Monday, September 19, 2011

Misplaced blame

Another Twins game, another Twins loss, another Twins
injury: Jason Repko left Sunday's game after being hit
in the head by a Justin Masterson pitch.
The Twins found a fresh way Sunday to extend their losing streak (now at eight games). Instead of having their starting pitcher get shelled early, they took a 3-0 lead into the seventh and then imploded.

I got some sour amusement out of listening to Dick Bremer try to put the six-run seventh off to bad luck. On the assumption that most of you were watching the Vikings, here's how it went down:

Shelley Duncan homered. 3-1 Twins.
Lonnie Chisenhall reached on an error by first baseman Chris Parmalee.
Jason Donald flied to right.
Ezequiel Carerra grounded into a force play (Twins unable to get two on a grounder back to the mound).
Lou Marson singled; first and third,
Kosuke Fukodome walked. Bases loaded.
Jose Mijares relieved Carl Pavano.
Jason Kipnis walked; Carrera scored; 3-2 Twins.
Alex Burnett relieved Mijares.
Carlos Santana walks; Marson scored; tied at 3.
Glen Perkins relieved Burnett.
Jim Thome broke his bat, beat out an infield single, Fukodome scored. 4-3, Cleveland.
Duncan doubled to left;  Kipnis and Santana scored, 6-3 Cleveland.
Chisenhall grounded to second.

You go through that mess, and what at-bats jump out at you? Parmalee's error; the failed DP ball; the bases loaded walks by Mijares and Burnett, the bullpen's one-out specialists.

What jumped out at Bremer? Thome's broken-bat infield hit.

Look, that was just bad luck. Perkins did his job; the infielders were playing Thome where they're supposed to play him. The error, the uncompleted DP, the bases loaded walks — those were bad plays. By the time Thome came up the lead was gone. Had the Twins made the plays in the field, Pavano finishes the seventh with a 3-1 lead. Had Mijares or Burnett performed their speciality jobs, the inning ends before Thome's at-bat with the Twins in the lead.

To call Thome's fluke hit the key at-bat of the inning, as Bremer did repeatedly, is to twist the actual event beyond recognition.

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