Twins postgame: The bunt debacle edition

Posted on August 31st, 2008 – 1:02 AM
By Joe Christensen

OAKLAND – As you can imagine, the Twins’ clubhouse was whisper quiet after their 3-2 loss Saturday night.

Joe Nathan sat by his locker and answered every question the media asked. Then he walked across the clubhouse and sat by Brendan Harris’ locker to discuss the woulda-coulda-shouldas of that disastrous last play.

After doing the postgame interviews, I came some conclusions:

1)    Nathan made the right decision going to third. With a good throw and catch, Bobby Crosby is out.

2)    It’s a tough play for Harris because a third baseman’s first step on a bunt is toward the ball. He has to read it quickly, and retreat to third the instant he realizes Nathan’s got it. Nathan’s fastball is 94-mph, so you can imagine what it’s like catching that from 45 feet.

3)    Nathan needed to make a better throw. It was knee-high and to Harris’ backhand side. The play was scored Sacrifice, E1 — the right call.

4)    With quicker reflexes, Harris could have made a big catch. He reached awkwardly for the ball instead of turning his glove to the backhand side. But he was also off-balance, and Bobby Crosby was bearing down on him with his spikes.

HOW RARE WAS THIS?

Someone reminded me this was Nathan’s first loss since July 19, 2007 against Detroit.

Nathan said next time, he hopes the team isn’t in that situation. He said he wasn’t sharp against the first two hitters. Bobby Crosby singled on a 3-2 pitch. And Nathan hit Emil Brown with a 1-1 fastball.

“Very tough loss after getting to the ninth with our closer,” Manager Ron Gardenhire said.

HARRIS’ BAD DREAM

As bad as Harris felt about the last play, I think he felt worse about his night at the plate. He left six on base. He grounded into a double play and struck out looking twice. Oakland probably should have turned two on Harris’ first grounder, too.

“I was sitting out there in the ninth,” Harris said, “going, ‘Well, I left a small village on base, but at least we can close it out with a win.’ “

It wasn’t to be.

LIRIANO NOTABLES

Francisco Liriano didn’t allow a walk for the first time in six starts since returning from Class AAA Rochester, and this was just the second time he completed seven innings.

He is 4-0 with a 1.23 ERA in this six starts.

MORE ON THE SEPTEMBER CALLUPS

With Boof Bonser moving into more of a late-inning role, I think Philip Humber will become the long man.

Jose Mijares is a very interesting choice. Terry Ryan has been scouting Class AA New Britain and supported the decision to promote the hardthrowing lefthander.

Bobby Korecky gives the bullpen another righthanded option, too.

Jason Pridie can play all threeoutfield spots. The Twins could use Jason Kubel to pinch hit for Carlos Gomez, for example, and then use Jason Pridie to run and play either center or right, interchangeably like Denard Span.

Matt Macri is another rigthhanded hitting option at third base and he could also play first base, allowing Justin Morneau to DH.

Ryan Jorgensen, I don’t know much about, but he’s a third catcher, which will make Gardy more comfortable about using Joe Mauer as a DH on his scheduled days off.

More on those guys Sunday, as the Twins try to salvage a split.

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