Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pitching to Pujols (and other stuff)

On Friday, the Twins (specifically Glen Perkins and Joe Nathan) got Albert Pujols (right) out – or at least kept him from hurting them. On Saturday, they (specifically Kevin Slowey) didn't.

Ron Gardenhire has it exactly right: "Just make better pitches. Keep the ball away from him. If you want to just (intentionally) walk him every time up, I think that's embarrassing baseball. That's ridiculous baseball. If we have the same situation tomorrow, I hope that my pitcher makes better pitches so I don't have to put four (fingers) up every time."

Slowey has it right, too:
"I don't know if looking back you should say we should have walked him. For me, looking back, I need to make a better pitch in both situations."

No question, the margin for error is less with Pujols than with probably any other hitter since Barry Bonds was in his prime. But he's "only" hitting .328. (With considerable power, of course.) He can be pitched to. Slowey didn't do it very well.

* The latest odd development in the Milton Bradley-Lou Piniella saga is that the Chicago Sun-Times printed (most of) the excrement expletive the (sometimes) volatile manager used in his Friday confrontation with the (often) volatile outfielder and the defusing response from Bradley. Piniella publicly apologized to Bradley for the insult Saturday. And the Cubs complained that the White Sox stadium staff shouldn't be leaking what's said in the visiting clubhouse.

My take, at an extreme distance, is that Bradley wants to be a nice guy but hasn't figured out how to do it. Given time and distance, he says the right things. In heat of the moment — that's another matter. Playing in a major market, for a team whose fans have expectations of success and stronger expectations of disappointment, doesn't help.

*Poll stuff: Of the offered bullpen trade options offered, five votes (35 percent) went to getting LaTroy Hawkins; three votes (21 percent) perfered the status quo; two apiece (14 percent) opted for Danys Baez or Takashi Saito; and one each (7 percent) for Matt Capps or Cla Meredith. Fourtenn total votes.

New poll is up. And, yeah, it's inspired, sort of, by the pending Monday print column — and more strongly by an offshoot of that column that will be posted here later.

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