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.
Two issues seems to be the center of attention for the first-place Twins and, in both cases, middle ground is sometimes getting twisted into heretical thought.
On the lineup issue, I don't think any reasonable fan would balk at giving front-line players days off now and again.
But it was perfectly valid for people to question Sunday's lineup given how many players the Twins were already missing from their regular lineup. Defenders can argue that giving Denard Span two days off, having Joe Mauer DH and putting four substandard sticks in the lineup will pay off down the road -- and if the Twins go off on a tear, they can certainly cite that restive Sunday to back up their case.
Even Jim Souhan, in writing a column defending the move, got to deal with Gardy's displeasure just for bringing up the subject during a pregame chat.
The other issue that's been getting blown out of proportion is the batting order when the team is at less than 100 percent healthy.
So far, Gardy has resisted moving Mauer into the No. 2 spot in favor of Matt Tolbert or Trevor Plouffe and switching Delmon Young with Michael Cuddyer in the 5th and 7th spots. There was a chatter during Monday's night telecast about how disruptive it can be for players to have to adjust to different roles.
In the Mauer case, I'm not sure that Justin Morneau batting third and Jason Kubel/Jim Thome/Delmon/Cuddyer batting fourth constitutes much disruption.
In the Cuddyer/Young situation, the question about flipping them demands to be asked.
Young's OPS is 34 points higher than Cuddyer's ... Young has 10 more RBI than Cuddyer despite 52 fewer plate appearances... Young is batting 130 points higher than Cuddyer with runners in scoring position and has a scoring-position OPS that's 282 points higher.
The season is 40 percent over and those guys are regulars, so we're beyond the small-sample-size counter.
In addition to Gardy chastising Souhan for asking about player rest, others who watched the post-game press gathering after Monday's victory took note of the manager's less-than-cheerful demeanor.
I don't want this to turn into a "Gardy would get killed if he managed in New York/Chicago/Philly" kind of thing.
But managing a major league baseball team should be almost as much fun as workin' on a web site -- and I'm having a fine time with you all (and because of you all). Even when we disagree.
Cheer up, Gardy. You're in first place and nobody here (save for the stray out-of-towner) is rooting against your team..
***When you get a chance, let me recommernd that you spend some time checking out our 50 Most Memorable Twins Moments page. So far, we've done the 1960s and 1970s, and we'll be adding a decade per week of old stories, photos and more.
***Don't forget to decline all lunch invitations to join our live chat during Thursday's Liriano vs. Jimenez matchup. We'll start at 12:10 p.m. and keep things going until about 1:30.
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