Friday, June 05, 2009

Oh, Wlad... Oh, Wak...

After catching an inning of the Rainiers on TV, I decided to flip over to Felix and the M's. I watched most of the game, flipping back-and-forth to the R's game (Yikes, Hyphen! YAAAAY ADAM!!!). The end of the M's game, however, really shocked me. Rob Johnson amazed me yet again with a reasonably decent defensive performance. My issue with Rob has been with his ability to block low pitches and just his overall catching the ball behind the plate. I've always thought his arm was pretty good, but I never understood why, beyond his arm, he was considered a good catcher. But that's a discussion for another day.

I was surprised that Wlad was still in the game in the bottom of the 9th and in the 10th. The M's strength this year has been pitching and defense. If you don't want to pinch hit for Wlad in the 9th, fine, but you gotta get your glove guy out there. People should know that I've been an advocate of Wlad's defense for awhile, but even I recognize that Endy Chavez is waaaay better out there.

In the top of the 10th, Wlad did his best Raul Ibanez impression and baaadly misplayed a ball, leading to a lead-off double. A walk to Morneau, and then Kubel comes up and jacks one darn near over the fence. Except that Mark Lowe owes Franklin Gutierrez a nice dinner - Gutz comes back with the ball and throws it to 2nd, keeping Morneau from advancing, while Mauer advanced to 3rd. Then we come to a very rare play that you don't see all the time -- a pitch-out on a suicide squeeze call, leading to the runner at 3rd being tagged out. It was a brilliant move, whoever called it. The Twins' batter at the plate tried his darndest to get some wood on the ball, but it was too far out and they were able to nail Mauer before he scored. Between the robbed HR, and the brilliant pitch-out, the M's had some major momentum.

Except, good GRAVY I need to re-consider my stance on Wlad's defense. And Wak's managing. Fastball/flyball pitcher on the mound (Lowe), late in the game and tied at 1 - you want your best OF defense out there. Wlad's un-catch (he nearly caught it, but took another horrible route to the ball) swung the mo' back in the Twin's favor and gave them the lead. There'd better be a good explanation as to why Endy was not out there...

I love Wlad, I really do. But that was some poor play and some poor decision-making out of Wak, too.

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