The Same Mistake
Last night at Target Field, I had an upper-deck, bird’s-eye view to one of what had to be the biggest Twins collapses in recent memory. Aside from the obvious blame on Matt Capps for not really getting anyone important out in the ninth inning, this game was lost by our manager. What makes it even more painful is the fact that, earlier in the game, the opposing manager of the Milwaukee Brewers made the exact same mistake…
In the early innings, the Twins absolutely blasted Brewers starter Narveson. Cuddy and Danny V. hit back-to-back jacks to almost an identical spot at one point, and the Twins coasted to a 7-0 lead. At one point, with the Twins up 4-0, Narveson had thrown almost 100 pitches, given up 11 hits, and yet the Brewer bullpen was JUST STARTING to get loose. I figured that the inability to get a reliever into the game who could get outs would be the Brewers’ undoing.
Sadly, I was quite mistaken, and the shoe ended up firmly planted on the other foot. Leading 7-4 going into the bottom of the ninth, “closer” Matt Capps allowed four runs to give the Brewers the lead and eventual victory. While, to be honest, I am not all that surprised about Capps, as I believe he is the most overrated pitcher on our entire team, what absolutely perplexes me is why Gardy would leave him in the game for so long?
If you know anything about Capps, you know that when me melts down, every single fan in the ballpark knows it. He’s a control pitcher with no dominant pitch (not exactly a closer repetoire, to be sure), so when the control isn’t present, it gets ugly quick and doesn’t end for a while. Kind of like if Nick Blackburn doesn’t have his sinker; you KNOW he will struggle.
So, with the game hanging in the balance and potentially Joe Nathan or Phil Dumatrait ready to come in and (at the very least) secure a tie ballgame going into the home half of the ninth, Gardy sticks with Capps who promptly gives up a single and the game with it. If anyone has one rational reason why Capps was allowed to pitch after allowing the tying run, please let me know. To add insult to injury, Dumatrait then came in and got Prince Fielder to ground out on one pitch.
I’m sorry to say it, Gardy, but this one is on you. Everyone makes mistakes, so let’s move on and try to take the series today, but when everyone in the ballpark knows the tide has turned and the pitcher is rattled, it is YOUR job to get him off that mound pronto. Please do not let the “traditional closer role” dictate your thinking. Ditto for “matchups”. Capps needed to be removed, I don’t care if Jim Hoey is coming out of that pen (a profound and terrible statement in and of itself).
Preview (35-46, 4th, 5.5 GB CWS): Zack Greinke (7-3, 5.63) vs. Nick Blackburn (6-6, 3.64)