A Mouth Full of Nan-sense

Baseball never ceases to amaze me.  Not just on the field where you'll see something you've never seen before more often than not.  But off the field, some of the things that people in the game say... well, I just have to shake my head.

For example, in responding to a question about why Grant Balfour isn't being given a chance to start, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire replied, "I don't want to wreck (Balfour) by throwing him out there and letting him get crushed by somebody.  Joe [Mays] should be able to handle it. That's what he's here for."

OK, so for everyone who didn't already know by looking at the numbers, Joe Mays is the Twins' designated torch mule.  Whenever the Twins' are feeling too good about themselves and need a good flogging to regain perspective, they run Mays out to start the game.  The positive effect is two-fold: 1) they get a reminder that winning the game is better than getting pummeled, and 2) they get good practice coming back from enormous deficits.

PITCHERS       W- L   ERA    BA    G  GS CG GF SH SV    IP    H   R  ER  HR  BB  SO
Mays    (MAJ)  8- 8  6.16  .301   29  20  0  4  0  0  125.2 153  87  86  20  36  49
Balfour (MAJ)  0- 0  2.03  .114    6   0  0  4  0  0   13.1   5   3   3   2   5  17
Balfour (AAA)  5- 2  2.41  .183   21  11  0 10  0  5   71.0  48  21  19   6  16  87

I don't want to bad mouth Gardenhire because he's a very personable and likable guy, but there comes a point where the lessons are either learned or they aren't.  It's time for finals and the Twins are in the running for a postseason scholarship.  In previous seasons, Balfour had troubles with left-handers.  But this year, he has apparently learned his lessons and is ready to graduate to the big time.  The question, then, is whether Professor Gardenhire brought his calculator to the game so he can solve this two-part problem: a) what is the maximum number of runs my team can surrender in one month's time in order to make up a deficit of 1.5 games, and b) given Joe Mays' performance this season, will he surrender that total all by himself if I continue to let him start?

Is it possible that Mariner's manager Bob Melvin and Gardenhire studied under the same professor of big league managing?   Since the All-Star break, the M's have had two pitchers in desperate need of a switch in roles: Freddie Garcia and Rafael Soriano.  Garcia has started 8 games and in only 1 has he completed 7 innings yet in half he has allowed at least 5 runs to score.  Soriano, on the other hand, has pitched in 17 games, and has been scored upon only twice.  Here are their numbers since the break, plus Soriano's numbers as a starter in AAA this season:

PITCHERS       W- L   ERA    BA    G  GS CG GF SH SV    IP    H   R  ER  HR  BB  SO
Garcia  (MAJ)  2- 4  7.36  .311    8   8  0  0  0  0   40.1  52  34  33   9  21  32
Soriano (MAJ)  0- 0  1.04  .125   17   0  0  1  0  1   26.0  11   3   3   2   1  37
Soriano (AAA)  4- 3  3.19  .187   11  10  0  0  0  0   62.0  43  24  22   2  12  63

I don't want to state the obvious, but isn't the salmon from the Pacific Northwest just better than atlantic salmon?  Not only is there a greater variety -  sockeye, chinook, chum, pink and coho - but it just tastes better.  Maybe it's the wood they smoke it with.  I don't know why, but with better taste and more variety, it seems like an easy choice, doesn't it?

Here's another one that left me scratching my head.  I give Yankee GM Brian Cashman a lot of credit for being able to deal with an eccentric owner (is "eccentric" the right word?... certifiably paranoid seemed to strong) and building a winning team on a shoestring budget like the Yankees have.  Shoestring?  Well, I am constantly told that "it's not the money that has made them winners", but that "it was their farm system".  It must be just a coincidence that they have a payroll that is twice that of 24 of the other 29 major league teams.  But the latest is that he's considering bringing back 38-year old Luis Sojo to put on the postseason roster.  In fact, both he and manager Joe Torre feel that Sojo, who has not played since 2001, would be a solid addition should Erick Almonte, the player who ably substituted for Derek Jeter the first month and a half of the season, not be available due to unforeseen circumstances.

It's true that strange things have happened this season, like Jose Lima and Rickey Henderson both making "miraculous" returns to the majors.  The difference is that at one time or another, both of those players were at least very good.   The best that could be said of Sojo, who never got more than 370 at bats in any of his 12 seasons and batted .165 in his final season, was that he was very friendly.

"I wouldn't eliminate it," Torre said. "When you eliminate something, you have to have someone in place who can do the job better than that person. And I don't know who that person is."  I really don't have any idea what Torre meant when he said that, but I'm thrilled to hear that they are considering  bringing on Sojo to their postseason roster, especially since they've gone to all the trouble of acquiring so many productive players over the last couple of seasons.  The Yanks simply don't have enough outs in their line-up to suit my taste; Sojo might be just the answer.