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.


  1. I was shocked to read that some of the players admitted they didn't know the rule involving the runner who scores only if he crosses the plate before the out is recorded. That isn't such an obscure thing. Unbelievable, especially because baserunning is Punto's strong suit, as you mentioned recently.

  2. It's Span's strong suit as well. Punto and Tolbert are good fielders,yet couldn't pick up ground balls behind Crain.

    Their strengths turned into weaknesses Thursday. Maddening.

  3. I learned that rule decades ago playing 4H softball for Rost township in Jackson county!

  4. Do these base running metrics take into account the continued folly of Punto sliding headfirst into 1st base?
    Or his lack of hustle last night? Yes his being picked off in the Yankee play-off game was memorable but also symbolic of his penchant for the big gaffe, just like last nights jog.

    One of Gardenhire’s golden boys did it so it just got a collective mention in the presser…along the lines of, “We made a lot of mistakes out there tonight.”

    I pity the player such as Harris who would have done the lack of hustle thing with regard to Gardenhire. It would not have gotten the free pass. Why does the foolhardy headfirst slide go un commented on? Is that just Nick battlin’ his tail off out there?