Thursday, August 13, 2009

Who Are These Impostors?

Why is it that as soon as I think that I've got the Twins starting pitchers figured out, they go and do the exact opposite?

Tuesday: Twins 6 - Royals 14
Wednesday: Twins 7 - Royals 1
Thursday: Twins 4 - Royals 5

On Tuesday, I sat down to watch the game and figured "oh, it's Nick Blackburn -- this should be a good game." Um, nope. He couldn't get out of the second inning. That's so not like him. Must've been an impostor.

On Wednesday, I sat down to watch the game and figured "ugh, it's Francisco Liriano -- there goes another game." Again, nope. He was brilliant. In fact, he was the ghost of his 2006 self. That's so not like him this season. Must've been an impostor.

Then today, I put on my headphones to listen to the game (I was at work), and figured...well, I didn't know what to think. I've only seen Carl Pavano pitch three times -- twice against the Twins, and then his first start with the Twins. He was very good all those times. So, I guess I figured "ok, it's the Royals, we've got a good chance to take this series." I don't know him well enough to know if this was live or Memorex.


There was a point in today's game that I want to sound-off about. Well, actually, I want to reply to every one who has already sounded-off about it.

In the bottom of the 6th, both Joe Crede and Mike Redmond walked. Then Nick Punto came to the plate with two on and nobody out. Unfortunately, he failed to complete the sacrifice he was expected to make and was out bunting the third strike. And boy, a lot of people are upset over that. In fact, plenty of folks blame the loss on that at-bat.

Ok, I agree that it was a horrible, awful, downright ugly at-bat. At this point in his career, he should be more than capable of executing a routine sac bunt. He really should work on that. But as nasty as it was, it turned out that it wasn't costly.

If he had executed, there would've been runners at second and third with one out. As it was, it was runners at first and second with one out. Then Denard Span took a base on balls. Assuming that D-Span would've walked regardless of where the baserunners were, Orlando Cabrera comes to the plate with the bases loaded and one out either way. It was his GIDP that was was costly.

Not that all the other guys who left runners in scoring position, and the pitcher who gave up 5 runs, weren't also responsible.


There were some positives from this series, though. I'm glad that the offense has taken my "4 or more runs" directive to heart, Joey is back in his rightful place atop the batting leader board, and Orlando Cabrera is sporting a very groovy 22-game hitting streak. Oh, and how about Cuddy's arm? Throwing out baserunners at third base from right field is very, very hot.


luckie/sarah said...

It's easy to say that LNP's failed sac bunt (which he also failed to get down on the Sunday nationally televised game) didn't really affect the game because Span walked, but let's say LNP gets it down--who's to say that there's not an error on the throw to 1B, thereby letting a run score? Or, he advances the runners, and Denard gets a base-clearing double? Since we know those didn't happen, we can say, "well, it wasn't that big of a deal," but little things like sac bunts have a funny way of leading to much bigger things.

(I'm used to the "get some on base, dangit, he hit into another FGIDP"...I watch the Astros. We have Tejada, the king of FGIDP...)

k-bro said...

Thanks luckie/sarah,

Oh I absolutely agree that he needed to execute, and there's no excuse for failing. And yes, it was a big deal.

I guess I was annoyed with everyone who says that that moment was the single cause of the loss. I don't buy that. The loss belongs to everyone who didn't execute like he should have (including Nicky).

I used to really love LNP, back in his piranha days. I want him to be that way again.

Michael Fishman said...

It's difficult for me to blame a loss onto just one player other than maybe a starting pitcher who gives up a ton of earned runs in the 1st inning, so I won't blame Punto for the loss, but it bugs me that the guy can't lay down a successful sacrifice bunt. It's the one thing he can do despite his .204 BA to contribute to the team's offense and he can't do it.

And this makes me think of another one of my pet peeves which is Nick Punto as switch hitter. Shouldn't a hitter be moderately successful from one side of the plate before he becomes a switch hitter? If there's no measure, or standard of success then why not simply have everyone who can swing the bat the other way be a switch hitter?