Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Rulebook

Entering the 9th inning of a 2-2 tie game this afternoon, Ron Gardenhire scanned his list of relievers for fresh arms. Romero and Crain had pitched the night before, and Rincon had carried a 2-inning load on Monday, so his core setup men may have felt a tad weary. Matt Guerrier could have been available after throwing just 8 pitches last night, but Gardy tries not to use him unless he needs someone to eat innings when the team is behind. That's how Guerrier's role is defined in the Manager's Rulebook, and rules are rules. He may just need Guerrier to pitch 3 innings tomorrow against the Tigers. You never know. So, being a tie score in the 9th and possibly a long set of extra innings ahead, what could Gardy do but turn to his old friend, the crafty veteran, noted Tao Nutritionist, the Rubber Arm himself, Terry Mull... NO!


He did NOT bring in Terry Mulholland!

Of course, it was a home game! Therefore, once you get to the 9th with a tie score, that eliminates the need to reserve your closer for a Save Situation as dictated by the Sutter-Eckersley bylaw of the trusted Manager's Rulebook. (It's a little known fact, although you may have realized it intuitively by now, that Scott Ullger's only tangible functions in the organization are to 1) make sure the hitting videos get rewound every night, 2) be the lookout while other coaches slip gag items into players' lockers, and 3) see to it that the Manager's Rulebook gets packed for every road trip.)
So, there being no
Save Situation in play, Gardy was free to use his best available reliever to hold the score. Enter Joe Nathan. And, thanks to a little help from the high baggy in keeping Miguel Tejada in the yard, our ace closer put a zero in the book to keep the game tied.

For the bottom of the 9th, Lee Mazzilli, thumbing through his own copy of the Rulebook, noted that he was a long ways away from Camden Yards and therefore was obligated to tap...

Jason Grimsley!

Jason Grimsley, the former KC Royal, fresh off the 60-day DL and rehabbing after Tommy John surgery, rushed back about 2 months before he was expected to return. That Jason Grimsley.

Advantage, Twins.

The first pitch Jacque Jones saw, he buggy-whipped into the Leftfield bleacher seats. Said Grimsley after the game: "Ninety times out of 100, he's going to pull the ball." Left unsaid, but perhaps implied, is the truth that in the 10 times when a pitcher leaves a fat fastball UP and over the outside half of the plate, Jones will smack a deep fly over the Leftfielder's head. Which goes to show, when a manager leaves a tight game in the hands of his marginal relievers, even "90 times out of 100" may not be quite the favorable percentage that it seems.

Thankfully, the Twins were at home this afternoon, so the percentages--and The Rulebook--were working in our favor.


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