Twins decision to pull Bailey Ober early in loss to Mariners 'wasn't that difficult of a call'

It certainly seemed like Rocco Baldelli pulled Bailey Ober a bit too early on Tuesday.
Seattle Mariners vs. Minnesota Twins
Seattle Mariners vs. Minnesota Twins / David Berding/GettyImages

If there's one criticism of Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli that has grown over the years , it's his quick hook on starting pitchers.

Sonny Gray wasn't shy about how much Rocco's management of starters bothered him, and many believe that's a major reason why he didn't return to Minnesota this winter. Things seem to have gotten better this year, although Twins starters are averaging less than five innings per game so far.

Part of that is a late change in the rotation, with Louie Varland getting replaced by Simeon Woods Richardson, but a lot of it is Rocco not letting his starters go too deep into games. There's often decent logic behind the decision, but it doesn't make nights like Tuesday night any easier for fans to stomach.

Rocco Baldelli explains why he took Bailey Ober out after five innings vs. Mariners

Bailey Ober allowed two runs on three hits and struck out seven Mariners batters, but was taken out of the game after throwing only 84 pitches. It marked the first time since April 8th that he wasn't allowed to pitch more than five innings, and what happened after he was taken out has fans wondering what exactly Baldelli was thinking.

After the game he tried to explain his decision, noting that Ober wasn't throwing his best stuff and the move was made to avoid him running out of gas.

"It wasn't that difficult of a call for me, taking him out of the game. Taking him out when we did just made sense, I don't think it was anything crazy. It was a pretty standard spot to come out of the game," Baldelli said. "Could he have gone out there and gotten us a few more outs, maybe. But maybe not. He could go out there and throw more pitches if we asked him to, but we had other guys who were fresh."

That last point is debatable, as the Twins bullpen was already pretty taxed and Baldelli burned through Coles Sands in just 13 pitches before taking him out of the game. Minnesota's bullpen has also put in a ton of work over the last stretch of games, so saying the team had fresh arms is a bit of a stretch.

Still, there is a way to spin taking Ober out as the right move which is what Baldelli attempted to do after the game. It wasn't exactly fun to hear how exasperated he was in describing how gassed he thought Ober looked, and perhaps taking him out when he did prevented a larger meltdown.

Doing right by a guy who doesn't look good is good management, even if the optics of a specific situation aren't great. Ober might have been able to go another inning, but if Rocco didn't like what he was seeing, then he has to make the call he did. Minnesota's bullpen, while gassed, has still been good so it was the right gamble to take.

A meltdown did still happen, and it's situations like the one on Wednesday -- right or wrong -- that will forever annoy Twins fans over how Baldelli manages his starters.

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