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Night 2 in New York

  • Blog Post by: Jim Souhan
  • April 5, 2011 - 4:08 PM

Interesting decision by Ron Gardenhire tonight. He feels Justin Morneau needs a night off, and he doesn't like over-playing Jim Thome, so he's moving Michael Cuddyer to first and playing Jason Repko in rightfield against C.C. Sabathia.

I'm sure the first reaction of Twins' fans was to call for Gardenhire's firing. His rationale: Morneau needed a day off and might as well take it against a tough lefty on a nasty night in The Bronx; and the Twins like getting as many righthanded batters and potential bunters into the lineup as possible against Sabathia, who hates it when teams bunt on him.

Repko is a righthanded hitter who may bunt.

Now, I'd rather have Thome in the lineup. He's struggled against Sabathia, but still has four homers in 27 at-bats against C.C.

What I can say on Gardenhire's behalf is, well, you never know. Alexi Casilla is 9-for-13 against Sabathia, for a career average of .692. That makes little sense, except that sometimes singles hitters who have simple game plans have success against power pitchers. Maybe Gardenhire sees Repko in that mode.

Gardenhire is also following the long-held philosophy of Tom Kelly, Kelly believed that if a player was on the big-league roster, he needed to play, so he'd be sharp when called upon and so that he felt like part of the team.

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It's not raining right now, and Gardenhire said he expects the game to be played. Even if it rains, the Yankees typically do all they can to get the game in.

Joe Nathan is available to close tonight. Kevin Slowey will be given the next night or two off. Lots of coverage in the paper and at startribune.com from JoeC and myself tonight and the rest of the week.

For what it's worth, Gardenhire has been very loose and affable in New York. Maybe that will rub off on his players.

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I'll be on 1500espn at 2:40 tomorrow, and every weekday the Reusse & Mackey Show isn't pre-empted by a game.

I'm tweeting at @Souhanstrib.

 

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