Monday, July 8, 2019

Thoughts from the weekend

I considered late Sunday afternoon revising the Monday print column to put more emphasis on strengthening the bullpen, and to excoriate Adalberto Mejia in particular. I decided to keep the focus on the rotation in general and the notion of a Madison Bumgarner trade in particular.

But Mejia's outing, while certainly not the only reason the Twins lost Sunday, was damaging to his own future. He made the team out of spring training largely because he's out of options. But he has pitched, when not on the injured list, horribly. Sunday gave him 12 walks allowed in 15.1 innings, and that's not tolerable.

The Twins have largely been without a second left-hander in the bullpen. That's supposed to be Mejia's role. They have already dropped Gabriel Moya and Andrew Vasquez from the 40-man roster. The only other left-handed pitchers on the 40 are bullpen ace Taylor Rogers and starters Martin Perez, Lewis Thorpe, Delvin Smeltzer and Stephen Gonsalves. So if there's going to be a second lefty in the bullpen, it will be via trade.

Vasquez was outrighted during the weekend without a corresponding addition to the 40, presumably to open space for a trade for a veteran. If they need two spaces, Mejia is in jeopardy. He may be regardless.


Sunday's game turned, in a very real sense, on a play in which Byron Buxton was thrown out trying for third base on a fly to center. His out came before Jonathan Schoop reached the plate and ended the inning.

I was listening to the radio broadcast at that point, Tim Laudner being unlistenable as the TV analyst, and Dan Gladden declined to criticize Buxton's try for third.

I'm not so hesitant. Yes, Joey Gallo had to make a Grade A throw to get him, and yes, Joey Gallo had not played a good center field in the series. But even if there's only a 15 percent chance that Gallo makes a good-enough throw, the gain from advancing Buxton to third with two outs wasn't worth the risk.

If Buxton sticks to second, Schoop's run gives the Twins the lead. Theoretically, that would have been enough to win.


The Futures Game on Sunday evening featured two Twins prospects. Royce Lewis went 1-for-2 (and committed an error in the field as a substitute (Wander Franco of the Rays system was, deservedly, the starter at short for the American League team), and Jordan Balazovic threw a hitless inning.

I love the Futures Game, even shortened as it was to seven innings (eight with extras; it ended in a tie). It's a niche product, I know, but I rather prefer it to the All-Star Game itself.


Unless the Twins make a trade during the break, I'll probably go silent here until the season resumes.

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