Monday, October 12, 2009

Notes, quotes and comments

It was just something for me to bring a little piece of this place to the new place, sprinkle that on the mound. We've had some good times in this building.
— Joe Nathan after returning to the Metrodome mound after Sunday's game to grab a handful of dirt, which he plans to sprinkle on the mound at Target Field.

* The photo above is of the removal of home plate from the Dome after Sunday's game, the last game the Twins will play in the Dome. Didn't know it was so thick, did you?

* Another bad umpiring call played a key role in Sunday's playoff games. In the ninth inning in Coors Field, Philadelphia's Chase Utley checked his swing and bounced a dribbler off himself — and took for for first base. Home plate umpire Jerry Meals ruled it a fair ball, Utley had a "single" — the call at first base was rather dubious as well — and the Phillies wound up scoring the tie-breaking run.

* It's been a rough first round on closers. Nathan blew a two-run lead in the ninth inning on Friday. The night before, Ryan Franklin, the Cardinals' All-Star closer, coughed up a ninth-inning lead (with a little help from Matt Holliday). On Sunday night, Huston Street, pitching in a tied game, was the victim of the Jerry Meals bob-boo. And earlier Sunday, Jonathan Papelbon coughed up a 6-4 lead for the Red Sox with three runs in the ninth.

It took four years after the start of divisional play in 1969 for somebody — reliever or starter — to blow a ninth-inning lead in the playoffs. This year it's a daily occurrence.

* One reason Nick Punto got caught off third base Sunday: Derek Jeter has more range up the middle than he once did. While everybody else surrounding the Yankees denied what the newfangled fielding stats said about him, Jeter recognized the truth and did something about it. I suspect that two years ago — maybe even last season — Punto would have been correct in his assumption that Span's grounder had gotten through the infield.

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