Monday, June 1, 2009

Where's Joe Nathan?

In the eighth inning of Sunday's game, Jose Mijares gave up a single to put runners on the corners with two outs. Rays manager Joe Maddon then pinch hit for Gabe Gross with Gabe Kapler. This is significant because Gross is a left-handed hitter whose career OPS is almost 200 points higher against right-handed pitchers than against lefties; on the other hand, Kapler is a right-handed hitter whose career OPS is over 100 points lower against righties than against southpaws.

Yet Gardy chose to stick with Mijares rather than sending Joe Nathan in. It's baffling. This is no knock against Mijares, but it makes no sense not to bring in your best pitcher in that situation, especially when you're going to bring him in anyways for the ninth inning (assuming Mijares gets that last out and the Twins don't score a bunch of runs in the top of the inning). Why not send Nathan out there for that extra out, when it's so crucial to the Twins' chances of winning? Mijares did the job this time, but next time a similar move could cost the Twins a victory.

And, in case you were wondering, Mijares and Nathan do both have better career numbers against same-handed hitters.

And it's Monday!

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