As I read Ted Schwerzler's article from earlier today, this quote from Twins manager Rocco Baldelli stuck with me:
"...We want them to be available and ready to finish ballgames when the time comes"
What if the time never comes, because you throw in the proverbial towel if the team doesn't have the lead?
Last night the Twins got down early, and when the starter Cole Sands got pulled from the game the Twins went to a combination of Juan Minaya-Yennier Cano-Tyler Duffey-Trevor Megill to finish the game. Correct me if I'm wrong but that doesn't sound like a winning formula. That sounds to me like what a team in last place does when they are down big in the last few innings.
Lets just throw a position player out there to finish the game. Why not? its a "low leverage" situation.
Okay, maybe that's a bit of a reach, but I'm frustrated.
How I interpret this is no matter if the team is down 10 runs in the ninth, or 1 run in the fifth, both have the same leverage in the eyes of the team.
Now I understand wanting to have some decent relievers available for protecting the lead, that's fine, but being only down 1 run against a very good team and then putting in your 4 worst pitchers, is asking for disaster. Last nights game was just another example of extremely confusing bullpen management from Rocco. The game was winnable, the offense was scoring runs, but the Twins were not committed to stopping the other team from scoring.
This team has been playing well, they are leading their (Very weak) division, but this team does not "feel" like a first place team.