What the heck happened last night?
With the Twins now completely done teasing us of any remote playoff chances we now start looking toward 2008 for the remainder of this baseball season. September for teams out of the race is typically a time to look at some young players, test them out and give them some lee-way so you can really see what they're made out of. At least that's how most teams in the Twins position would view the remainder of September. However, someone forgot to inform Ron Gardenhire. Last night's loss, while tragic was completely unacceptable. Not in the sense that we actually lost, but in how the game was managed.
Gardenhire first blunder was taking Slowey out after 5 innings. In watching the game, Slowey was doing a much better job moving his fastball around and locating is offspeed stuff. Yes he was still getting under some of his breaking balls but overall there was much to be appreciated. Then after masterfully battling and beating Travis Hafner to end the 5th inning, Slowey was taken out of the game after only 89 pitches. Further he was benched in favor of Matt Guerrier. Matt Guerrier? What does he have to prove? Gardenhire followed the rest of the game by using his bullpen like the division was on the line. Using Rincon (who basically got lit up, lucky fool), and subbing in Cali to face the tough left-hander and then bring in Neshek to save the day after he had finished driving himself nuts because his precious formula for bullpen success failed. Most of me was happy when Hafner came up and crushed his second bomb of the game.
The second big blunder for Gardenhire was subbing in his back up catcher to try to win the game in the 10th. Yes Redmond was your best pinch hitter (as sad as it was) when the games meant something earlier this season. But instead of testing out one of the young rookies off the bench or even leaving Heintz in to see what any of them were made out of, Gardy goes back to the veteran. Always the freakin veteran. And guess what Gardy, your veteran wanted to come through for you so much that he got himself hurt. Excuse me, you got him hurt.
I'm so sick of this man, mismanaging and failing to put any faith in the very foundation this organization is built on: It's youth. Go take your crony fishing buddy Scotty Ulger and get the hell out of here. Gardy reminds me of Keanu Reeves character in the "Devils Advocate". At the very end Al Pacino, the devil and his father, finally gets him to realize his ongoing sin of Vanity when Keanu has to make an excuse for letting his wife kill herself by stammering at the top of his lungs, "But I win! I win!!!" Sometimes I wonder if Gardy manages to keep is streak of winning seasons in tack instead of looking at the greater good of this organization and it's development into a true World Series contender.