Friday, September 19, 2003

Twins Geek V. Rogers
Yesterday, Twins Geek wrote about each managers strategy in the fifth inning of Wednesday's game:

"In the fifth inning last night, the Twins were beating Jon Garland and the Sox 3-0 and were threatening again. They had runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs. Garland looked tired. The left-handed Kelly Wunsch and the right-handed Scott Sullivan were warmed up in the bullpen. And designated hitter Jacque Jones strode to the plate.

And Jerry Manuel didn't bring in his left-handed reliever.

But it gets stranger still. After swinging and missing twice, Jones fisted a ball into left to score a run. Again, there are runners on 1st and 2nd, and the left-handed Corey Koskie came up to bat.

And Jerry Manuel did bring in his left-handed reliever.

So what does this tell us? It tells us that Jerry Manuel would rather see Jacque Jones bat against a tiring right-handed Garland than see Matt LeCroy bat against a left-handed Kelly Wunsch (ERA 2.04). Or maybe even against a right-handed Scott Sullivan."

So it sounds like Twins Geek doesn't have a problem with Manuel, only with Gardenhire playing Jones.

But Phil Rogers had this to say:

"But according to those who talk to them privately, Gardenhire and others in the Twins' organization consider Manuel's job security the best thing to happen to them since the Cleveland Indians downsized.

Whether on television or in person, they often shake their heads about Manuel's maneuvering. The one that had them talking Wednesday was Manuel bringing in lefty Kelly Wunsch to face Koskie, one batter after Jones, another left-handed hitter, had delivered a run-scoring single."

Who's right? Well, I have to diasgree with both. I think Jacque Jones brings a lot to the Twins lineup. He has good speed and decent power. He's stikes out a lot, but has better numbers against righties than LeCroy.

With that said, Rogers is also wrong. I don't think Manuel is a good manager, but I have no problem with letting Garland pitch to Jones in that situation. Garland was pitching on something like six days rest, and was not even at 80 pitches. He shouldn't have been that tired. Now, as it turns out Jones singles and the Twins go up 4-0. Then it was time to go get Garland out of there.

I also believe, that if Koskie and Jones were reversed in the order, the exact same scenario would have played out. Maybe it wasn't the right strategy, but hardly an example of incompetence.