"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Wednesday, August 17, 2005


I've been thinking about a few players lately.

Jason Bartlett
So, let me get this straight. He comes into the season as our everyday shortstop, gets a grand total of 91 at-bats to adjust to major league pitching, and is bundled off to Rochester in disgrace. After making a lot of AAA pitchers run home sobbing for their mommies he comes back and is again named our starting shorstop. He is then allowed the extravagant sum of 29 further at-bats before being relegated to the bench.

Apparently, you're only allowed to suck a little your first season (or three) if your initials are MC or LR. Cover your ears, I'm going to swear the paint off the walls now.

Matt Guerrier
You know what I wonder about this kid? I wonder why we aren't using him more. He's good. (Okay, when he's bad, he's pretty bad, but he's very rarely bad.) He's got the lowest ERA on the staff, he's got a nice strikeout-to-walk ratio (1.60), doesn't give up a ton of walks, gets his share of strikeouts and then some, holds opponents to a .238 average, handles inherited runners pretty well and generally goes out there and gets the job done, whether we ask him for one inning or four. He's pitched nearly ten innings this month and has yet to give up a run.

I've noticed the fans seem to be kind of down on him. Whenever I'm at the Dome and he trots to the mound, I hear a chorus of groans. Now, he's had a couple of spectacularly bad outings, it's true, but name me a pitcher who hasn't. I think this guy's going to help this team out for years to come, and he's exactly the card we need to have up our sleeve with Balfour injured, Mulholland aging rapidly, Rincón verging on being overused, Crain increasingly succumbing to a late-season slump and Romero playing (in the words of Batgirl) "Crazy Pepe's Chug and Toss" out there.

JC Romero
[wailing, gnashing of teeth, and rending of garments]

Juan Rincón
Ah, Juan. My dear, darling Juan. He of the striking people out and the empty bases. He of the .219 opponent batting average and the Knee-Buckling Slider of Doom. Juan is fabulous, and Juan really needs to be the one who steps in when there are runners on, thank you very much.

Justin Morneau
Oh, Canada! Have you seen what he's been doing to the ball lately? He's not so much with the high batting average (in this he resembles the rest of the team), but when he does hit the ball (and we hope that will soon occur more often), the poor ball doesn't stand a chance, does it? I'm normally a small-ball kind of girl myself, but I do love those upper-deckers of his.

4 rejoinders:

frightwig sounded off...

I'd also like to see Guerrier break out of his limited longman/mop-up role, the option only to be used when the starter is knocked out or the team is behind. He's improved a lot since last year.

Third Base Line sounded off...

Excellent point. We've got two long-relief guys, so there's no need to tie Guerrier to the bench just in case tomorrow's starter flops. He's young, he's strong, he can give us two innings today and three tomorrow if need be!

I'd also like to see Rincón used for more two-inning outings. He's got the arm for it now, but I worry that the limits (three outs and he's out) they're placing around him lately will eventually result in a loss of stamina.

frightwig sounded off...

Part of the problem is that Gardy thinks Mulholland is the one he can use to pitch crucial late innings in a pinch, which traps the better option in the mop-up role.

I have seen pitchers claim that the modern "3 outs & out" model of deploying relievers actually puts more stress on the arm than in the old days, when ace closers routinely pitched 2+ innings in an appearance. Rob Dibble said it was harder on his arm to get all warmed up just to get 3 quick outs and almost immediately get cold again, night after night.

frightwig sounded off...

Of course, now that we're talking about how much Guerrier deserves to be used in more important spots, he would implode in the 10th inning of a game....