The Twins managed to lose to Texas on a night when pretty much everyone whose name wasn’t Morneau or Mauer managed to contribute to the defeat.
But let’s talk about conventional wisdom and whether this was a time to try something different.
You’re in a 5-5 game going into the bottom of the 10th inning on the road. You have one of baseball’s elite relievers warmed up along with another guy who hasn’t shown you a thing for the better part of two seasons (and whom you unsuccessfully tried to trade over the winter).
The other team has its 3-4-5 hitters coming up.
If you go with the elite reliever, you stand an awfully good chance of getting through the inning. Then, in the 11th, your batters will be facing a team with the worst bullpen (statistically) in the league. And that team has already used its closer for an inning, which isn’t unusual for the home team in a tie game. So you should stand an OK chance of scoring in the 11th, at which time you can decide whether to let your elite reliever pitch a second inning or bring in someone else to face, probably, the lower part of the opponent’s batting order.
If you don’t score in the 11th, maybe your elite reliever pitches two innings and then you take your chances.
Keep in mind, too, that your elite reliever hasn’t pitched since Tuesday and your team has two days off in the next week. So overuse isn’t an issue.
Does this seem like a good time to bring in Joe Nathan to pitch the 10th instead of Juan Rincon?