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.
Maybe the only good thing about seeing that the next four batters due up for the Twins are Harris, Butera, Punto and Plouffe would be knowing that you could go to the bathroom or grab a concession-stand calzone without missing anything. All the more in the Twins tiered-pricing system that made Sunday's game against Atlanta a "select" game -- putting it in the middle of the three ticket prices for single-game-buying fans.
I understand Denard Span getting a day off and I understand sometimes resting your catcher in a day game after a night game, whether he's going to make $23 million or $23,000. But in a lineup that's already improv because of the missing middle infielders, and with a day off today, the product put on the field by the Twins Sunday made me queasy.
As colleague Michael Rand, who was at the game, opined via Twitter: "If this lineup also had Scott Stahoviak and Brent Gates, it would be complete."
In the past, I've defended Gardy and the Twins on the B-lineup days. You have to rest players to keep them fresh, and a catcher is going to need more rest than any of your other positions players.
But this was an important game and I can make a good case -- always easier to do after the fact, granted -- that Sunday was not the time to put out this version of the B-lineup.
It was more like a C-lineup, if that.
Deciding game of a series against a first-place club... Coming off a tough loss the previous night (which wasn't a 12-inning game or a marathon of any sort) ... A home crowd on Sunday afternoon ... Not 90 degrees and humid ... A day off Monday.
At the least, if Joe Mauer would have been catching instead of DHing, Jim Thome could have been DH -- getting some of the at-bats he's said to need to stay sharp -- and everyone could have spent Monday doing nothing except watching the World Cup, playing MLB 10: The Show and ordering take-out.
Today isn't even a travel day.
If the Twins fall behind 4-0 in the first inning, as they did Sunday, with the injury-adjusted A-lineup on the field, a fan could have held out some hope. Remember this game in May 2008 when the Twins fell behind 6-0 and rallied to win 7-6?
Sunday, with .160/.135/.221/.130 hitting 8/9/1/2, the Twins weren't giving themselves much of a chance -- or their fans much of a chance to get excited.
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