Wednesday, October 04, 2006

 

Memo to Twins: You Don't Get 12 Game Deficits To Make-Up In The Playoffs





The 3rd phase of Ragnarok appears to be an insurmountable objective. Little did we know yesterday that Loki is not in fact Frank Thomas, but offensivefutility. It has been a strange couple of days. Jason Bartlett forgot that you run the bases counter-clockwise. Luis Castillo failed to remember that grooved fastballs thrown down the middle of the plate are, in fact, strikes. And finally, Torii Hunter didn't notice that Jason Kendell, if not for Frank Thomas, the slowest player on the A's roster, probably doesn't even make 3rd on a single. The whole mess is quite the Rubik's Kubel.


Really, Hunter's face flop is a microcosm of how this series is playing out for the team at large. As is proscribed in Ragnarok, the final devastation entails a glorious and earth shaking slaughter of the Gods. What seems, however, to be occuring, is a feeble flutter of called third strikes and slow relays to first on potential double plays.


What's lost in this is great starting pitching. The Twins' starters are posting a 3.00 ERA thus far while the relievers, our supposed strength, are sitting at 7.20. With an epidemic of offensivefutility infecting the Twins' hitters, that will not cut it. It's like a guy with a vasectomy going to a sperm bank, it simply is not going to produce. So what's the point?


But as always, hope springs eternal (yeah, I know, lots of hope here so far). The Twins seem to prefer playing from a position of weakness devoid of any and all expectations. If we can somehow muster two wins in Oakland against Haren and Harden, we can look with anticipation to JoJo pitching game 5 at home. For that to happen, these scenarios must play out:

---Cuddyer needs to quit with the Troy Williamson impression and stop bobbling everything hit in the vicinity of Cuddyland.
---Puntober cannot continue being Punt0-fer. You know Nicky, you're not automatically called out if you take more than 3 pitches.
---Sinn Fein: I understand that great reward involves risk. That, coincidentally, does not excuse your disappearing act at the plate. Pull a Badiou and discover some fidelity to the Event (being RAGNAROK, of course.)
---EVERYONE: Not building rallies and depending on the long ball to catch up sounds a lot like something the White Flags would do. This isn't fielding practice for Marco Scuttaro, it's ok to hit some balls into the gap.
---Gardy: This is the playoffs, if your starters are cruising, there's no need to automatically yank them with 100 pitches thrown. At this point, I'll stick with Bonser and Herzegovina at 100 pitches over Joowan any time. Preserving their arms will really pay off when they're casting their bait on Lake Minnetonka next weekend. That was sarcasm, by the way, Ron.


And somebody, please somebody, knock that smug grin off of Nick Swisher's face. And is it too late for Liriano to mount another comeback? Just checking.

Comments:
I would like to extend my apologies to JoJo and Boofer for our lack of offense. We can't ask for much more from them. Damn bullpen. What happened to that beautiful tiny ERA?
 
I think the snuff in Swisher's lip contributed to the smug look but even during the second or third innings I did feel the urge to give him a roundhouse kick to the face.
 
Hey now, don't hate on Joowan. If memory serves, he's struck out every (or at the very least most) of the batters he's faced without surrendering a single run. Which makes him a much more attractive pitcher to insert into the ninth inning of a one-run game than JESSE FREAKING CRAIN. I'd seriously like to know why exactly Gardy thought it was a bang-up idea to put the worst reliever in our bullpen on the field for the end of Game 1.

Sorry, living in the past. In any event, I'm not sure that Ragnarok will come to pass, as I'm fairly certain that a Gypsy put a curse on the Twins franchise fifteen years ago that, at the stroke of October, turns them into a bunch of no-count-working, third-strike-watching, no-run-supporting assbats.

And is it possible to take away one of Torii's five gold gloves after that debacle in center today?
 
Horrible offense. In 2006, the Twins had 41 games in which they scored 2 or fewer runs. Won 5 of those. That percentage over a season means you win all of 20 games in a season! 2 runs a game gets you zilch. No pitching staff can survive with that kind of run support; just can't be done.
 
And while you're at it, someone should probably tell Nick Punto that he's not a HR hitter.
 
Hey now, don't hate on Joowan. If memory serves, he's struck out every (or at the very least most) of the batters he's faced without surrendering a single run.

That may have been true before the All Star game but since his ERA is 4.11 and has given up 39 hits in 30 innings. I'm not sure if I believe Crain is the worst reliever in the pen, that honor might go to Eyre-in go brach! and his over 5 ERA (mostly in garbage time, mind you).

I wish we could take away one of Torrid's gold gloves. Though, I imagine he himself would offer one if it could give us a win in these playoffs.

And while you're at it, someone should probably tell Nick Punto that he's not a HR hitter.

And that he's short. And that he's lucky Matt Moses can't hit above .240 at AA or his job would be in the balance.
 
Never give up. Never, ever give up. Especially when you're playing the A's.

Really, we only need to change two things: 1) Get rid of the ass bats, and 2) Stop making monumentally horrible decisions regarding whether to dive for a sinking line drive. If we make those changes, perhaps Ragnarok shall come to pass.
 
I guess I'll be the one to say I don't hate Hunter for that play and I don't want to take back a gold glove. He knows what he's doing and I'd have no other guy out there. Yes, I read the article all about the play on the Twins website and after doing so I trust Torii. He has those gold gloves for a reason. His one play didn't ruin everything.
Plus I think our lack of clutch hitting and going 0-14 (over the two games) with RISP contributed more to our loss(es).
 
Plus I think our lack of clutch hitting and going 0-14 (over the two games) with RISP contributed more to our loss(es).

Tough to disagree with that. Hunter's mistake only cost two runs whereas their cluelessness at the plate with RISP has been deadlier. Hunter, however, is partly to blame for that as well.
 
I can't agree more about kicking Nick Swisher in the face until he stops smiling like a big, dumb buffoon. Misdirected anger? Unfair? Yeah, probably. I still hope Punto pokes him in the eyes on one of his head-first dives into first base.
 
Great blog, you guys. Not sure why it was necessary to criticize the pitching changes -- maybe because it seems to be programmed into so many's people's minds to somehow blame Gardy for whatever happens -- but honestly, neither starting pitcher was truly "cruising" when they were pulled -- pretty obvious to me they were each starting to tire -- and let's face it, it's not the PITCHING that is losing this thing at this point.

Here's a tip: I've decided that Cuddyer prefers the nickname "Dimples," because when I stand in the dome and yell, "Go Dimples" he hits a triple or a home run or something. So please use the name "Dimples" from here on out, everybody.
 
Teddy, I think you might be right, criticizing Gardy seemed like the right thing to do in the immediate aftermath of the debacle yesterday. I can see why in Game 1 pulling Santana is a good move, especially considering he'll probably start Game 4 if we get that far.

Gardy, who I consider the Manager of the Year, should be criticized somewhat if only because he's lost his last 7 playoff games at home. That's right: 7. Playoff. Games. One could speculate that he's not rallying the troops--consider how lackluster and enervated they've seemed the last two games.

Then again, hindsight is always 20/20. If I were managing I probably would've started Santana twice and relieved him with Liriano. But then again, I'm also the sort of person who eats a whole bag of double-stuffed oreos in one sitting--without milk. Now that's real lunacy.
 
That may have been true before the All Star game but since his ERA is 4.11 and has given up 39 hits in 30 innings. I'm not sure if I believe Crain is the worst reliever in the pen, that honor might go to Eyre-in go brach! and his over 5 ERA (mostly in garbage time, mind you).

I'm not saying that Joowan hasn't been mediocre as all hell since the All Star Break. I'm saying that when he came into Game 2 for the purposes of keeping us within 2 runs, he struck out the A's 4-5-6 hitters (and not giving up at least 2 bases to the Big Hurt is something that no one else on our pitching staff has figured out). So I don't think there's much reason to hate on Gardy for putting him in when he was one of two guys in the game who did his job fantastically well (Boof is the other).

And as for Eyre being the worst in our bullpen, if we only ever put the guy in when every other person on the relief staff's arm is about to fall off from fatigue, can he really be considered part of our bullpen? This is a philosophical conundrum, to be sure.
 
For some reason I seem to have blocked out the fact that Rincon gave up a run in the ninth after his lights-out performance in the eighth. Nevertheless, the guy struck out the side in one inning, which means that he did better than Sampler Platter or Crain.
 
Robert is also the kind of guy who would eat a whole packet of peanut butter cookies (the dry ones, not the chocolate ones) in under three minutes. Just sayin'.
 
Katherine Kersten has this all figured out. The Oakland players kick their dogs, cheat on their wives, and don't pay attention to their kids. Huston Street will surely spend his playoff bonus money on hookers and whiskey. Twins players, on the other hand, are the very picture of family-centered humility. I think I even saw Joe Nathan wearing a cardigan and smoking a pipe.

Hey, Katherine -- stick to political commentary and please don't try to make Saints of the Twins.

Jim H.
 
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