First Pitch: 1:10 PM CT
TV: Bally Sports North
Know Thine Enemy: Amazin’ Avenue
In 1962, New York Mets manager Casey Stengel had the ignominious distinction of helming the worst team of the modern baseball era: 40-120 (not sure what happened to the other two—as if it mattered). That’s a .250 winning percentage if my public school education has not failed me.
Though leading a far better club, Minnesota Twins skipper Rocco Baldelli has something in common with “The Ol’ Perfessor”—that being an extensive use of the platoon system.
Before stinking it up in Queens, Stengel is commonly credited with the first extensive use of platooning players based on left/right matchup advantage in the Bronx. In 12 seasons—1949 to 1960—he accumulated 10 American League pennants and 7 World Series rings. Of course, having Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Yogi Berra didn’t hurt the cause—but Stengel mixed-and-matched his way to incredible success in pinstripes.
Baldelli has taken that formula and tweaked it for the modern era. With the exception of Correa, Lewis, & Polanco, not a single Twin is safe from being yanked from the game in favor of a better matchup—even as early as the fourth inning. Whether by chance or by design, the Twins have an uber-flexible roster that allows such machinations.
The current Mets vintage isn’t as bad as ‘62—but in terms of expectations it might be worse for Mr. (& Mrs.) Met & Co. Expect to see a bevy of managerial maneuvers this afternoon as the Twins continue whittling away at their AL Central-clinching magic number.
Once again, a different voice will be taking you home with the recap. As you read this, I’m at US Bank Stadium cheering on “that other team” in Minneapolis. Go Twins—and Skol!