Ballpark:

photo by The WGOM's very own Rhubarb_Runner

Remember, no embiggening.

Minor Details: Games of 7/25

Indianapolis 7, Rochester 6 in Indianapolis (12 innings).  The Red Wings led 3-0 after four, fell behind 5-3 after seven, scored in the eighth and ninth to tie, scored in the twelfth to get ahead, only to see the Indians score two in the bottom of the twelfth to steal the victory.  Aaron Bates singled and homered, raising his average to .317.  Matt Tolbert and Rene Rivera each singled and doubled, with Rivera driving in three.  Chase Lambin had two hits.  Kevin Slowey allowed three runs on ten hits in six innings, walking none.  Cole DeVries threw two shutout innings, giving up just a walk.  Jim Hoey took the loss in his third inning of work.

New Britain 6, New Hampshire 5 in New Britain (13 innings).  The Fisher Cats took a 5-3 lead in the top of the thirteenth, only to see the Rock Cats score three in the bottom of the inning to win.  Mark Dolenc had two singles, a double, and a triple.  Brian Dozier, Chris Parmelee, and Yangervis Solarte each singled and doubled, with Solarte raising his average to .329.  Mike Hollimon had two hits.  Starter Blake Martin struck out eight in four innings, but allowed two runs on three hits and five walks.  Spencer Steedley struck out three in two shutout innings, giving up just a walk, and Tyler Robertson struck out four in three innings, giving up three hits and a walk.  Brett Jacobson got the win despite giving up the two thirteenth-inning runs in his second inning of work.

Tampa 6, Ft. Myers 1 in Ft. Myers.  The Yankees scored five in the second to take control.  Danny Rohlfing had two doubles.  Nick Romero had two hits.  Logan Darnell had a rare bad game, surrendering six runs on nine hits and three walks in 3.1 innings.  Ricky Bowen struck out six in 3.2 innings of scoreless relief, giving up two hits and a walk.

Lansing 7, Beloit 6 in Lansing.  The Snappers scored four in the ninth to make it close and had the bases loaded with one out, but a double play ended the game.  Lance Ray had two singles and a double.  Daniel Santana singled and doubled.  Adrian Salcedo gave up three runs on six hits and a walk in five innings.

Burlington 6, Elizabethton 5 in Burlington.  The Twins fell behind 5-1 after two, tied the score after five, but lost in the bottom of the ninth.  JaDamion Williams had two singles and a double, driving in three and raising his average to .375.  Eddie Rosario singled and homered, raising his average to .308.  Niko Goodrum singled and tripled.  Miguel Sano had two hits.  David Hurlbut surrendered five runs on nine hits and a walk in just 3.1 innings. Cole Johnson worked two shutout innings, giving up a hit and three walks.  Steven Gruver also threw two shutout innings, striking out four while allowing just a walk.  Matthew Summers pitched the ninth and took the loss, giving up a run on four hits.

GCL Orioles 9, Twins 5 at Orioles.  The Orioles scored four in the sixth to put the game away.  Candido Pimentel and Romy Trinidad each had two hits.  Angel Morales hit a three-run homer.  David Bromberg started and pitched two innings, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk.  Ricardo Arevalo took the loss, surrendering five runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks while striking out four in three innings.

DSL Diamondbacks 11, Twins 1 at Diamondbacks.  The Diamondbacks scored six in the first.  Erick Gonzalez had three hits, raising his average to .310.  Starter Yorman Landa did not give up a hit, but did not retire anyone, either:  he faced six batters, walking four and hitting two, and was charged with all six first-inning runs.  Melcaides De La Cruz pitched three shutout innings of relief, striking out five while giving up two hits.

Happy Birthday–July 26

Sam Breadon (1876)
Sad Sam Jones (1892)
Brick Eldred (1892)
Larry Woodall (1894)
Paul Gallico (1897)
Freddie Fitzsimmons (1901)
Alex Radcliffe (1905)
Sam Leslie (1905)
Ellis Kinder (1914)
Jimmy Bloodworth (1917)
Sibby Sisti (1920)
Hoyt Wilhelm (1922)
Norm Siebern (1933)
Pete Ward (1937)
Ken Kaiser (1945)
Jody Reed (1962)
Greg Colbrunn (1969)
Alex Burnett (1987)

Continue reading Happy Birthday–July 26

Jake Shimabukuro – While My Guitar Gently Weeps

you know that old ukulele you have in the closet? the one that's collecting dust and never seems to stay in tune no matter what you do with it? yeah, you might as well go ahead and throw it away.


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Game 102: Twins at Rangers

Nick Blackburn vs. Derek Holland

The dreaded West Coast road trip. Unfortunately, this doesn't include a trip to Seattle, where the Mariners are in freefall mode. However, the Twins at least are 7-5 against the three teams they face on this trip, including 3-1 against the Rangers. Normally, I would be fine with a .500 trip, but the Twins need to reach higher. A split in Texas and winning series in Oakland and Anaheim would make for a good trip.

Revere getting the day off today vs. lefty. So, we get ... Jason Repko leading off! [Head slap]. Someone needs to take those lineup cards with the order of positions prefilled away from Gardy.

1. Jason Repko CF
2. Alexi, Casilla 2B
3. Joe Mauer C
4. Michael Cuddyer
5. Jason Kubel DH
6. Danny Valencia 3B
7. Delmon Young LF
8. Trevor Plouffe RF
9. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS

Oh well. Hopefully, the Twins will find their offense. But, more importantly, they need to get back to the great starting pitching that carried them out of last place. The key in Texas is keeping the ball on the ground, especially for Blackburn. Look for that early on. GO TWINS!!

Minor Details: Games of 7/24

Indianapolis 3, Rochester 0 in Indianapolis.  The Indians scored in the fourth, seventh, and eighth.  The Red Wings had only three hits.  Denard Span was 0-for-4, dropping his average to .150 (3-for-20).  Scott Diamond gave up two runs on seven hits and two walks in 6.1 innings.

New Britain 7, Altoona 2 in Altoona.  The Rock Cats broke a 2-2 tie with a run in the seventh and put it away with four in the eighth.  Yangervis Solarte was 3-for-3 with a home run and a walk, driving in three and raising his average to .328.  Chris Parmelee singled, doubled, and tripled.  Chris Herrmann singled and tripled.  Steve Hirschfeld got the win, giving up two runs on eight hits and a walk in six innings.  Dakota Watts worked the final three innings, allowing just one hit in getting the save.

Clearwater 6, Ft. Myers 1 in Clearwater.  The Threshers broke a 1-1 tie with a run in the fifth and then scored four in the seventh.  Danny Rams had two singles and a double.  James Beresford had two hits.  Tom Stuifbergen allowed five runs on twelve hits in 6.2 innings, walking none and striking out five.

Lansing 6, Beloit 4 in Lansing.  The Lugnuts scored three in the first and never trailed.  Jairo Perez drove in three runs, but dropped his average to .357.  B. J. Hermsen allowed five runs, all unearned, on six hits and a walk in five innings.

Burlington 4, Elizabethton 3 in Burlington.  The Twins scored three in the sixth to take a 3-1 lead, but the Royals scored two in the sixth to tie and one in the ninth to win.  JaDamion Williams had two singles and a double, raising his average to .340.  Eddie Rosario had two hits.  Starter Matthew Bashore struck out five in three innings, giving up a run on two hits and no walks.  Derek Christensen worked 2.2 scoreless innings, giving up one hits and two walks.  Steven Evans started the ninth and took the loss.

GCL Twins.  No game scheduled.

DSL All-star Game.  AL 5, NL 3.  Erick Gonzalez was 1-for-2 with a double.  Francisco Nunez pitched the fourth and got the win, striking out the side.  The NL All-stars made five errors.

Remodeled basement. Same half-baked taste.