The "play the game the right way" crowd had a doozy of a time Monday night.
With the Twins trailing 15-4 in the ninth inning to the White Sox — the latest low in a season full of them — they sent out fan favorite Willians Astudillo to get the final three outs. Position players pitching are always sure to please a home crowd with not much to cheer about ...
Until they give up really long home runs, anyway.
I talked about what transpired with Astudillo in the context of a lost Twins season during Tuesday's Daily Delivery podcast.
On a 3-0 pitch with two outs in the ninth, with the Twins down 11, Astudillo lobbed a 47 mph pitch to White Sox DH Yermin Mercedes. He swung mightily and crushed it over the center field wall.
Predictably, the reactions were a little different depending on which broadcast you were watching. On the Bally Sports North feed, analyst Roy Smalley said, "I don't like it," of the 3-0 swing. "You're going to get the same pitch after this."
On the White Sox feed, it was more a mix of bemusement and pity for the Twins. "Well, I'm thinking that probably does it," was the deadpan reaction from White Sox analyst Steve Stone of an 11-run lead expanding to 12. "That pretty much makes this insurmountable."
Yeah, you could argue that swinging at that pitch in that count with that lead from that pitcher violates many of the "unwritten" rules of baseball and isn't playing the game the right way.
You could also argue losing by such a margin that your chosen option is putting in a position player to pitch, and letting him lob 47 mph tosses into the strike zone, isn't exactly playing the game the right way, either — and invites any consequence that might come from it.
Play games, win prizes.
At the very least, the Twins should have a full complement of desired relief pitchers in Tuesday's rematch as they try to improve from their 108-loss pace.