"I would challenge [Gardenhire] to sit down and watch the replays. Because he was wrong. ... I'm going to invite him to my umpire school. If he wants to learn what a balk is, he can come down in January to umpire school and we'll teach him."
— umpire Hunter Wendelstedt after Friday's game
“If he’ll agree to take the classes again, I’ll go with him.”
—Ron Gardenhire, the next day
Comment: AP in the past two weeks has moved at least three photos of young Wendelstedt ejecting players or managers (the one above is from last Sunday, when he ejected Baltimore catcher Greg Zaun). I suspect that indicates a problem.
In the first link, Wendelstedt claims he and the rest of his crew spent an hour reviewing replays and got every call right with the possible exception of a fan interference they didn't call and didn't have a replay of. If so, they were watching the wrong game.
* Carl Pavano's Twins debut couldn't have gone much better. And yet: I keep seeing him described as a "sinkerballer," but he had more air outs (nine) than ground outs (seven). Comerica's a good park in which to throw fly balls, but I don't know that that's what he was trying to do Saturday.
Regardless, it was startling to see a Twins starter throwing strikes and working fast. We haven't seen a lot of that recently.
*NUN update: New Ulm native Jamie Hoffmann remains in Triple A for the Dodgers; the outfielder, who had a brief stint with the big club during Manny Ramirez' suspension, is hitting .282/.373/.463 for Albuquerque, which isn't very good for that hitter-happy environment.
* A New York columnist thinks Johan Santana would be happier if he were still with the Twins. Maybe ... but I don't see anything here that says Santana thinks that.
* Jose Mauer is back in the lead in the batting title race, four points ahead of Ichiro Suzuki. More impressive — and this is a sabermetric stat you may not be familiar with — he is far ahead of everybody else in the AL in RC/27. That's runs created per 27 outs, or how many runs a lineup made up of nine Joe Mauers would score in an average game. Mauer is at 9.94 RC/27; the next best in the AL is Kevin Youkilis of Boston at 8.68. (Mauer does trail Albert Pujols, 10.28.)
The Twins have three of the top eight in the AL (Justin Morneau is fifth, 7.86; Jason Kubel is eighth, 7.46). The surprise guy in the AL top 10 — Jason Bartlett, fourth at 8.17.
* Poll results: We had 18 votes on "who's now the strongest team in the AL Central?" The Tigers seem to have you convinced: 13 (72 percent) picked Detroit, four the Twins (22 percent), one the White Sox (5 percent).
New poll up.