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4/14/09

Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Last night's game was a big disappointment for the Twins' Fans: The bats were alive, but Slowey and Ayala were not on the top of their game, resulting to turning the game in the favor of the Blue Jays, pretty quickly at the late innings.

Here is a closer look to the win probability graph by fangraphs:



I marked 2 points with asterisks (*1, *2 and *3), because I think they were the turning points of the game and they were bad decisions by Ron Gardenhire:

*1: Kevin Slowey has been struggling throughout the game, but Gardenhire sends him in to start the 6th inning. At this point, the Twins are about 85% win probability. If Slowey left the game then, and the Twins won, he would have been credited with the win. Slowey allows a hit to Rolen. Instead of taking him out at that point, Gardenhire lets him face the next batter (in a manner similar to that allowing Liriano to face multiple hitters after he walked in a run with the bases loaded in the last game of the Chicago series). Overbay hits a home run and the Jays are within 2. A little too late, after facing 2 more batters and walking one, Gardenhire lifts Slowey for Guerrier. Guerrier finishes the inning and starts the next. Breslow replaces him in the 7th after he gives a hit and strikes out the only batter he faces. At this point, Gardenhire, uses Breslow again only to face a single lefty hitter and replaces him with Ayala who finishes the 7th giving a hit and driving a run with 2 outs to bring the Jays within 1 (6-5 Twins)

*2: Top of the 8th inning. You would think that Crain is the 8th inning man, esp. with Ayala having problems the previous inning, who can provide a bridge to Nathan. But this is not the case: Gardenhire keeps Ayala in. A double and a home run later, the Twins' win probability drops from 75% to 15% and the score is Jays 8, Twins 6. That was the biggest turning point of the game

*3: Bottom of the 8th, the Twins hitters are staging a comeback: Brendan Harris doubles to start the inning and goes to third with no outs on a wild pitch. Delmon Young is up. The Twins have a great batter and the best AL Centerfielder in Carlos Gomez on the bench, one would think that getting Gomez in to sacrifice Harris (or get a bunt base hit) would be the proper play (or at least have Young try for the sacrifice). The win probability with Harris at 3rd, nobody out and the Twins down by 2 runs, climbed up to 30%. Young strikes out. Gardenhire, still going for a 2-run homer instead of getting the man from third in with a sacrifice, substitutes Crede for Morales. Crede strikes out. Punto strikes out. Inning over.

Last season, Gardenhire's mismanagement of the pitching staff and the bullpen, cost the Twins the division championship. He was rewarded with a contract extension. Apparently he has not yet learned his lessons from last season. I hope he learns them pretty quickly before this season gets out of hand.

7 comments:

Marv said...

Didn't Breslow have pretty good numbers against right handed hitters last season? It drives me crazy that Gardy is using Breslow like a 40 year old reliever.
Did anyone tell Gardy that there is another lefty in the bullpen?
And the idea that our 8th inning guy is whoever finished the 7th plus Crain is unique at the very least.
Very strange.

Erin-Kathleen said...

I wondered what the heck Ayala was doing pitching the eighth, too. It's not like he did such a good job in the seventh. Ugh, this game was really fun to watch if you are a big fan of poor management and crappy pitching. If you are a fan of good baseball, though, you were out of luck.

Maybe the Twins should try to swing a deal for Nick Swisher. He's pitched more effectively than half of the bullpen (jk, sort of).

thrylos98 said...

Folks,

This is regular Gardenhire behavior. He is a horrid in game manager. Nothing unusual nor strange about it. I hope that the change in the team ownership improves the mindset of the front office as far as some things go...

What I find still puzzling is that the mainstream press was very quick to criticize the pitchers and certain hitters, but not the man who let them work in those situations.

Anonymous said...

thrylos,

Gardy's managing aside, we've got a bad combination of factors against the Twins right now.

The Twins have a starting rotation that is struggling and they're facing a team that is white hot when it comes to hitting.

The Twins definitely had the number of the starting Toronto pitcher last night, until he left with that arm strain.

I think things will even out later on in the season, though.

-Blake

thrylos98 said...

Blake,

I agree. I think that tonight's game is pretty big. Also, I hope that Baker coming in will help the team. If they pick a couple of Ws in a row and win this series, they will be in good shape.

Frankly, if they are within a couple of games when Mauer returns, they will be fine.

They are ahead of Cleveland right now and this is a very good thing.

Anonymous said...

thrylos,

Wow, another good outing for Glen Perkins.

Now, let's hope we see the Scott Baker we've become used to.

You knew it was only a matter of time before Joe Crede got his clutch hit.

Nathan looked sharp and Crain really came through last night.

-Blake

thrylos98 said...

Blake,

yes! Great game. But:

Perkins showed signs of being tired in the 7th: his fastball lost velocity and was low. Gardy should have put Crain for the 8th and Nathan for the 9th. No need for extra innings. I'd take the win though :)