Monday, May 31, 2010

Late night: Twins 5, Mariners 4

Game story here. Box score here.

I tend to attach a person's name to a general baseball principle or insight — somebody who illustrates the idea in question.

The Greg McMichael Rule, for example: If a pitcher gets outs, they'll find a role for him. Named for a guy who started 1993 in the minors for the Atlanta Braves; got outs; was called up to fill out the bullpen after an injury; got outs; moved into a setup role; got outs; ended the season as Atlanta's closer.

This Twins-Mariners game gave me a name to attach to a notion I've had for a while: That you can take most major league position players and play them out of position, and it might take a while for people to realize that, yep, he's out of position.

Call it the Michael Cuddyer Principle.

Cuddyer has bounced around the field in his professional career. He was drafted out of high school as a shortstop. He has, in the majors, seen considerable time at third base, first base, second base and (mostly) right field. He's been pressed into service at times in center field.

He's moved around, to be blunt, because of his shortcomings defensively. He's best in right field, but he's no Ichiro out there either. But those shortcomings aren't always obvious. There are still Twins fans who want him returned to third base. I know a fan with season tickets who seriously argued with me that Cuddy should win a Gold Glove as an outfielder.

With Orlando Hudson back in the Twin Cities to have his wrist examined in detail after Sunday night's game-ending collision, Cuddyer started Monday's game at second base.

The box score reveals no errors on his part, but it was not a smooth game afield for him. The photo above is him trying unsuccessfully to turn a double play; he bounced the relay throw, and Justin Morneau couldn't make the scoop. (If you look closely at the photo, he's flinching from the contact.) A two-run Mariners inning began with a bad-hop single that he played off his right shoulder.

But whatever damage he caused with his defense at his unaccustomed position, he undid with his bat: 2-for-4 with a homer, two runs and two RBIs.

1 comment:

  1. Key play of the game:

    Bottom 5, Twins ahead 5-2 , Figgins on third with 1 out.

    M. Bradley grounded out to third, C. Figgins scored but it was a tough, tough play Punto made on the one-hop grounder coming in fast and throwing Bradley out.

    Stopped momentum of the Mariners and settled down that inning and the game at that point for Liriano.