Another Managerial Mistake, Another Loss

From me at TwinsFix

I wanted to write this recap while I still have the sour taste in my mouth so my criticism would be true. Hope you enjoy! :D

-Another great start by a great Twins pitcher was ruined tonight. Blackburn went a solid 6.2 innings giving up only two runs on six hits. Although this Red Sox lineup is missing Ortiz's bat, it is still very potent and Blackburn did a superb job of shutting them down.

-Blackburn averages 83.4 pitches per game, and threw 85 tonight. When Blackburn gave up a hit to Lugo after allowing the second Boston run, he was pulled from the game. I feel Gardy did a good job of choosing when to go to the bullpen. No complaining from that front tonight. -I'm not even upset with who Gardy put in. Reyes hasn't pitched since July 1st, and it was time for him to show off his 2.25 ERA. He came in and struck Jeff Baily out on three pitches to end the seventh inning. In the eighth, however, Reyes surrendered a double to Jacoby Ellsbury. With the score 5-2, Twins, it was time for Reyes to come back to the bench. Gardy did just that, sending Guerrier in.

-Guerrier has pitched four of the last five games, but hasn't thrown over 13 pitches on any given night. I felt, and obviously Gardy as well, that Matty was fresh and ready to face the heart of this Red Sox lineup. Guerrier came in to face Dustin Pedrioa and ran the count 2-2 on him, but ended up hanging a breaking ball which Pedroia pounded to right field for a single. The speedy Ellsbury advanced to third. Guerrier than induced a ground ball to first, which scored Ellsbury making the game 5-3 with a runner on second and Manny Ramirez stepping to the plate. Now this is where I have a problem. I would have removed Guerrier right there. I wouldn't trust a guy who had just allowed three baserunners while recording one out to face the powerful Ramirez.

I don't know what is going on with Craig Breslow, but he would have been my first choice to relieve Guerrier. If he really is battling a bad back he should be sent to the DL. The real issue I have is with the decision to keep Nathan on the bench. I am not a traditional baseball fan, and I would feel free to use my star closer in any tight situation, not just in save situations. Nevertheless, Gardy opted once again not to use Nathan, his best reliever, and Guerrier was left in the game.

We all know what happened next. The first pitch, a 95 mph fastball inside and high, was belted over the Green Monster to tie the game 5-5. Horrible, but not the worst. To my utter astonishment, Guerrier was left in the game! To his credit he struck out Lowell on three pitches, but then surrendered a double to Youkilis. After allowing him to advance to third on a wild pitch, Guerrier gave up a single to Brandon Moss to make the game 6-5. But Gardy still refused to take Guerrier out. What does he think this is; an exhibition game?

-Although nothing came of allowing Guerrier to stay in the game, it was potentially disastrous. He allowed a baserunner to steal second, but struck out Julio Lugo to end the eighth. This move (or lack thereof) and the move last night could be the worst I have ever seen Gardy. -Excellent defense tonight for the Twins, as was the case last night. I hope this aspect doesn't go unnoticed as everyone voices their concern for the managerial choices. Denard Span made a great leaping catch in foul territory to end the fifth inning. Blackburn also displayed his athleticism by making a sliding stop and throwing across the diamond to retire the batter.

-Brendan Harris and Nick Punto were the unsung heros tonight as well. They combined to go 4-8 with three RBI and two runs scored. Who would've thunk? The Twins will try and pick up Game Three tomorrow, matinee style. First pitch is 1:05 EST. Livan Hernandez (9-5, 5.18) will face Josh Beckett (8-5, 3.70). I highly doubt I will be able to post anything before game time tomorrow, folks. I live in Pacific time and first pitch is 10:05 for me. Expect something good after the game, though. :) Go Twins!