Startribune.com digital sports editor Howard Sinker used to cover the Twins and now shares season tickets with friends in Section 219 of Target Field. He blogs about baseball from the perspective of a long-time fan who loves the game, doesn’t always believe the hype and likes hearing what others think. Howard sometimes talks about sports with Cathy Wurzer on MPR's Morning Edition.
First of all, it was a terrible call that allowed Detroit to score the winning run on Monday afternoon. The umpires had the discretion to allow Jhonny Peralta to score -- under Rules 3.15 and 3.16 in baseball's rulebook -- but the judgment that he would have scored was incredibly flawed. Peralta's speed is much closer to Jason Kubel's than Jason Repko's, and he was still a good distance from third base when the ball made contact with the second fan. It was obvious that Peralta should have been sent back to third.
Terrible calls have a way of evening out over the course of the season, however. The Twins caught a break on a call that helped them win one of the games at Seattle a couple of weeks back.
It was a terrible break for the Twins that the latest addition to the injury list is Kubel, who sprained his foot when he made a futile leap for Victor Martinez' game-tying home run. Kubel has been the highest functioning Twins player this season, so having him go missing from the lineup for any period of time is the last thing the Twins need.
But the way the season has been going, are you really surprised about this.
It was a terrible idea for Trevor Plouffe to go all whiny-whiny with Gardy over being asked questions about his
craptasti c ... suckorific ... (note to self: try understatement) ongoing defensive struggles. As the manager told Jim Souhan over the weekend when the young shortstop complained about being queried by reporters over his repeated misplays: "It's on your shoulders to make the damn (bleepin') plays and not let a guy beat out a routine ground ball to first base, and show them. Then they won't ask you any more questions."
Of course, that was before Plouffe went a long ways toward handing the Angels Sunday's game with his triumvirate of misplays in the field. To his credit, Plouffe dealt with the postgame questions, which comes in a distant second to not botching plays that mandated the questions be asked.
Gardenhire knows about subpar defense. In his one season as the regular shortstop with the New York Mets (1982), he made 29 errors in 135 games (1,044 innings). By comparison, the Twins' collection of shortstops last season made eight fewer errors in about 408 more innings. And Gardy's .240/.279/.313 offensive line that season didn't quite compensate. My guess, though, is that Gardy continued to battle his tail off back in '82 and did his best to do the little things right -- and didn't duck from the questions about his play.
The sad part about the Plouffe thing is that -- given the middle-infield problems the Twins have been having all season -- people were going to be willing to cut him some defensive slack if he provided some offense. The offense was there for a while, as it is for many young players, but his current 1-for-20 slump has dropped his average to .207 and now Gardy has little reason to put him in the lineup, except out of necessity.
Plus, no amount of offense would make up for some of the stuff we've seen in the field. I guess seven seasons in the minors just wasn't enough.
I'll save my thoughts on the terrible bullpen for another time. After all, Jim Hoey and Phil Dumatrait somehow escaped a bases-loaded, none-out, seventh-inning jam with the score tied Monday.
Instead, let me call your attention to a regular feature on the website of the Trentonian, which is the web site of the newspaper near Hoey's hometown in New Jersey. An editor at the newspaper, Joey Kulkin, authors a regular (and entertaining) feature called the "Jim Hoey Chronicles," which pretty much chronicles everything that Jim Hoey does.
When I was growing up, there was a TV station in Chicago that said of its newscasts: "It's not pretty, but it's real."
That pretty much describes Kulkin's writings on Hoey.
Sunday's installment was Part 18 and began thusly:
"Jim Hoey of Hamilton struck out Detroit Tigers leadoff speedster Austin Jackson with the bases loaded and no one out Monday to give raging, disgruntled, pitchfork-carrying Minnesota Twins fans the faintest ray of hope.
"Hoey has been as bad as bad gets out of the worst bullpen in Major League Baseball, so when manager Ron Gardenhire called him into a 5-5 game with runners at first and third and no outs in bottom-7 at Tiger Stadium, the Twitter feed with a #Twins hashtag began scrolling like mad with hate for the reliever whose ERA was 10.80 and WHIP was 2.50.
"All you have to do is look at Sunday’s outing against Mark Trumbo of the Angels, and just about every other stint Hoey has pitched the last few weeks, to understand the nastiness."
Here's a link that'll get you to all 18 parts -- and maybe an ad for Club Risque, which is pretty much what you'd think it would be.
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