June 3, 2010

Cuddyer away, Casilla out, and Valencia up

Since these West Coast games really screw up my blogging routine, I'll keep it brief ...

Michael Cuddyer has been put on bereavement leave after the death of his father-in-law. He's expected to miss four days.

Alexi Casilla is scheduled to undergo arthroscopic elbow surgery that will sideline him for at least a month and perhaps the rest of the first half, with Matt Tolbert returning from Triple-A to replace him on the bench.

Danny Valencia has been called up from Triple-A, which definitely comes as a surprise to me. He recovered from a slow start to raise his batting average to .298, but it's an empty .298 with zero homers and a 34-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 47 games. He's at .298/.350/.391 overall this season and .291/.324/.424 in 118 career games at Triple-A, which isn't very impressive for a 25-year-old with a so-so glove. I'd love to see Valencia step up and emerge as the long-term answer at third base, but I'm skeptical. It'll be interesting to see how long he sticks around.

• Oh, and the call against the Twins amazingly wasn't even the worst game-ending blown call of the night. Not by a long shot.

  • Nathan

    My replay solution:

    One challenge per manager through the 8th inning. 9th inning and beyond come from the booth. Replay can only be used for home runs, fair/foul and safe/out calls.

  • Jose Crow

    I’m pretty sure the wrong call that may have cost a team the game is a lot bigger deal than one that only wiped away a personal accomplishment. And even though this bad call has the potential of significantly altering the course of the season, I’m sure the Twins won’t get anywhere near the apology (or even an admittance of guilt).

  • Chris M

    baseball needs to have a computer call balls and strikes and they need replay.

  • ben

    For replay, I’d have the crew chief have an earpiece and someone in the booth able to communicate with him. Any time the umps get together to discuss a call, the crew chief can get input from the guy who has access to replay.

  • Twins Fan in Milwaukee

    No computer for ball/strikes. How the ump calls strikes/balls has always been a bit subjective and part of the strategy and charm of the game. Catchers and hitters work the ump to gain that quarter inch here or there throughout the game. It’s part of the richness of the game.

    Foul balls, home runs and outs are objective parts of the game — they happened or they did not — and some sort of limited review should be available. If in place, perhaps Joe Mauer gets his double instead of a foul ball in last year’s ALCS.

  • mike wants wins

    Valencia? Only three OFers on the roster? That’s crazy roster construction. That would be like signing two utility infielders to multi year, multi million dollar contracts, and then adding a third utility player to your roster……

  • C.B.

    Jose, I totally disagree–at least for the foreseeable future. If the Twins end up missing the playoffs because of a one-game margin, then perhaps I’ll see the merits of that argument..but I probably still won’t agree with it.

    Really, there are 162 games a year across 30 teams, for a total of 2,430 games (two teams per game)? And there have been 20 perfect games in the history of professional baseball? I don’t think it’s even a close comparison in terms of importance (or being a “bigger deal”)…and I don’t even see the personal vs. team accomplishment distinction being relevant.

  • mike wants wins

    A perfect game has no intrinsic importance to the outcome of the season. It’s an interesting, historical piece of entertainment, but it’s not more important to the “game” than who wins and loses a game, it’s probably less important.

    As for technology, and getting calls more right than they are today, I don’t understand the call for the importance of the human element of the umpire/referee in any sport. The concept of sport is a fair (which is what I don’t like about the NBA, or pitchers/hitters that get more calls because they’ve “earned” them) contest between teams/individuals to see who is best, at that moment in time. Easily correctable mistakes, when we have the technology to do so, are not intrinsically better than getting the calls more right. Getting the calls more right is objectively better.

    That said, there may be entertainment reasons to not do replay (slows the game, ruins the pace). Or, there may be problems with how to best implement technology. But, that does not make technology bad/evil/wrong, it just means we imperfect humans have not yet best figured out how to use it.

    It is invetable that technology will see increased use in all of sports. The sooner we get calls more correct, the better for the validity of the contest.

  • Rieux

    “Oh, and the call against the Twins amazingly wasn’t even the worst game-ending blown call of the night.”

    Er, yes, it was. The other call in question was not a “game-ending call.” That play should have ended the game, but (because the call was blown) it didn’t.

    The Twins-Mariners’ call was the opposite.

  • ?

    I vote for computers for balls and strikes and replay. The strike zone is defined in MLB’s rules, no reason we shouldn’t have a consistent strike zone for each batter. It is ridiculous to me that baseball approves of a system where the strike zone depends on the star quality of the pitcher and/or batter.

  • Matt in SD

    I think that what Aaron was referring to when he stated “worse” is that the Joyce blown call was by a couple feet while the Scott (right?) Blown call was by a couple inches…. Either way, its a big bummer. And I like Nathan’s idea.

  • James M.

    Supposedly MLB is “reviewing” the Jim Joyce call. I think Bud Selig is under pressure to overturn it. I don’t know what he will do. I hope he does, but only if he overturns the call against the Twins as well. And that won’t happen because a perfect game IS perceived to be more important than a win. Sad but true.

  • Matt in SD

    If Selig only overturns the Tiger’s call, I say good for Gallaraga. People are up in arms because the call “didn’t change the outcome of the game! But the Twin’s blown call did!” That is assuming you can see into the future. Gallaraga could have given up the game, but instead, closed it out. If the Twins got that last out, the game would’ve continued, and they could have lost in the next inning.

    Its a crappy deal, and yeah, it may hurt the Twins down the stretch, but here’s to hoping the Twins go on a tear and never have to worry about it. Give the young pitcher his perfect game, that’s something really special.

  • WOW

    May as well review every strike of the game too in the process and see if there was the possibility that a walk could’ve been called to, just in case the perfect game would’ve been ruined.

  • Jake

    My two cents on everything.

    There are 162 games and while the call cost us a 50% chance at one win, the calls should in theory balance out by the end of the season. So I don’t think we can freak out to be honest. Not to use a cliche type argument but if the Twins really wanted to win that one they should score more than one run. Plus it was a pretty close call.

    Gallaraga likely will never get that close to a perfect game again. They are so rare. It is a big deal because of the big deal we make of perfect games. But what I find stupid about the whole thing is that a perfect game requires a pitcher to have good stuff and 1/10,000 type luck. It is like throwing a full court buzzer beating shot to win a game. I mean, you did good and it is awesome but it was mostly luck so wtf have a sense of humor about it. Also I know the ump is taking no blame but the pitcher coned the ball and reclamped it and that might have given the appearance of the ball not reaching the glove. Meh whatever. Sucks for Gallaraga and his fans but Detroit still won the game and he had a shutout.

    Replay is fine to use if we have a dedicated ump staff for review of all games. I don’t want to sit and wait for the umps to go inside to watch it and then come back out. I want a team sitting in front of monitors in a remote location that are already reviewing close plays and determining the answer before the umps on the field have even decided to call for a replay. This way we don’t slow down the game too much. Some college conferences use this for football and it seems to work very well. As long as it is faster or equal to the time it takes for the manager and players to bitch about the call then we are just fine.

    Balls and strikes need to be determined by a computer to improve the already great game of baseball. I don’t accept the tradition argument. If something works despite its flaws I would want to fix the flaws to make it work better. You know at some point in time the human race stopped bloodletting even though it did a fine job of stopping headaches.

    You can talk all you want about earning your strikezone and manipulating umps to make the wrong calls. Is it part of the game? Sure it is. But the bottom line is that umpires are calling games in an unfair and inconsistent manner. The strikezone is defined in the baseball manual and we have the technology to accurately manage the zone in an unbiased manner. Leather helmets and protecting your face used to be a part of NFL gamesmanship but we got away from that.

    I’d so much rather have accurate, unbiased calls every game and no more player/ump/coach/fanbase/media bickering over balls and strikes, even if it means we throw out the traditional method of calling the game. An ump can increase a team’s chances of winning significantly by using a biased zone and I prefer if that isn’t something I have to worry about and suffer from.

    Let the hitters hit and pitchers pitch and enjoy the game without having to always argue about calls.

  • Chris M

    It is nice to see most agree with me on the balls and strikes. It sucks to see a ball 3 inches outside get called for a strike one inning but not another. If the umps would call it like it should I wouldn’t care. The problem is too many umps have a strike zone that is not in compliance with the rules of major league baseball.

  • jimbo92107

    Danny Valencia will hit a home run in his first game.

    When a pitched ball crosses the strike zone, we should hear a loud “THUNK” cowbell sound. Outside the zone, nada.

    Never enough cowbell, baby!