No Right Answers

25 Aug

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The Twins entered the ninth inning down by a score of 4-3. Neftali Feliz, a rookie and yet one of baseball’s best and hardest throwing pitchers, came in to protect the lead. Delmon Young lined out to the warning track in right field. Danny Valencia was robbed of extra bases when Julio Borbon ran down a ball on the warning track in dead center. Ron Gardenhire sent Jim Thome to bat for Alexi Casilla, and Feliz hit Thome in the leg on the first pitch. Jason Repko pinch ran for Thome, and Matt Tolbert stepped to the plate to bat for Drew Butera. Tolbert struck out to end the game. The Twins lost 4-3.

But those final decisions certainly created plenty of discussion.

Point #1 – Since JJ Hardy was not used as a pinch hitter, it is clear that he is more hurt than we thought, that it was more than just a day off for the Twins regular shortstop. That is not a good thing, especially in this case when the bench is so diminished.  

Point #2 – Once Thome was on base, should Tolbert have been used as a pinch-runner, with Repko been used as a pinch hitter? Feliz had given up some rockets to right-handed batters to start the inning. Right-handers have hit Feliz a little better over the course of the season than left-handers. Since Tolbert struck out, it’s easy to say Repko could have done better than that. Unlikely since Repko traditionally strikes out much more frequently than Tolbert does. The reality, Jason Repko isn’t a good hitter, and Matt Tolbert is probably a little worse. Neither matchup was ideal.

Point #3 – Maybe Drew Butera should have just batted for himself. First, if he had extended the game, the Twins would not have lost the DH. Since Tolbert and Repko are only slightly better offensive options than Butera, it had to at least be considered.

Point #4 – I haven’t heard many people talk about this, but maybe the Twins should have just let Alexi Casilla bat so that Thome could have batted for Butera with a runner on base. The obvious reason that this is not a good answer is because if (or more likely, when) Casilla got out, then a hitter of the caliber of Jim Thome would not have even had the opportunity to tie the game. However, from the Rangers’ perspective, with Thome pinch hitting and Butera coming up (with Repko/Tolbert as pinch hitting options), why even pitch to Thome? Of course you walk him, or in this case, why not just hit him on the first pitch and take your chances with the Twins triple can’t hit options.

None of those discussion options is a good option. Simply put, there was not a good answer for Ron Gardenhire in that situation. The Rangers have shown through two games why they are dominating the American League West. On Monday, the Twins got to see Rich Harden healthy, and how good he can be when healthy. On Tuesday, we got a better idea of just why the Twins went hard after Colby Lewis this offseason before he signed with the Rangers. Things do not get any easier in the next two games against the Rangers. CJ Wilson gets the nod tonight and Cliff Lee starts on Thursday. After the Twins swept the Rangers earlier in the season at Target Field, it will be tough for the Twins to win a game in Arlington.  


As previously mentioned, the Twins Geek, Sooze and I will be at Howie’s Sports Bar in St. Cloud for the TwinsCentric Viewing Party. The Twins play the Mariners at 3:00, so we’ll be there by 2:30 and throughout the game. There will be drink and appetizer specials, and prizes to be given away. Hopefully by having an event like this in the outstate will allow more people the opportunity to be there and meet many more Twins fans.

Following the TwinsCentric Viewing Party, I am going to stay in St. Cloud and head over the Joe Faber Field. The St. Cloud River Bats of the Northwoods League (a college wood bat league) are hosting the Minnesota Twins alumni game at 7:05. Several former Twins players, including Corey Koskie, Jim Eisenrich, Juan Berenguer, Al Newman and several others will be playing in a game. There will be a lot going on throughout the night. Following the game, the player’s jerseys will be signed and auctioned off. Proceeds from the evening will be going to the Miracle League of Central Minnesota. Check out the River Bats website for much more information.

Hopefully I can meet several of you at both of these events in St. Cloud on Saturday!

Here is a quick glance at what happened on Tuesday in the Twins minor league system. For a ton of information on who is hot, who is not, which teams still could play in the playoffs and much more, please listen to last night’s Twins Minor League Weekly podcast.

Red Wings Report   

Rochester 4, Scranton/Wilkes Barre 5Kyle Gibson made his third AAA start for the Red Wings. In five innings, he gave up two unearned runs on two hits and two walks. He struck out five. However, of the 81 pitches he threw, just 49 were strikes. Kyle Waldrop gave up one run on three hits in 1.2 innings. Rob Delaney gave up two runs on three hits in 1.1 innings to take the loss. Dustin Martin went 3-5 with his 23rd double. Brendan Harris went 3-5. Brian Dinkelman went 2-5 with his 29th double.

New Britain Notes

Game 1 – New Britain 1, Binghampton 8Chris Province gave up eight earned runs on 11 hits and two walks in 3.1 innings. He struck out three. Blake Martin threw two scoreless innings, allowing two hits and walking two. Mike McCardell got the final two outs. The Rockcats managed just five hits.

Game 2 – New Britain 0, Binghampton 7Deolis Guerra started and gave up five runs (3 earned) on four hits and two walks in 3.2 innings. Santos Arias then gave up two runs on four hits in 1.1 innings. Billy Bullock struck out two in a scoreless inning. The Rockcat bats managed just three hits in this game.

Miracle Matters

Ft. Myers 5, Palm Beach 1 – Bruce Pugh won for the sixth time this season. He gave up one run on three hits and three walks in six innings. He struck out four. Jhon Garcia threw three shutout innings to record the save. Deibinson Romero Yangervis Solarte was 2-3. was 2-4. Nate Hanson went 2-5. Drew Thompson went 1-2 with two walks. Allan de San Miguel hit his fourth homer, and Brian Dozier hit his third homer. 

Snappers Snippets

Beloit 8, Burlington 11 – After such a rough start to his season, James Beresford went over the .300 mark on the season when he went 3-5 in this game. Steve Liddle went 2-4 with a walk and his 16th double. Josmil Pinto went 1-2 with two walks and his 17th double. Pedro Guerra got the start and gave up four runs (3 earned) on five hits and four walks in five innings. He struck out three. Nelvin Fuentes then gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in two innings. Sam Spangler came in and walked the two batters he faced. Miguel Munoz came in gave up both of those inherited runs and three more runs in the eighth inning.  

E-Twins Talkers

Elizabethton 4, Bluefield 5 – Through four innings, Blayne Weller was throwing a shutout. Then he gave up five runs and got just two outs in the 5th inning. At that point, the game was delayed by rain. Michael Tonkin came in when the game resumed and threw 3.1 shutout innings. He gave up just two hits, walked one and hit another batter while striking out three. Brandon Henderson went 2-4 with his fifth double. Andy Leer was 2-3. Danny Ortiz and Nick Lockwood were 2-4.

GCL Twins Topics

GCL Twins 3, GCL Rays 4Ricardo Arevalo fell to 0-7. He gave up four runs (3 earned) on eight hits. In 4.1 innings, he gave up four walks, hit a batter and struck out two. Derek Christenson got the final two outs before the game was called on account of rain. Rory Rhodes went 2-3 with his fifth double and second stolen base. Eddie Rosario went 2-3.

Any thoughts on the Twins or the minor league system? Feel free to leave your questions and comments here. 


14 Responses to “No Right Answers”

  1. USAFChief August 25, 2010 at 3:32 am #

    Another option would have been to have Thome get 4 ABs in the game, and Drew Butera none. With 2 lefthanders coming up in the next two games, why not let Butera get his “swings” against one of those, and let Thome get his ABs against a right handed starter?

    • gobbledy August 25, 2010 at 8:49 am #

      agree with the use butera against a lefty chief, common sense. the last two pavano starts were poor, before this so-so start, where was the butera magic those games? tolbert was no match for a good closer and should not pinch hit in that situation. smith needs to look at the waiver wire and beef up this bench. hate to say this but i’d rather see harris hit than tolbert.
      twins way, doing the little things right? myth #1!

  2. Kunza August 25, 2010 at 7:04 am #

    Gardenhire for manager of the year.

    Cuddyer should be batting 8th. He’s terrible.

    Span should be batting 9th.

    Butera should be the designated towel boy getting Gatorade for his teammates.

    New lineup….

    1. Hudson
    2. Hardy/Casilla
    3. Mauer
    4. Kubel
    5. Young
    6. Thome
    7. Valencia
    8. Cuddyer
    9. Span

  3. Joel August 25, 2010 at 8:07 am #

    What is with the defense lately though? They always manage to have one or two boneheaded plays to extend the inning for the other team. Hudson should have made the throw to first to end the inning and Kubel/Span should have caught the ball in right-center, but let the ball fall between them. These plays aren’t because they were extremely difficult, but just a simple lapse in focus and fundamentals. Also, the clutch hitting in this series has been horrible.

    All in all, I have confidence in the Twins abilities get things figured out.

  4. mike wants wins August 25, 2010 at 8:57 am #

    1. They face two lefties the next two days. Thome should have DH’d this game. No brainer.

    2. PH for Span in the 7th is a no brainer. Span isn’t going to hit a tough leftie on the road, not the way he’s playing this year.

    3. Also, PHing for Butera in the 7th is an option (and losing the DH). It is better to score and have no DH, than to not score.

    4. Tolbert is a minor leaguer, and should not be on the roster. Hitting him is sad. He should not be PHing for anyone. Repko isn’t great either, but he’s better than Tolbert. There are lots of options better than using Tolbert as a Pher. That should never be an option. Ever.

    5. How about not having two utility players, and having Morales up here as a 3rd catcher and PHer?

    6. How well are the Twins doing the little things lately, like playing defense? Brutal.

  5. Common Cents August 25, 2010 at 10:47 am #

    Maybe there wasn’t a “good” option out there, but there were 2 absolutely terrible ones: letting Butera hit, or PHing Tolbert. Absolutely terrible. Someone needs to explain to me why Gardenhose went with Tolbert, because I’ve gone through every scenario in my head and simply cannot grasp it:

    -Righties hit Feliz better than lefties (Delmon & Danny made solid contact)
    -Repko hits better one-handed than Tolbert does with 2
    -Tolbert is a terrible hitter in general
    -Gardy puts Repko for Thome via Casilla, so his positions are already screwed up
    -Gardy obviously wasn’t concerned about losing the DH

    So someone, please, tell me why.

  6. jjswol August 25, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    The fact of the matter is that it should have not come down to the Twins pinch hitting in the ninth. The Twins poor play in the field and their inability to score when they had runners on base is why they lost the game.

    I am starting to wonder if Span is the answer to the CF position, if Denard wants to keep his job, he had better start hitting better on the road because his outfield play will not keep him employed as the Twins center-fielder for long.

  7. DH in Philly August 25, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    Seth –

    After all your years in this business you should have learned by now that there are a few simple, unalterable truths.

    1. Ron Gardenhire is always wrong. No argument can change your readers’ minds because that is the way they do it in their beer league softball games.

    2. No game is more important than any other, EXCEPT for the game currently being discussed, which is always the most important game of the season to win. Therefore, any decision that does not revolve around winning this game, at all costs, is wrong!

    3. The sky is falling. Always!

    The sooner you figure this out, the more blissful your readers can remain.

  8. Common Cents August 25, 2010 at 12:29 pm #


    1. You’re wrong. Gardy’s playoff record has earned him the benefit of the doubt. He cannot be questioned. (See, I can be a total sarcastic douche too, just like you!)
    2. You must not be a Twins fan. Do you recall the last 2 seasons, when the season came down to Game 163? Also, you realize the Twins starting the playoffs at home (where they are good) vs. on the road (not good) depends on their record vs. Texas’, right? Every game matters. And why would we discuss a game back in April? Of course we’re going to talk about the last game. Not only are you a sarcastic douche, you’re a complete idiot.
    3. See #2. Do you think the Twins played well last night? Monday? Who said the sky is falling? Another idiotic point.

    You, sir, are a GIANT sarcastic douche idiot.

  9. Charles August 25, 2010 at 12:37 pm #

    DH in Philly, i dont get it, are you scolding Seth for making his daily post about last night’s game and analysing a decision at a key point in the game? hmmm hate to break it to you but that’s what a twins blog is going to do. so he should say the twins lost but boy they played great out there!! um no. so yeah way to be condesending to the guy whose blog you are currently reading.

  10. gobbledy August 25, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    seth how far is joe benson away? looks like he has good power how is his defense?

    • TT August 28, 2010 at 9:52 pm #

      Benson’s defense is fine. Its his bat that is questionable. He is now hitting .202 after the allstar break, down from .256 at AA before it. In the second half, his already high strikeouts increased and his walks decreased. It appears the league has improved more this year than he has. That is not a good sign.

  11. mini_tb August 26, 2010 at 8:56 am #

    There is a rather “sky is falling” tone to many of the comments.

  12. s misgen August 28, 2010 at 7:30 am #

    Point #4: I didn’t understand why Alexi Casilla was replaced by a pinch hitter. He’s a solid all-around player (hits, runs, fields, small strike zone) who may have been needed later in the game. Plus, it’s so exciting when he hits a home run.

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