Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I'm sorry, but it's time. Lost in the Twins miracle season thus far has been the idiocy of Gardenhire. Looked past due to a much better than expected season, it's breaking out in full force lately.
Last night, with the Twins leading 2-1 and runners on first and third and nobody out with Nathan pitching, he had the middle infielders play back at double play depth. With a one run lead. And a runner on third. The tying run. Like, if that guy on third scores you don't win the game. I can't find a quote from Gardy on what he was thinking having them play back, apparently he's reached such status that you can't ask those questions, but it is one of two things:
1. He forgot what was going on
2. He was concerned about letting the guy on first get into scoring position.
I'm guessing it was #2, although #1 is certainly possible. Here's the thing - if you can stop them from tying the game, you don't have to worry about them winning. With the Twins bullpen in the state that it is, an extra-inning game is almost certainly going to go the Mariners way, particularly with the two good relievers, Guardado (more on him later) and Nathan already used up. Not to mention the old maxim "Play for the win on the road, the tie at home."
This was a seriously inexcusable mistake in judgement that I would have expected most D-League softball teams to get right.
Need more? How about yanking Kevin Slowey after just 91 pitches on Sunday? He was cruising along into the 8th, and gave up a couple of hits with one out. In trots Dennys Reyes to face Figgins, giving up a groundout and a run. More damaging was the fact that this turned the game over to the bullpen, and sure enough, Jesse Crain came in and blew the game after getting knocked around in the 8th - an inning Slowey very likely could have still pitched. But wait, wasn't it genius to make Figgins turn around and hit righty? No. He's a virtually identical hitter from either side (OPS of .709 vs. .692). The next batter was another switch hitter, Erick Aybar, who is actually better against lefties. Just another small game management mistake to add to the pile. Not as horrible as the previous one, but then again, what could be?
And who can forget the staggering amount of times he gets kicked out of games, usually in embarrassing fashion. Remember the hat kick thing? I've never been so embarrassed to be a Twins fan.
So let's cut him loose already. He has little-to-nothing to do with the team's success this year, which is based mostly on timely hitting (a .313 BA with RISP is extremely fortunate) and the development of the young pitchers, which has a whole hell of a lot more to do with Rick Anderson and the minor league coaches than that idiot.
I'm now too riled up to actually write about Eddie, so I'll just say it's a good move to at least try but don't expect miracles all of a sudden. For more, just read Aaron Gleeman's take. I can't even think about the Twins right now. God I hate that idiot redneck.