Friday, June 24, 2011

Notes, quotes and comments

Fans in San Francisco count Tim Lincecum's strikeouts.
This just in: Tim Lincecum is a pretty good pitcher.

There's no real embarrassment in being shut down by Lincecum, but the lineup Thursday afternoon was, of necessity, so overloaded with right-handed hitters that his domination was very predictable.

The Twins have built their strong June (they're 15-5 for the month even after losing their last two games) on run prevention — pitching and defense. For the season, they're 10-8 in pitcher's duels — game in which the two teams combine for five runs fewer — and they've somehow managed to win four games in which they could score just one run.

Minnesota pitched (and defended) well enough to win two of the three games in San Francisco. They only hit well enough to win one, however. And unless and until some of the big bats get back into the lineup, it will be difficult for this team to continue to climb.


Jim Riggleman has managed
four teams — San Diego,
Chicago Cubs, Seattle and
Washington — with a
record of 662-824.
There are only 30 major league managerial jobs, so it's always surprising when an incumbent decides to leave — especially when his squad has won 11 of 12.

But that's what Jim Riggleman did Thursday — resign from the Washington Nationals job. His explanation, in a nutshell: He wanted a contract extension, and general manager Mike Rizzo wouldn't talk to him about it.

Riggleman probably figured that this hot streak — the lowly Nats are now above .500, despite not having their best player for most of the season — gave him prime leverage right now. Rizzo figured he was bluffing, and Riggleman went Johnny Paycheck on him: Take This Job and Shove It.

Rizzo has blasted Riggleman for walking out, and I have a certain sympathy with Rizzo. But I also figure that the relationship between the two men couldn't have been very good, and Rizzo probably shares the blame for that.

And at least Riggleman took a direct and honest approach to it. He could have turned passive-aggressive on Rizzo, could have taken the attitude of "you don't want to deal with my concerns, I won't deal with yours." That could have been more damaging to the organization.

Riggleman has gotten a bit of a reputation as a professional interim manager — not necessarily a long term guy, but a stabilizing figure.  Walking out in midseason pretty much wrecks that image.


As expected, Jim Hoey is going back to Rochester to make room for Joe Nathan in the Twins bullpen. No move yet to active Jim Thome.

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