26-17: Welcome to the Doghouse, Ron Mahay


(win probability chart via you-know-who)

This game should never have gone to extra innings. Kevin Slowey was not exactly sharp or efficient, but he held the Brewers to just two runs in 5.2 innings (btw, there’s an excellent read on Slowey’s struggles here). Brian Duensing didn’t have his best outing in relief, but Matt Guerrier saved the day (to that point, anyway) by pitching a couple of scoreless innings. Then, in the ninth, Ron Gardenhire decided for some reason that it would be a good idea to put in Ron Mahay. Now, Mahay is, at best, a lefty specialist. Even though the Twins had a four-run lead, Mahay should not be facing right-handed hitters for any reason, not even if they are the 7-8-9 hitters of the Milwaukee order (I think they’re all right-handed, anyway, I’m too drunk and lazy to go look it up). Mahay promptly loaded the bases with nobody out, which prompted Gardy to yank him in favor of Jon Rauch. Now, Rauch is a solid reliever and he’s done a good job as the defacto closer, but he’s no Joe Nathan. His 6.75 K/9 ratio (I meant rate.  Drinking and blogging don’t mix, kids)  was bound to catch up to him eventually, such as in a bases-loaded, no-out situation that he would probably never have been in if Gardy had gone to him in the first place. A double, a single and a misplayed fly ball to left later, the Brewers tied the game. After a couple of innings of bases-loaded futility, the Twins finally scored the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Jason Kubel. So, the Twins won anyway, but Mahay better watch his back. Anthony Slama and Kyle Waldrop are breathing down his neck.

Best hitters:

1) Justin Morneau, .383 WPA. Morneau was on fire, going 5-3 with two walks, two runs, and an RBI. He drew a crucial walk in the 12th, which set up Kubel’s game-winning sac fly.

2) Michael Cuddyer, .286 WPA. Cuddles did his best to help the Twins win this game, going 3-6 and reaching base in every plate appearance after the ninth inning.

3) Delmon Young, .239 WPA. Delmon went 1-5 with a walk, but his 3 RBI were among the most important of the game. He drove in the game-tying run after his misplay of a fly ball allowed the Brewers to take the lead in the ninth.

Best pitcher:

Alex Burnett, .300. Burnett shut the Brewers down through two innings, after Rauch and Mahay coughed up the lead in the ninth.

Most important play of the game:

For the entire game, it was the game-tying double Casey McGhee hit off of Jon Rauch in the ninth (.390 WPA). For the Twins, it was Delmon’s game-tying double off of Carlos Villanueva in the bottom of the same inning (.377 WPA).