Thursday, June 10, 2010
A game they deserved to lose
Three errors by the middle infield. Three unearned runs allowed. Two home runs — not one, but two — given up to Wilson Betemit.
And one of the most atrocious baserunning gaffes I've ever seen.
The wonder is that the Twins came as close to winning Thursday's game as they did.
Physical errors happen. I'm not inclined to come down on Nick Punto and Matt Tolbert for their fielding slips.
But the Denard Span-Nick Punto brain lock on the bases — they both deserve castigation.
The Twins are down 3-0. Punto is on third, Span on second with one out. Joe Mauer hits a fly to deep center, and Mitch Maier makes the catch on the warning track. Punto is tagging up, as he should, but he pauses to wave Span back to second. Then Punto jogs home, but doesn't get there before Span is doubled off second.
Span's brain lock started the problem. One of two things is going to happen on that play; one, the ball is going fall in, in which case he can score from second base. Two, the ball is going to be caught, in which case he needs to tag up. There's no point in tearing off for third.
Punto also screwed up. He knew Span had goofed. He needed to hustle himself. Even if he doesn't know the rule, run the play out and let the umps sort it out.
The Twins lost by one run — the run Span and Punto combined to give away.