43-36: The Bullpen (and Alfonso Marquez) Blow it


Fangraphs (click on image for larger view)

I had to work last night and didn’t get to see any of this game. It’s probably for the best, as I don’t think my television would’ve survived the ensuing wrath from the worst blown call ever. With runners on first and second, and nobody out because Matt Guerrier just didn’t have it last night, Willy Aybar lined a single to left that scored what would become the decisive run. Delmon Young noticed Kelly Shoppach was trying to go from first to third, and alertly threw the ball to Michael Cuddyer who tagged him out by about 20 feet. Or so it seemed. Shoppach appealed to third-base umpire Alfonso Marquez, who inexplicably agreed that Cuddles never touched him, even though it is obvious to anyone who has eyes and a functioning occipital cortex that he did. There’s a good screencap of the action here, including Marquez staring directly at Cuddy’s glove as it tags Shoppach in the stomach, and I really don’t know what to say except ROBOT UMPIRES NOW PLEASE. I don’t care about the human element, I want to win a fucking game. Also, Kelly Shoppach is on my shit list and I hope the Rays never win another game as long as he is on the roster.

That said, it wasn’t the blown call that cost the Twins this game. Nope, that was Jon Rauch blowing the save. I’m not going to get down on Rauch too much, as every closer blows saves from time-t0-time, and he’s actually done a pretty good job up to this point. It didn’t help that the Mayor was throwing meatballs, either, or that Gardy inexplicably decided to burn through his entire bullpen in a tie game in the first of a four-game series. I love Gardy, but ugh.

Having said all that, there were some bright spots in this game:

Best hitter:

Delmon Young, .232 WPA. At least Beast Mode did his best to make his former team regret letting him go. He went 2-4 with the game-tying home run in the seventh.

Best pitcher:

Jose Mijares, .112 WPA. Neck Fat pitched an entire scoreless inning in relief. And even though he was the loser in all of this, Carl Pavano is a close-enough second. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he held the Rays to three runs in 6.2 innings. It’s too bad the bullpen couldn’t make it stick.