Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected by Hunter Wendelstedt in the seventh inning of Thursday’s game against the Yankees at Target Field. This put the club down 2-0 and in a bind because Phil Hughes is now on the horizon for Saturday night’s game in the Big Apple.
It was obvious that Carl Pavano was getting squeezed when he appeared to have struck out Lance Berkman; before he hit a double to the left field power alley.
Gardenhire’s early exit to the showers is a culmination of pent up anger and frustration at his club’s inability to hold leads throughout the playoffs. Because the organization have done all that they can do to address the situation.
The additions of Matt Capps and Brian Fuentes were supposed to have remedied this enigma. Yet Minnesota has lost eleven straight playoff games and are on the verge of another elimination game in the ALDS. Eight of these losses have come to the Yankees and the Twins have had the lead in each one of these games.
By Patrick Herbert
This proves that Gardenhire’s club can compete with the gold standard in baseball. While pundits point to the futility of that statistic, the success that it has associated with it should be emphasized. The fact that they have not won a postseason game in six years does not take away from the news that they have made it repeatedly. This was often done with inferior talent due to payroll restraints.
It is true that this was largely negated this season with the added revenue from the new ballpark, but injuries have certainly taken their toll when Joe Nathan and Justin Morneau are not in uniform.
Ron Gardenhire has the uncanny ability of finding gems that were discarded or buried in the minor leagues. Third baseman Danny Valencia provided some pop from the hot corner and Delmon Young emerged to start living up to his potential. He must not have had my middle school gym teacher who incessantly said, “Potential just means you’re not doing what you’re supposed to.”
It’s not as bad as a coach repeating “can’t stand ya” ad nauseam like George Costanza’s instructor did in Seinfeld, but it was annoying nonetheless. The point is that the Twins staff was able to achieve what the Rays’ brain trust could not. Jim Thome brings his energy and enthusiasm to any clubhouse that he enters.
His ratio of home runs per at bat is extremely efficient and is evidence that the manager is using him in the correct situations and pacing his rest effectively. The starting pitchers are largely in the realm of coach Rick Anderson, but it is Gardenhire’s job to delegate and fill the vacancies on his staff. Finally, the re-signing of catcher Joe Mauer is due to the influence of Ron Gardenhire. The stability that he brings puts players of a calm demeanor like Mauer at ease. It falls into line with the “Minnesota nice” mantra.
Hunter Wendelstedt may disagree.