I posted yesterday on the utterly inane strategy that the Twins have taken with regard to Joe Crede’s health, namely that they have refused to put him on the DL to rest and rehab despite the fact that he has missed between 3 and 6 days every two-week period all season, excluding the last two weeks in which he has missed 8 so far (I checked). By and large, this horrible strategy hasn’t hurt the Twins, as they have never really done much pinch-hitting to begin with, so eliminating a pinch-hitting option wasn’t that big of a deal. However, last night that came tumbling down.
In the eighth inning, Orlando Cabrera strongly disagreed with a check-swing call that had him out on a strikeout. He shouted at the umpires then slammed his bat into the ground on his way back to the dugout. Home umpire Todd Tichenor immediately threw him out. Like, instantly. Being in DC, I was watching the Orioles broadcast, and even those announcers thought he was thrown out far too quickly, and I agree. Had he pounded his bat into the plate, or toward the umpire, or in any way that was threatening, then off with is head (or something). But he didn’t. He slammed his bat into the ground at the edge of the dirt circle around home plate (don’t know the technical name) on his way back to the dugout.
To be fair, Cabrera had been having a very difficult time with the strike zone last night. It seemed like every at-bat took him to a point where he was ready to toss the bat away and go to first on a walk, only to have the pitch called a strike (which they all were). Ugh. He looked terrible at the plate last night, but what else is new? He isn’t a #2 hitter, and hasn’t been for quite some time. A lot of people were willing to overlook his failings when he first came over from the Athletics because he was unbelievably hot at that point. However, since then he has been utterly futile. From Aug 1-Aug 6 (his hot period), Cabrera was 10/20, with 4 R and 3 RBI. For the rest of his hitting streak, he was only 6/28, getting one hit per game to extend the streak. That adds up to .214 from August 7 -Aug. 13. Since August 14, he has been just as bad as he was in the waning days of his hitting streak, hitting .226, with 2BB, 6 runs scored, and 6 RBI (it’s easy to score runs and get RBIs when you’re in the 2-spot, preceded by Span and followed by Mauer and Morneau). Over the same period, Alexi Casilla has hit .400 and Nick Punto has hit .278 (though Punto was epically bad for the rest of the month). I’m leaving Harris out of this because he has been horrible, but has had limited playing time.
Quick quiz – attach the August BA to the Twins Middle infielder: .275, .333, .213, .256. Okay I didn’t even try to mix them up. It was Cabrera, Casilla, Punto, and Harris. Cabrera’s numbers are still inflated by that six-game hot streak. Since August 6, however, Cabrera has hit like a slumping Joe Crede with no power and no real glove benefit to outweight plate futility. For those of you that decried the trade that sent Tyler Ladendorf to Oakland for Cabrera, congratulations; you have been proven right so far. Cabrera has been a waste of the 2-spot in the order. Why not try sticking Cuddyer in there for the time being? Just a thought. He’s hitting better, and still provides a righty bat to break up Span from Mauer and Morneau.
So, anyway, Cabrera got thrown out, Gardenhire made a perfunctory argument (he was probably too busy thinking about what the heck he was going to do with is infield to protest strongly), and Cuddyer got to play second base after Casilla moved over (Harris had already pinch-hit for Punto). The bench at that point consisted of Redmond and Gomez, so Gomez got to go to center field. (note: this is why we need a decent set of relievers, so we don’t have to have 12 pitchers).
Anyway, back to Crede. He got an epidural yesterday. Yes, an epidural. The same thing women get when they are giving birth. So, either Crede is going to be a father (which would explain the back and ankle pain), or his back is causing him a lot more pain than any of us have been told (surprise!). Seriously, though. An epidural is supposed to compensate for “post-operative changes?” But guess who STILL isn’t on the DL? JOE-flipping-CREDE.
I have no words.