Now, the sarcastically good news: The Twins WON THE TIME OF POSSESSION BATTLE despite losing yesterday, both thanks in large part to Jesse Crain needing just a few pitches to allow Tigers hitters to smack him around the ballpark. It really was like lighting a match and throwing it on a pile of oily rags. Tigers pitches: 152; Twins pitches: 141. That makes 19 of 21 games this year when the Twins have thrown fewer pitches than their opponent. We still believe that stat is meaningful despite yesterday. That is honest good news.
Next, the bad news: Opening day starter Scott Baker couldn't hold a 6-1 lead ... the Twins stopped hitting ... the Twins came fully unglued after a bad call ... the aforementioned Crain Wreck.
And finally, the news that's still frustrating: Ron Gardenhire's ejection. Normally, we love a good Gardy ejection. He has 48 in his career and really makes an art of it. But yesterday ... well, it was just not the right time and not at all necessary. Say what you want about a manager's ability to actually control what happens in the course of a game. Yes, the primary function of a baseball manager is to balance lineups, playing time, pitching staffs, egos, etc. In the American League, there might be a couple of strategic moves in a given game. That's why they're called "managers," while pretty much every other sport in the world calls the person in charge a "coach."
That said, last night was a fairly important early season game against a team that figures to be a primary division rival. It was a tight game that was slipping away. It looked like a bad call by the umps -- Span definitely lost control on the exchange, though we can see how it could be interpreted otherwise -- but after losing the argument, Gardenhire should have been done. Instead, he lingered on the field and picked up his aggression, eventually earning a ticket out of the game. We're not saying he would have managed the bullpen any differently than acting manager Scott Ullger; we're not even saying he didn't have a right to be ticked. But this was not some team on a losing streak in need of having a fire lit. This is a team off to a very nice start that might have taken a poor emotional cue from its leader in this instance. It's over and done with -- nothing we expect to carry over -- but it would have been nice to see Gardenhire show some restraint last night and save his best tantrums for blowout ejections we can all enjoy.