Every Thursday, the Getting Blanked crew makes a prop bet of sorts with one another having something to do with baseball games over the weekend. Of the three competitors, whoever wins the prop bet is able to dole out a punishment on the colleague of their choice. This week’s punishment was watching and recapping Monday night’s Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins game. #PropHate
Don’t look now (read: do actually look), but the Cleveland Indians are in first place in the American League Central division with a two game lead over the favourite Detroit Tigers. However, this status has been threatened of late, with the Tribe coming off losses in five of their last six games, including failures in three straight matches. Not wanting to flush another good start to their season down the toilet like last year, the team needed this series against the god awful Minnesota Twins more than a neutral observer would need a drink to get through watching last night’s game.
And the team with the racist nickname took full advantage of their inferior opponents, overcoming an eighth inning charge from the Twins in last night’s game thanks to an RBI single with two out in the top of the ninth from Shin Shoo Choo off of Matt Capps to go ahead 5-4, and eventually win the game.
The Win Expectancy Graph
This is what a really dull game that gets exciting momentarily and then goes back to being really dull looks like:
The Creepy Jamey Carroll Thing
They say that when hand writing experts are called upon to check the legitimacy of signatures, they often look for similarities before differences. You see, someone signing a paper isn’t likely to think too much about it, and therefore it’s going to be slightly different every time. On the other hand, someone forging a signature will go to great lengths of mimicry to make it look legitimate.
I mention this because Minnesota Twins second baseman Jamey Carroll has the exact same smile in all of his Spring Training picture day photos dating back to 2003. Not helping matters, Carroll looks like he falls somewhere between weird never married uncle and alien living among us on the creepy appearance scale. All of this leads me to believe that he’s a weird never married uncle from another planet living among us:
The Smart Thing/Aggravating Thing The Manager Did
Given the smart people in charge of the Cleveland Indians front office, like Team President Mark Shapiro and General Manager Chris Antonetti, it should come as no surprise that their manager is also rather clever. He’s also, by all accounts, a really nice guy and an expert when it comes to hipster eye wear.
Manny Acta doesn’t wear glasses just to look good or so that Travis Hafner won’t hit him. He wears his glasses because as everyone knows, smart people wear glasses.
Proving this theory was Acta’s strategic move in the top of the ninth, pinch running for the very slow Casey Kotchman with the slightly less slow Lou Marson, who is something of a crafty base runner, stealing 13 bases over his career while only getting caught three times.
Kotchman got on base with a one out single up the middle off of Capps. Up the middle base hits aren’t necessarily a rare thing for Kotchman this season:
And last season, as well:
So, where was that shift, Ron Gardenhire?
Apparently, playing baseball the right way doesn’t involve active defenses.
Not wanting to burn Kotchman (who had already hit a home run earlier in the game) quite as soon as he got on base, Acta waited to see how the inning played out before bringing on a pinch runner in case the game went to extra innings. That looked like a smart move when the next batter, Aaron Cunningham flew out to the second baseman.
However, when Kotchman was able to move up on a wild pitch from Capps, he pulled him in favour of Marson. That’s when Choo struck and the pinch runner scored from second base, making it look like an even smarter move.
Genius. Glasses. Acta.
The Shamsky Award
Named after Art Shamsky, who single handedly increased the Cincinnati Reds’ chances of winning by 150.3% in a losing effort during a game in 1966, The Shamsky Award is given to the player on the losing team who contributes the most to them winning.
Ryan Doumit, who hit a two run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the game and actually make it interesting for the first time since the first inning. By doing so, he increased win probability by 40.5%. Overall, Doumit increased his team’s WPA by 41%.
The Statistics You
Won’t Will Absolutely Beleive
The Minnesota Twins have below average hitting, with the fourth lowest runs above average from their offense in the American League (according to FanGraphs), but they have the absolute worst pitching in baseball as the only team with a negative run value from their starters.
Minnesota Twins starter Carl Pavano is terrible. Even with the knowledge that Major League Baseball players are so superior over the average person at what they do that they make it look easy, I fully believe that I could get a hit in an at bat against Pavano.
Every time I was impressed by Cleveland Indians starter Jeanmar Gomez, I’d remind myself that he was facing the Minnesota Twins. He still looked pretty good, most notably for his hard slider/cutter which collected four whiffs.
Francisco Liriano relief pitcher spotting: The former Twins starter struck out three over two scoreless innings, while … walking three as well.
Jose Lopez still plays Major League Baseball, and for a first place team at that.
I think I like Vinny Pestano more than his talent should push me toward liking him.
It’s strange that the Twins best position players this season have likely been Josh Willingham and Ryan Doumit, both off season acquisitions. However, unless the team is able to trade these two players away for something of future value to the organization, I’m not so sure that I can call them good signings. In a vacuum, certainly they are. But the Twins don’t live in a vacuum. They live as they worst team in baseball right now, by a good measure.