Game 13: Royals 10 (5-7), Twins 5 (9-4)
While I feel like venting about the Twins’ loss to the Royals, anybody can go after the team’s missed opportunities with the bases loaded, or how if the Twins had the outfield range of the Royals how much better their pitchers might look. Rather than focusing on the obvious things that went wrong in Sunday’s game, I want to talk about two plays that actually went the Twins’ way, but were still frustrating from my point of view.
In the first inning, my least favorite feature of Target Field came into play. I don’t get the little overhang in right field. In the first inning, Billy Butler hit a shot deep. Cuddyer rightfully positioned himself to play the carom off the wall. Instead of bouncing off the padding like it typically does, the ball hit the hard limestone exterior of the overhang and ricocheted back beyond Cuddyer. Since Butler isn’t the fastest player, and Cuddyer has a cannon, he was thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple. It worked out for the Twins, but I can imagine that balls hit to that general spot in the field will cause fielders to have nightmares down the road.
Later in the game, a bigger pet peeve of mine came into play. I don’t understand how it came to pass in the evolution of baseball that players have to touch the base with ball in hand to earn a force out every time except when there is a possibility of a relay throw for a double play. I want umpires to enforce the rule – the player should have to touch the base with ball in hand. The problem is that umpires don’t enforce to rule, ever. On the rare occasion when one does, like in the bottom of the seventh when Jason Kubel hit into what looked like it might be a double play, I understand why the manager would be upset. Betancourt, in this instance, had no reason to assume that the umpire would veer from the tradition of calling the runner out if the ball and fielder are in the “ballpark” at the same time. Had he known, he might have changed his footwork on the play. Again, it worked out for the Twins, but might have been controversial had it ended up having an impact on the final score.
Stars of the Game (Fan Graphs)
1. Alberto Callaspo (or was it Babe Ruth, I couldn’t tell)
2. Scott Podsednik
3. Joe Mauer
Standings (through Sunday afternoon – early games)
Min 9-4, 69-47, –
Det 6-5, 54-59, 2.0
Cle 6-6, 45-50, 2.5
KC 5-7, 63-71, 3.5
Chi 4-9, 53-55, 5.0
The Twins get a day off before ending the homestand with a three-game series against Cleveland. Probably for Game 1 on Tuesday night are Kevin Slowey and Justin Masterson.