June 2006

Game 73 – Pirate K-Rations

Click the Play Button to see 50 K’s in 5 days

The Pirates now have the 5th highest number of strikeouts in the NL, having passed the Phillies. Regrettably, we are just one strikeout away from taking 4th place from the Reds. Talk about limiting your own offensive opportunities.. whew!

The funny part about it is, the Pirates have the 2cd fewest walks too, showing how little any team worries about them. In fact, opposing pitchers are plucking our batters at record rates (highest in the NL), as if hitting them means they will be scared next time to the plate. It seems to be working.

When we do put the ball in play, we often hit into another league leading double play – just like Bay tonight with two men on in the 9th inning to end the game. His second of the night.

Snell pitched his typical ‘you can’t hit me until you see me the third time’ type of game tonight. Nothing fancy.. nothing cute. He threw strikes are prayed someone would handle the hammered ball in play. For the most part, we did.. until the dreaded 6th inning when the Royals scored four off Snell to tie the game.

Amazingly, our defense held up.. Paulino picked a runner off 2B, Burnitz made a couple of fine plays in RF, the infield handled a few hot shots, and Bay had the typical ball land near his feet. With the game tied in the bottom of the eighth, it was if the players decided they had a poker game to go to and a grounder rolls under Jack’s glove for a single then Torres gives up a HR. Royals win.

Offensively, Bay left another 7 individual runners on base tonight, the 3, 4, and 5 hitters combined to go 0 – 10, and we had six AB where runners were left in scoring position with the batter making the third out. Brutal.

I called for hitting coach Jeff Manto’s head way back in April, pushed for it again in May, and will now call for it again – he is in WAY over his head. I understand he has a roster of streaky hitting average hitters but when batters are averaging 37% of all strikes as called strikes, something is drastically wrong with their approach. Tonight it was 39% off a KC Royal staff that came in dead last in the AL in ERA giving up over 6 runs per game. I mean, comeon now.

With their win tonight, the Kansas City Royals have won four of their last five games against NLCD teams. Joey Gaitright was a spark plug pickup this week for them, he scored the first run for the Royals tonight in his first game as a Royal, and you could just see the momentum shift on the field.

The Pirates? They fall to 1-8 since Littlefield’s ‘I’m a seller’ announcement on the 12th. One thing for sure, we can’t let the Cubs slide past us to 6th place. The bounty is too high for the number 1 pick in the 2007 draft next year. Way too high (ie: David Price). If we are going to stink, and We Will, let’s at least get something in return for the odor. Imagine Price and Lincoln in the rotation in 2011? Wow.

— tidbits —

Pirates have provided their starters the lowest run support in the NL this year, as if that comes as any surprise.

Joe Randa announced he will retire after this season.. no ifs, ands, or buts. No doubt he wants to run and hide now.

What is it with the Pirates not retaliating for opposing pitchers hitting our batters? Tonight Casey was hit twice and we didn’t even throw inside one time, much less throw one off someones backside. Baseball has become a wimpy game in Pittsburgh.

Yes, Freddy had another miscue at 3B.. he misplayed a Gaitright bunt by charging too hard and Gaitright tried to push it past him. The end result was Freddy falling on his rear end as he attempted to throw him out at 1B. Nothing on the throw = safe at 1B.

Yes, Castillo had two more running errors on the base paths tonight on back to back plays. The first one he just stopped running 1st to 2cd on a GB hit to 2B, they throw to 1B for the out then a run down ensued and Jose made it to 2B without being tagged, or so the ump said. The replay showed Castillo was clearly tagged out. The next play a GB is hit in front of him to SS and he breaks for 3B and is out by a country mile. Just who is in charge of the team anymore, anyway?

Game 72 – Sad, Sad Game….

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, WHAM! This game was a repeat of the May 14th Marlins game.. times 10.

I had the typical 500 video shots and photos of poor defensive plays like passed balls, booted balls, missed balls, bad throws, no throws, and assorted other miscues all locked and loaded to show you tonight, but it isn’t fair to continue showing how irresponsible our players are playing, how selfish they act and react on the field, or how one-dimensional they are as a group.

I will say, however, this was one of the worst games this team has played this year. If Jim Tracy doesn’t go off on them as a group tonight then he shouldn’t be managing. I would be benching all three infielders for a week and giving Paulino some pine time to rest. Dang Freddy’s batting run.. dang Jack’s defense.. dang Jose.. Play Bautista at 3B, Randa at 2B, Hernandez at SS, Nate in CF, and Cota behind the plate.

At least we will have players on the field that hustle and understand what baseball is all about. I’d rather score no runs than be the Mickey Mouse capital of baseball. Maybe after a week of riding the pine they will find some balls and some heart to play.

Kip’s debut was as expected – he was rusty, he had a hard time finding the strike zone with ump Tim Timmons behind the plate, and he lost his strength a lot earlier than I thought he would. Kip isn’t close to being ready to return to the rotation.. he needs to go down to Indy and the Pirates front office needs to just forget about his trade value ala Kris Benson. If Santos can’t pitch, then bring Gorzy up and let’s start getting some innings under the kid’s belt.

Geez.. did anybody – even one person – think they would be saying at the end of June that ‘I can’t wait for Ian Snell to get us a win’? Anybody? Wow.. how sad.

We are really brutal.

— tidbits —

1-7 since Littlefield’s June 12th announcement that he is a seller this year.

Jay made a great comment in another thread about why wasn’t Randa playing 3B and Freddy DH’ing tonight since Joe’s D is obviously better than Sanchez at 3B. I had considered that Jay but I really think you have to continue to evaluate if Freddy can get the position down, especially while he is wailing the ball. Think of him as a potential Bill Matlock, albeit Bill had a much better glove it seems.

Tracy needs to start handing out pine for poor performance. At some point he has to say ‘I’ve had enough’. There was a rumor floating when Tracy was hired that Colborn, Lett, and T-bone would all retire after their contracts expire in Pittsburgh. You just might see a Tracy revolt and him resign if this keeps up. He has less control of the clubhouse than Mac did in his worst days. We’ll have to see.

Did anyone else notice Vogelsong wasn’t wearing his choker beads today? Nor did he do his typical bend down and tie his shoes thing before he started to pitch. What’s up with that Ry?

Cutch went 1-3 in the SAL All-Star game tonight. Congrats Cutch! He looked good at the plate his first two times up but the third he was swinging wildly at balls out of the zone, which is not like Cutch at all. I wonder if all the pressure of him hitting in the three hole (longer swings) is messing up his approach? We’ll have to revisit this later in the year.

Breaking News – Watch SAL ASG Free!

The SAL All-Star Game can be watched for free at 8 pm tonight if you tune here: View ASG (pre-game starts at 7:35 pm EST).

Good luck Cutch, Lerud, Lillibridge, and Munoz who are attending from the Dads.

• Pitcher Luis Munoz, who has a 4-1 record with a 2.22 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 65 innings pitched in the first half of the season.

• Catcher Steve Lerud, who is hitting .254 with seven home runs and 34 RBIs.

• Shortstop Brent Lillibridge. He is hitting .285 with 10 home runs, 40 RBIs and has stolen 24 bases.

• Outfielder Andrew McCutchen, who has six home runs, has driven in 38 runs and is hitting .288.

The Crawdads finished 33-36 in the first half of the Northern Division race, ending up in sixth place and 11 games back of first-half winner Lexington, Ky.

Lincoln is ABCA’s PoY!

"National honors continued to pour in Monday for University of Houston junior righthander/DH Brad Lincoln as he was named the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings Player of the Year.

It was the second national player of the year honor for Lincoln, who received the prestigious **** Howser Trophy prior to the start of the NCAA College World on Friday.

In addition, the Clute, Texas, native is a finalist for the Brooks Wallace Award to be named on July 3-4 in Lubbock, Texas, and the Roger Clemens Award, awarded to the nation’s top collegiate pitcher on July 12 in Houston.

Lincoln also was named to the ABCA/Rawlings All-America First Team as a pitcher/utility player for his performances throughout the 2006 season. He was named to previous All-America First Teams by Baseball America magazine, Collegiate Baseball magazine and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association…

The ABCA All-America Teams are collegiate baseball’s oldest selections, dating to 1949. All Division I coaches have the opportunity to nominate and vote on these selections, which are initially compiled into eight All-Region teams. These teams are then finalized as the first, second and third All-America teams by the ABCA’s NCAA Division I All-America and Coach of the Year Committee, chaired by Pat McMahon of the University of Florida. This year, the committee selected 58 players as 2006 ABCA All-Americans." — CSTV

Game 71 – Snake Bit.. by Rookies

Baseball America rated the Diamondbacks as having the #1 farm system in baseball this year from 13th two years ago. The Pirates farm rating has tanked since Littlfield took over and was rated 19th best in 2006 (as I gag wondering who bribed Callis, et al).

Looking at the six top selections in the 2003 and 2004 rankings for each team, I highlighted in red the players who contributed to the game today from those lists. Here was the contributions from those players by team:


In the 4th inning alone, Hairston hit a double to bring home Byrnes and Snyder hit a clutch two-out single to score two more.

That was three of the four runs the Diamondbacks put on the board in the 4th to take the lead 4-0 off Duke, one of the Pirates highlighted talent. Pretty amazing, huh?

In the 11th, Snyder, who could have hit into a DP to end the inning, hit a single to keep the inning going leaving Estrada to single home the winning run.

I suppose we could look at it a different way and show that Castillo, Paulino, Sanchez, Bay, Bautista, and McLouth went 5 – 20 batting .250 in this game, which is not bad considering only Bay is ranked in the above top 6 lists.

Or we can be realists and understand that the Pirates have picked ahead of the Diamondbacks in every single draft since 2000 and wonder how in the world can we be so far behind in talent?

Essentially, AZ’s farm system has taken 5 of 6 games from us this year and won three of the 5 games by one run. They have heart.. they have desire.. they have the will.. they have some luck. The Pirates don’t have any of that – it’s that simple.

Duke simply lost his composure on the mound in the 4th with HP ump Chad Fairchild’s inconsistent 14" strike zone and never regained it. Duke was behind in the count to 11 of 23 batters and walked three. After Duke walked in a runner in the 4th, Colborn went to the mound and seemingly scolded Paulino and Duke by waiving his hands around like he was saying ‘so what – throw strikes’. Chris Young pitched a great game not too long ago against the Pirates with Fairchild behind the plate so it can be done. Zach just lost it after his 27th pitch.

Interestingly, in Zach’s last outing vs. the Cards on the 14th he also lost it at the 30 pitch mark and opened the 3rd by allowing a walk and then gave up 4 straight singles, got an out, then another single and saw 4 runs cross the plate in the inning. The game before that vs. the Giants on the 8th it was at the 37 pitch count when he gave up a leadoff single, a walk, a home run, and saw 2 runs score on him. Earlier in the year, opponents had been wailing him in the 1st or 2cd innings but he adjusted to that pretty good. Unfortunately, he just delayed it a bit. Maybe he just gets bored? Loses concentration? Colborn needs to watch this a bit closer, imo.

The offense is still on vacation. The note on the door says ‘Kansas City Here We Come’ but I’m not so sure Mr. Mark Redman doesn’t throw a no-hitter as thin as our bats are lately. Maybe Tracy needs to get out the pink Mother’s Day bats? We had some many opportunities to win this game it wasn’t funny, including a bases loaded, no outs, opportunity and all three batters K’d.. off a highlighted rookie above – Aquinto.

Defensively, the game was played much better than of late other than Paulino/Duke not getting down Fairchild’s strike zone early. Sanchez had one go off his chest for yet another error, Castillo made a great catch of a bad Jack Wilson throw (Punch and Judy again you say?), Bautista made a couple of highlight reel plays, and Jack even made an excellent play himself.

Chalk this one-run loss up to no desire by the Buccos and the Diamondbacks farm players playing with more heart and desire.

— tidbits —

Nice to see Casey break out of the 0-18 slump he was in coming into today’s game. Even Burnitz got a couple of hits..  wonders never cease, huh?

I was going to raise another stink over Jim Tracy’s ridiculous statements quoted in the Post-Gazette yesterday but I am going to just move on. Bucco Blog has already stated numerous times that the clubhouse is like a cancer institute with all the cliques, and we have already mentioned the fact that Tracy and Littlefield run their mouths way too much in the press degrading the players. ‘Nuff said.

Breaking News – Bay is now in Starting Lineup

Pirates released the message just a few minutes ago that Bay is now 3rd in the ASG voting this week:

CLICK HERE TO HEAR THE NEWS RELEASE (requires Windows Media Player)


A Very Sexy Week.. just three errors!

Well, three errors on the scorecards anyway.

Game 70 – Ollie is Gold; Jack-n-Freddy are Putrid


The Freddy and Jack Show is starting to look more and more like the Punch and Judy Show everyday.

In the last two games, these two guys have gotten four hits, been erased off the base paths in three of the four hits they got, made a throwing error that cost us one of the games, and was out of position on a critical play that ended up extending an inning that eventually cost us the second game.

In other words, they wiped 23% of all our base runners in the two-games on their own and each player’s defense significantly contributed to one of the losses.

I hear you.. Jose has been pretty bad too. You are right. So has Craig.. so has Bay. About the only two players I have seen hustling day-in and day-out are Jose Bautista and a semi-hurt Sean Casey, albeit Sean’s inability to bend in a stretch today probably helped cost the game Everybody else is playing lazy, confused, inattentive baseball for the most part.

Maybe Jack is pressing because he is batting .210/.234 in June? Maybe Freddy’s head is in the clouds because of the batting championship thing? Maybe Jose is reaching because he is hitting just .222 in June? I mean, almost half of the everyday players are heading for the Mendoza line so fast in June it isn’t funny.

Last year this team went 4-13 after Littlefield told the media June 13th he was going to be a seller at the trade deadline. This year he said basically the same thing on basically the same day and the team has gone 1-5 since his announcement. Deja Vu? Sure.. we have faced some good pitching lately but we also had most of the games won until our D collapsed, for the most part.

I’m sorry, but the Littlefield way isn’t working and I don’t care if he is around 100 years, his management style and capabilities will never produce a winner in Pittsburgh. He needs to be the first one canned.. and it better come pretty quick for the organization’s sake.

Ok – enough ranting. Today Perez pitched one of the best games I have seen from him in the last two years. He worked the plate up and down and side to side, he mixed his speeds well, and he kept the Twins batters off-balanced all day. He deserved to win. Unfortunately for Perez, his defense didn’t hold up for him.

In the video above you will see Sean Casey’s inability to stretch out for Jack’s wild throw to him in the 8th. There were two outs and the game was tied. If either Jack *or* Sean make this play, the inning is over. Once Castillo is on 1B, it is damage control time for Oliver when Punto takes advantage of a known Freddy Sanchez inability – fielding bunts. Not only does Perez not handle the bunt, but Freddy is nowhere to be seen – he should have been the one making this play but isn’t even the picture until Punto is one-third the way down the line – or more.

Then you will see Perez’s reaction in the dugout.

After Oliver was pulled, the circus act continued its tent work putting on show after show. Jose with another bad throw for the week, Vogelsong throwing high heat and the Twins teeing off on him, balls falling in all over the place.. the typical high wire act.

You have to wonder why Tracy leaves Casey out there late in close games when he isn’t 100%. I have to admit this is only the 4th time I have seen Sean not be able to make a relatively simple stretch for a throw off the bag, and the other three really didn’t impact the game, but this one did. If Tracy puts McLouth in RF as a defensive sub late, he should consider moving Craig to 1B until Sean is healthy.

Offensively we had a chance today but, ironically, both rallies in the 2cd and 3rd were killed by Freddy and Jack. Craig delivered an rbi single in the 4th and that was it until Bay went yard in the 9th. BTW, Bay’s HR was the first rbi by any of our 3-4-5 hitters since last weekend. *ouch*

— tidbits —

I have gained a lot of respect for Kevin McClatchy as a baseball fan for sitting behind the plate every day he can and watching his team take a beating over and over. I saw he was gone today while Perez pitched which now makes it 5 of the last 7 games McClatchy has not been behind the plate when Perez pitched. Two of the games were at CO and AZ so Kevin probably didn’t have the right to a seat behind the plate anyway.

Since Colborn pulled Perez out of the rotation after his May 5th start, Perez has pitched well in 5 of 7 starts. One of the two bad starts was the rain drenched, two hour plus delayed game June 2cd and the other bad start was in Colorado vs the Rockies. But in those 5 games, Perez’s GSc (Game Score) has been 54 or higher each outing which is very good. Bucco Blog revealed on June 8th a difference in Oliver’s mechanics and so far it is paying dividends for Perez. Kudos to Colborn.

Looking forward.. Kip pitches against the Royals Tuesday in KC. While Kip has done well (no pun intended) against the Royals batters that have seen him (.145/.211/.253 career vs Kip), Wells has not fared well at Kauffman Stadium, albeit he is 2-0. His career numbers there include a 7.62 ERA, 1.77 WHIP, 6 BB/9, and 11 runs in 13 innings of work. Small sample size alert, of course. He will be facing the one and only Mark Redman who Pirate batters tend to chew up and spit out, so Kip should have a good game. Good luck to you Kip.

Game 69 – The Nightmares Continue

Maholm pitched a pretty good game until the sun left the field and then the Twins bats woke up a bit. In the 3rd inning Kubel takes him yard to leadoff the inning and two pitches later Tiffee goes yard too. Those were the first 2 hits of Maholm.

Obviously a bit shaken up, and not getting any support from Paulino or Colborn in the way of a walk to the mound to comfort the kid, Maholm gets the pitcher out in 3 pitches and then his lack of confidence starts to show as he fell behind the count on a 3-1 hammered GB to Jack, and then on a 2-0 pitch Maholm comes in to Bartlett who lines one to CF for a single. With Mauer at the plate, Bartlett takes off to try and steal 2B and Paulino throws him out. On the replay, Bartlett is safe and the Bucs got a call.

The rest of the game was all Maholm’s as he retired 7 straight after regaining his confidence and getting his sinker down in the zone. Then Marte gives up a solo home run on the 8th (just the 2cd allowed this year by Marte) and then the Pirates defensive circus act comes back to PNC in the 9th when Jose allows a simple groundball to go under his glove that would have been the third out. The next batter gets an rbi to take the Twins up by 2.

For the Pirates, Boof Bonser was on the mound for the Twins. He is a right-handed AAA pitcher who came into the game with an ERA near 6 in five games this year, averaging 17 pitches per inning, and while he had K’d 22 in 26 innings of work to his credit, he had also allowed opponents to wail him to the tune of a .341 BA when on the mound.

Boof quickly discards the first 7 Pirate batters like he is a Cy Young candidate. In the 3rd inning  with the sun finally clearing off the field, the next 12 pitches Boof throws Castillo flies out, Paulino takes him yard, Maholm strokes a single, then Nate walks. Jack comes up to the plate with 2 men on and hits a little ground ball to SS for a DP to end the inning.

In the 4th inning and one out, Bay singles then steals 2B on Boof’s second pitch, and Burnitz hammers a double high off the right field wall.

Bay made it all the way to 3B. (*sarcasm intended*)

Sanchez then comes up and hits a broken bat flair into left-center that forces Bay to come home whether he wanted to or not and Burnitz follows him like a puppy dog. Two runs score. Freddy is at 1B. Jose gets an infield hit off of Boof’s reliever Kyle Lohse, and Freddy goes to 2B.

Up to the plate comes Paulino who hit the HR the previous inning.. Jose at 1B and Freddy at 2B and only one out. Ronny works the count to 3-2 and all of a sudden Freddy breaks on first pitcher movement toward 3B like he is a deer caught in headlights, Lohse turns and throws to 3B and Freddy is tagged out. Two pitches later, Paulino K’s. Inning over.

The very next inning – the 5th – with two outs, Jack Wilson hits a slow roller on the infield and beats it out. Casey comes to the plate and works the count to 1-2 over six pitches, fouling off a lot to stay alive. Next pitch Lohse stretches and Jack makes a startling move toward 2B, Lohse turns and picks him off at 1B. Inning over.

The next twelve Pirates batters are mowed down like a semi making road kill.

Maholm’s mistakes were that he allowed too many walks and pitched behind in the count too often. Kubel’s HR was off a 2-1 count where Maholm had to come in and Tiffee simply took advantage of Maholm’s breached confidence by swinging like a wild man on the second pitch he saw that went over the wall for his 4th career HR. Marte’s HR allowed was a heater up in the zone – a pitch I’m sure he would want back.

Offensively, we took ourselves out of the game with ridiculous running mistakes and nobody seeing the baseball off mainly AAA pitchers. It is almost like the Pirates streaky bats have gone silent once again. Bay’s last 2 at bats were both K’s and the second one he swung at a pitch at least a foot off the plate.. maybe more.

Pittsburgh’s media outlets (the organizational friendly types like the Post-Gazette) will probably not tell you about Freddy or Jack being picked off, or Jose’s error, or any of the other bad PR stuff. And Tracy will probably proclaim this to be a game where the Pirates fell ‘just big hit short’ of a win but, obviously, that wasn’t the case, although I guess he can say things like that about any game we lose, huh?

I have a feeling Sunday’s game is not going to be pretty.

— tidbits —

Sean Casey’s offensive production has declined steadily from his career numbers in the last couple months, as you can see above. His June numbers are just .268/.339/.339 over 15 games after coming off the DL. He says he is 100%, but if you read my blog, you know I have stressed he doesn’t look close to being 100%. Not even 75%. In Sean’s last 5 games, he is just 2-20 for a .100 BA.

There are rumors in the media that the Pirates are wanting to sign Casey to a three year deal at $18m. Some of the Moneyball sites list Casey’s value this year at about $7m so far, but I tend to think they are looking too heavily at his first few weeks than they are his last few. Without any clue as to Casey’s true physical condition, all I can do is go off what I see and what I see isn’t worth $6m per year over three years *unless* Littlefield has a trade partner lined up. His health is simply not good and Littlefield would be taking on too much risk, imo.

The Pirates announced Santos had a fingernail issue on the mound as we thought. Santos says he wants to pitch come Tuesday but I suspect we’ll see Littlefield let Wells come on back and throw Santos on the DL to make room for him. Just a guess.

I am hearing solid rumors that David Littlefield has a solid deal for Oliver Perez. I don’t know who it is to but I have heard the rumor from more than one source now. We’ll see what happens in the next week.

Game 68 – Captain Hook Forgot the Hook

The 2006 Bill James Handbook has a section devoted to current manager’s records and one of the stats tracked is the manager’s use of quick and slow hooks on starting pitchers over their career as a manager.

Of active managers in 2006, Jim Tracy has employed the second quickest hook over his career 47% of the time. Only Felipe Alou is higher at 49%. However, much of Alou’s higher numbers came from when he was managing young Expo pitchers in the 90’s back when David Littlefield was the Director of Player Development. To give you a better idea, the last three years Alou has been with the Giants he has averaged about 35% quick hooks.. about 6% lower than the league average.

Jim Tracy’s high number’s come from his management style – not youthful rosters. In baseball circles he is known as ‘Captain Hook’ because at the first sign of trouble, he quick hooks his starters. In 2005, Tracy was criticized for his lack of quick hooks – just 44% and the lowest in his career and having fallen steadily since 2003 when he posted a 50%. Tracy was also put under the gun for ‘breaking arms’ because he required his relievers to be warming up innings before they were needed.. just in case.

Tonight was a perfect example of a slow hook by Tracy. Snell pitched very well through the 6th having thrown only 28% balls out of 75 pitches. He then opened the 7th by walking Punto over nine pitches and then Mauer crushed the third pitch for a liner to the LF wall and Bay got a lucky bounce to hold him to a single. So up to that point, Snell had thrown 42% balls in the inning, allowed a walk, and Mauer crushed a 94 mph heater the opposite way. That was when Colborn made a call to the bullpen to get someone warming up.

But it was way too late.

In Tracy’s old days, after Snell walked the first batter he would have sent Colborn to the mound to talk to Snell and then watched how Snell handled the next batter. And, when Tracy saw Mauer crush Snell’s best pitch, that would have been it for Snell and a reliever on the way in. But not tonight because Tracy didn’t have anyone ready in the pen.. or even close to being ready.

Seemingly, Snell was left out there to find out if he had the guts and capability to get out of his jam. Maybe Tracy simply had jet lag – who knows. But Tracy knew Snell’s stats indicated that he typically starts getting hammered the second time through the order, albeit this year it has been a bit better, and Snell was now working the order for the third time.

Tracy knew he was pushing the envelope with Snell but was showing the young man his confidence in him (negligently?) by not having anyone up in the pen. Tracy also knew the Twins bullpen was one of the best in MLB and he probably wasn’t going to see his Pirates come from behind to win if the Twins got a lead because we had only done that in 4% of previous games.. well below league average.

So, men on 1st and 2cd, no outs, and Snell still on the mound with Marte just starting to throw in the pen and Snell promptly throws nine straight strikes over the plate resulting in a single, a double, a sac fly, and three runs scored that allowed the Twins to take the lead and never look back. That also allowed them to win just their 3rd game out of 24 played where they had been trailing after 6 innings all year. And this was a Twins team that was 10-24 on the road coming in. *ouch*

E = Tracy.

Stats, Inc needs a new statistic called manager blown games.

Ok.. this team has to develop and the only way we are going to do that is to expose these young pitchers to hardships and see if they can work through it. I understand that as a fan. But Tracy also has to have some heart for his offense too. The team had taken the lead against one of the best pitchers in baseball on their own turf playing very hard and the lead *might* have been better protected if Tracy had acted sooner. After all, Snell has average just over 5 innings in his outings this year.. expecting and getting more than his median would have been just luck. Plus, let’s be honest here – is Snell *really* in the org’s long-range plan as a starter? I seriously doubt it.

It is *brutal* to watch a game like this be seemingly wasted on poor managing.

Oh – and Tracy, what the HE LL was the point in loading the bases with an intentional walk to Bartlett in the 9th inning with one out when you have Mike Gonzalez on the mound who had the third highest ball to strike rate of any pitcher in MLB in 2005? Plus, he *just* walked home a run not more than three weeks ago. I mean, if you expect your players to learn lessons, you have to show by example. Geezz..

Tough loss.. heart stomping loss.. the type of loss that sends a team tanking.