Twins fans, like most fans tend to have a hot/cold, love/hate relationship with coaches/managers.
What exactly is the Baldelli Lama?
IS he a wunderkind for babying and piecing together a top 10 starting rotation getting the max results from a bunch of #3s or #4s? Will he end up looking like a genius by not letting starters go past 70 pitches regardless of results? With the delayed start to the season, OBVIOUSLY no pitcher should be able to go past 4 2/3 or touch 80 pitches per game right??? I mean they are not conditioned for such a workload. The whole rest of MLB will look ridiculous when Ryan, Ober, Archer, Bundy, Gray end up in a 5 way tie for the Cy Young with MONSTER second halves because they were not overused at the beginning of the season right??
All smart alecking aside (and I can guess you can figure out where my views land) Has he done a good job with the starters? keeping them healthy, slowly... ever so slowly loosenign the reigns, or doing a 2 steps forward 1 step back approach. I mean Archer just went 5 scoreless on 57 pitches and was pulled.
It doesnt seem to be the case, with Sonny Gray having multiple nagging injuries, Paddack needing TJ (again who didnt see that coming when the trade was announced??) Bailey Ober has already had a stint as well.
Still it is impossible to prove a negative, and one could easily say that if the Twins had NOT slowly built up the arms there would have been even MORE carnage and poor performance, so for the Hero argument, lets give Baldelli his due!! HE is the coach, and the starters have pitched very well. If you get the blame, you should get the credit as well.
Now, speaking of getting the blame...
Is Baldelli the Villian for not allowing the starters to go deeper into games? to learn how to pitch out of tough situations? to not build up that arm strength to be even stronger in innings 5,6 and God forbid 7th innings later in the year? And what kind of impact has the low number of innings had on the bullpen? Both now and going forward? Are we burning out the pen? Will that come back to haunt us?
This is a results based game. and going back to the Archer 5 inning game, if Archer comes out after 5 innings and we hold onto a 2-1 win, then Baldelli gets praise for beautifully handling the pitching staff, since we lost, he gets tore apart for pulling a guy after 5 innings and just 57 pitches . and it loses a bit of actual "sting" since it wasnt the NEXT pitcher who gave up the lead, Duran came in and gave us 2 strong innings. AND to Baldellis credit before Pagan gave up the game, he had a 2.12 ERA. but we did not hold the lead so it was a "bad decision"
And again with it being a results based game, we are still in 1st place, and a single win counts only as a single win, so it shouldn't matter if it is from a dominant 3 hit CG shutout on 115 pitches or a "two times through the lineup max" game for 3-4 pitchers. they still count the same. but they do not FEEL the same. and the losses sure the heck dont!! a well pitched 7-8 inning start we lose feels like we lost to a better team. a 3-4 pitcher game where the bullpen gives up a few runs feels we lost because we are just bad.
Maybe I am just too "old school" who likes watching pitchers go deep, get out of trouble, and have a theory that you use the pen when you NEED to, not when you CAN. Maybe the game has passed me by, because I have great unease about this team, and what may happen going forward mainly as a result poor pitching management. Should I just be happy that we are in first place, and not care about how those wins LOOK? Take the pleasure in the win, vs the pleasure of watching entertaining baseball?
But I am digressing... Getting back to the question at hand, I think our success/failure comes down to pitching more than hitting, And I think it is because I truly do not have an answer to my own question...
Is (will) Baldelli (be) a hero or a villian?