Should Gardenhire have pulled Kevin Slowey from his no-hit bid?

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The first place Minnesota Twins are in the midst of their perennial quest to capture the Central Division of the American League. As you may have noticed Sunday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire took Kevin Slowey out of the game after 106 pitches; and before he had given up a hit.

Jon Rauch promptly entered the game and gave up a base hit squashing any hopes that remained for a combined no-hitter. What follows are some pros and cons stemming from Gardenhire’s tactic.

By Patrick Herbert

Pros:

-The aforementioned pitch count for Slowey was 106. In the modern era the century mark is often the maximum that managers allow their players. This keeps them healthy for the long haul and is effective for pitchers to utilize their muscle memory.

-Slowey was making his first start off the disabled list from a bout with elbow tendonitis. This is the primary reason Gardenhire made his decision. As seen with Carlos Beltran and Jimmy Rollins, players rarely are at full strength when they come back to action.

Some of this is due to their desire to play the game they love; the other part of the equation is the necessity for their teams to have them in the line-up as teams make playoff pushes and managers try to keep their jobs.

-Kevin Slowey used words like “disappointed” and “encouraged” following the game. Mixed emotions are understandable. In his mind, his performance was encouraging and the decision was “disappointing.” A pitcher’s psyche is always a delicate matter.

-By taking out Slowey, the organization gave him an outstanding chance to garner the victory. With each pitch Slowey likely would have lost more velocity and his chances of giving up runs would have increased. Plus, hitters are able to time pitchers and notice tendencies the more times that they see his pitches.

-Nick Blackburn has not met expectations lately. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that Slowey be effective in the rotation and become an inning eater. Gardenhire was just trying to look at the big picture.

-On a related matter, Justin Morneau is out indefinitely with concussion related symptoms. The team will probably score less runs with him out of the line-up and will have to pitch very effectively to win consistently.

Cons:

-Ron Gardenhire did not allow Slowey his chance at history. As evidenced by the booing, the fans were not happy with the decision. Fans do pay the players’ salaries and Target Field is sold out on a regular basis. Part of the game is the entertainment factor and the patrons would have been more entertained if Slowey had continued to pitch further into the game.

-This decision could have made the players lose some confidence in the manager. Pitchers may now wonder what they have to do to stay in the game if even a no-hitter is not up to snuff.

-Why take a chance with the bullpen when Slowey was moving the A’s down? Middle relief is undoubtedly the weakest part of any pitching staff.

-The pitch count was stated as a pro for the managerial decision above. It is now going to be cited as a con because some view this statistic as overrated. Nolan Ryan is adamant that the Rangers minimize this aspect in their preparation and game planning.

The pro section is substantially longer than the con portion.

This is why Ron Gardenhire is peceived as one of the top managers in the game by pundits. His track record is one of immense success and he made the right decision in this instance. A politician cannot govern by what would be popular at the polls and a manager cannot make decisions that which way the wind blows

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Comments

  1. Herbs the word… spins the verb

  2. Patrick Herbert says

    Thanks for reading the blog. I will get back to you on the language factor. I spend most of my time with the golf and tennis crowd.

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