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Diamondbacks 7, Twins 2: The Fatality of FIP

There is cruelty, dang cruelty, and statistics, to misstate an axiom, and it bites Devin Smeltzer tonight.

Minnesota Twins v Arizona Diamondbacks
“Hey, cuz, I can dance in your next musical!”
Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Both Arizona’s Madison Bumgarner and Minnesota’s Devin Smeltzer have had, up until now, 2022 numbers that don’t quite fit what mere strikes/balls/contact would normally predict. Both of these pitchers got hit fairly hard, early, tonight; one settled down, the other did not. (Spoiler: see headline.) Inning-by-inning notes:

1: Hey, how come Byron Buxton ain’t no Rickey Henderson? He’s fast, Rickey is fast. Well, Rickey hit lots of leadoff homers. Byron doesn’t hit as many leadoff homers as Rickey. Except, this time, he does. Rickey approves.

There’d be a second Twins runns this half-inning, except that Luis Arraez’s double bounces over the wall and Gio Urshela can’t score from first. This means that when Arizona’s Jordan (Not Peele) Luplow makes his own pitch Get Out, our score is Diamondbacks 2-1

2: Now a double from Byron! This with two outs and Max von Kepler on first avoids bouncing unluckily, but Herr Maximilian doesn’t score anyways, getting the rare “hold” sign from Tommy Watkins. Carlos Correa strikes out, leaving two on, the second time Minnesota’s stranded two already, which is unfortunate for a baseball team and worse than that for a divorced parent who’s supposed to pick up their kids after school but keeps running off with substitute teachers instead.

3: OK, max action! (Including some Max action.) An Urshela double, Arraez single, Carmen Jose Miranda single brings up Ze Kepp, who thinks he’s walked on 3-1 and snarks about it before getting actually walked. Gilberto Celestino goes GIDP, though, ending that Twins Fans After Dark Runs Are Sexy mood. This is six cRISPy LOBsters in three innings.

Smeltzer gets Smeltzed for another two-run dinger, this one again where it’s Jordan who Keys into one. DBacks 4-2, so I’m predicting a final score of 32-16 when this is over.

4: Since I mentioned Tommy Watkins earlier, and third base coaches always catch crap from fans (deserved or not), who is Tommy Watkins? Well, he played in the Twins system, reaching the majors for nine games in 2007 (Sporkle quiz!) Per Wiki, his personality made him a huge favorite with Ft. Myers Miracle fans (he had a “Tommy Watkins Bobble Butt” promotion in 2003), and Rochester Red Wings players/coaches absolutely loved him. He ended up coaching for Minnesota’s minor league teams (including manager Jake Mauer) and was named first base coach for the Twins in 2018. So now you know. And no Twins reach third base this inning.

Smeltzer, who had a 2.38 ERA and 4.90 FIP heading into this one, proves that all happy underdog stories are Hopeful Lies, giving up two singles then airmailing a bunt past third. Urshela misplays a foul popup from hitter Carson Kelly, who then hitters. This time, Smeltzer sends Jordan’s bat to the Twilight Zone, but he’s at 83 pitches and the Rattlesnakes lead 6-2

5: Another Twins double, another ground-ruler via Arraez. (Minus the AC, this score would be closer.) More LOB.

Smeltzer stays in to “wear it,” as they say (odd phrase, where does it come from?) After one out and two singles, an easy double-play grounder gets dropped by Urshela.

Methinks the Twins should be allowed to just forfeit this one. My sleep would be happier. The bullpen would be better-rested. Only the fans who paid for a full game would be disappointed. Maybe teams could be required to bring bands, magicians and jugglers to games for fan entertainment if they decide to say “frak it” and stop playing a crap game. I’ve been to a crap game where the fans in front of me had a magician for a kid’s birthday party. I very much preferred the magician to the baseball.

Ten-year veteran AAAAer Tyler Thornburg, a DFA pickup who ate 2.2 innings during Sunday’s loss to the Rays, will try and keep position players from pitching, here. Arizona 7-2

6: About all that’s interesting here is how Luplow has The Animals’ “House Of The Rising Sun” play as he comes up to bat. If that’s his walkup song, he gets immediate coolness props.

The song itself is very old — it’s been sung from both the perspective of male and female narrators falling into Sin and Ruin. It was used in the movie “Casino” as various mobsters get murdered. A thematically similar song is “The Unfortunate Rake,” a version of which was featured in “The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs” as sung by the supremely great Brendan Gleeson:

You’re welcome. I give because I love.

7: My toaster oven is broken. It is an old, good toaster oven, and has served us well. Regular toasters are for shite. Toaster ovens all the way. Can you broil a baseball hotdog in a regular toaster? No, you can’t. Plus nobody ever cleans the crumb tray out on a regular toaster. I would pimp a toaster oven brand here if I could get a free one. None have been offered. How hard would it be to advertise a toaster oven in a baseball article? Answer: not at all! In fact, I’ll do it in reverse here, and say that Cuisinart charging $150 for a toaster oven is ripoff garbage crapola, at that price a toaster oven better be able to grant me all manner of debauched physical delights. Since that one, I’m assuming, can’t, it’s way too expensive for a toaster oven. Missed your chance, Cuisinart.

8: Tyler Duffey pitches a non-eventful inning. Half an inning, Arizona doesn’t trade for him, have him throw half an inning, then trade him back. I just want to be clear about that.

9: Alex Kirilloff returns from a nagging injury that messed up his swing for a while after healing up; he’s been awesome in Saint Paul, as all we good St. Paulites are. Strikes out here, but he’ll get his opportunities soon.

No studs, Twins lose (although Buxton gets close). Duds: hiking the Grand Canyon, or whatever else it was that made the Twins seem so sleepy tonight.

COTGs go to Wannabe525 for “Third time through the order coming up for Bumgarner next time up, so Twins Runs Manufacturing Department should show up soon” (nice optimism!), also Brandon for mentioning vis-a-vis bored players drinking midgame as “The 2011 Boston Red Sox have entered the chat”

At least this one was only 2:43 long. Tomorrow will have Dylan Bundy (gulp!) going up against a Luke Weaver at 9:10, which I think is 8:10 Phoenix time, which is a weird time for a Saturday night game, but maybe that’s how things go in Phoenix? I dunno!