Twins vs. White Sox

Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune shares my view that Ron Gardenhire has shown signs of becoming a manager lately. He choses a different incident than I to illustrate his point, but both came in the same game--the fourth and fifth innings of Silva's last start.

I think Gardenhire's smelling blood. He knows that the Twins have to keep winning to have any chance to make the playoffs, but he also knows that if they make the playoffs, they stand a better chance than any other team of winning the World Series due to the very high quality of their first three starting pitchers. (You only need three starting pitchers in the post-season due to the frequent days off.)

Part of Tom Kelly's genius was knowing when to pull the trigger and pull out a failing pitcher just before they completely blew out a gasket. Kelly could be ruthless, and he was the most ruthless when it mattered most. His most gutsy move: To walk out to the mound and pull Scott Erickson in the fifth inning of a playoff game against Toronto when Erickson was ahead of Joe Carter no balls and two strikes with two outs.

The announcers were incredulous, but I was utterly relieved, for I had watched Erickson lose it mid-game during the last half of the season, and when he lost it, he was finished. The two strikes Erickson got on Carter were two 450-foot foul balls, and Kelly had seen enough. David West came in and shut Toronto down.

Gardenhire is showing the same knowledge of his club. He is finding where the players do the best, and he is putting them there and letting them do their job. They are responding by playing great baseball, both at bat and in the field.