April 27, 2005

Twins 9, Royals 4

  • I realize this horse passed away a long time ago, but that just means it won't fight back while I keep beating it. With lefty Brian Anderson on the mound for the Royals last night, Ron Gardenhire chose to start Jacque Jones in right field, while keeping Lew Ford on the bench. I don't really feel like rehashing this oft-made point again today for whatever reason, so here are some relevant numbers, presented without comment:
    vs LHP (2002-04)     AVG      OBP      SLG      OPS
    Lew Ford .294 .367 .493 .860
    Jacque Jones .241 .299 .350 .649

    Jones went 1-for-3 with a single and two strikeouts against Anderson.

  • Joe Mays looked perfectly adequate last night until he completely fell apart in the bottom of the sixth inning, which is good news despite how it sounds. The Royals put together their three-run rally with two outs, so I doubt anything could have been done to stop it. With that said, I was still a little surprised that no one was warming up in the Twins' bullpen until after Mays had already let Kansas City tie the game.

    I would have though that Mays, who was making just his third start since missing an entire season after Tommy John surgery, would be on a short enough leash for the bullpen to be on-call at that point. Giving up four runs in six innings is certainly far from a disaster, but it's a shame that he couldn't have left the mound on a positive note. Instead, he was visibly upset in the dugout, shaking his head and generally just looking frustrated. The good news is that he more or less cruised through the first five innings, and got 12 of his 18 outs on ground balls.

    Oh, and here's a Mays-related tidbit that is probably of interest only to me: Mays' win last night was his first since June 19, 2003, when the Twins beat the Royals 16-2 and Mays pitched eight strong innings. That day was also a milestone for this blog, as AG.com surpassed 100,000 visitors. So in the time it took Mays to win another game, over 1.1 million people visited this website. The following players who are no longer with the team played in that game: Tom Prince, A.J. Pierzynski, Bobby Kielty, Dustan Mohr, Doug Mientkiewicz, Corey Koskie, and Cristian Guzman.

  • During one of Jason Bartlett's at-bats last night, Dick Bremer and Bert Blyleven discussed whether or not Chuck Knoblauch batted second in the Twins' lineup (like Bartlett has this season) when he was a rookie back in 1991. They described how, in trying to find out the answer, they asked players on that 1991 team like Dan Gladden and Jack Morris, and also unsuccessfully scoured the team's media guide for information. And all they could come up with in the end was, "As best as we can tell, Knoblauch did bat second."

    The funny thing is, while Bremer and Blyleven were discussing Knoblauch's place in the batting order, I typed "Retrosheet.org" into my web browser and found the information they had been searching for within 30 seconds. The answer? Knoblauch had 460 at-bats batting second in 1991, along with 85 at-bats leading off, and a total of 20 at-bats hitting in other spots in the lineup. In addition to that, I can also tell you that he batted .298/.369/.374 in the #2 spot, compared to just .200/.250/.247 leading off.

    The most shocking thing about this is not that the information is so easily found online (I have learned to assume that everything is available online until proven otherwise), but rather that not a single person associated in any way with the television broadcast of an MLB team is aware of its availability.

  • If Nick Punto isn't back in the lineup at second base today after going 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI, two runs scored, and a great play on a grounder up the middle to end the game last night, I may just give up on this whole thing and start rooting for the Yankees or something.
  • This has little to do with last night's Twins game, but I watched the White Sox play the A's yesterday afternoon and the end of the game was very interesting. With the game tied at one in the top of the ninth inning, Joe Crede came to the plate with two outs and runners on first and second. Crede was hit by a pitch from Justin Duchscherer, but the home-plate umpire didn't give him first base because he said Crede leaned into the pitch.

    Well, needless to say that led to Ozzie Guillen -- and eventually Crede -- being ejected from the game. Which in turn led to the strange sight of Jermaine Dye playing shortstop for the White Sox (Crede had started at shortstop because of injuries to Juan Uribe, Tadahito Iguchi, and Pablo Ozuna). And the entire time all this was happening, Hawk Harrelson and Darrin Jackson were going absolutely nuts about the umpiring in the series on Chicago's TV broadcast.

    They were talking about how this particular umpiring crew had a history of screwing the White Sox, and about how they long suspected things would turn out badly during the series because of it. Jackson even uttered one of the most laughable comments I have ever heard during a baseball game, saying, "Well, the umpires just lost us the game." Keep in mind that Jackson said that while Crede was actually still batting with a 2-2 count and two men on base in a tie game.

    Needless to say Oakland scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the inning when Marco Scutaro doubled past a diving Chris Widger down the third-base line, scoring Erubiel Durazo. Yes, that's right, the White Sox had a 34-year-old catcher at third base and a 31-year-old right fielder at shortstop in the bottom of the ninth inning. It can't all be blamed on the umpires though, because Widger actually started the game at third (his first career appearance there in nine big-league seasons).

    And just to be clear (since I can almost hear White Sox fans typing their angry e-mails to me as I write this), I thought it was, at best, an extremely iffy call. I imagine that if I were, say, rooting for the White Sox to win games instead of rooting for them to have the worst season possible, I would have been just slightly less outraged than "Hawk" and "D.J." All of which brings me to the fact that the Twins are now just three games back of Chicago in the American League Central.

  • Today at The Hardball Times:
    - Ten Things I Didn't Know Last Week (by Studes)

    Today's Picks (25-15, +$1,075):

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