Wetmore: 5 thoughts on 3-run shots, slow trots, and showing emotion
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Oswaldo Arcia showed off some big power to right field when he struck a 3-run homer that hit well up the right-field foul pole. He also drove in a run with a single one pitch after getting completely fooled in the seventh inning, and the Twins won, 6-4.
This column presents 5 thoughts from Wednesday's game.
As always, feel free to ask any questions or make any observations in the comments. If you have a unique baseball observation during a game, feel free to share it with me on Twitter (@DerekWetmore).
1. Brian Dozier stole third with one out and Joe Mauer at the plate. He took off on a 1-0 pitch in the first inning. Either he guessed correctly or he stole the catchers' sign because he stole the base against a curveball. Breaking pitches make it easier to steal the base because there's a higher probability they end up in the dirt and because they take longer to get to the catcher than a fastball.
With a left-handed Mauer at the plate, the catcher, Jonathan Lucroy, had a clear path to throw to third. Despite the curveball, he made a good and quick throw to the bag and initially Dozier was called out. Replay overturned the call and Mauer had a chance to drive in Dozier from third with one out. He flew out to right field and the Twins did not test Ryan Braun's arm.
Josh Willingham flew out, which stranded Dozier on third to end the inning.
2. Ricky Nolasco struck out Logan Schafer in the third inning on a play that invoked a rarely cited rule. Schafer checked his swing and missed the pitch with nobody on base and nobody out, and the ball kicked away from catcher Kurt Suzuki. Home plate umpire Andy Fletcher ruled that Schafer indeed did swing at the pitch, so he called it a strike. But as the ball kicked away from Suzuki, Schafer was automatically out and was not allowed to run to first base, like on an ordinary dropped third strike.
That's because the big slider broke so much that it hit Schafer in the foot. In that case, the ball is dead and the strike out is registered without having to throw to first base.
3. Casey Fien struck out Carlos Gomez to end the eighth inning to preserve a two-run lead. Fien is demonstrative after big moments in games and seems to wear his emotions on his sleeve. Gomez, you'll remember from his time in Minnesota, is the same way.
After he struck out Gomez, Fien walked off the mound pumping his fists and shouting, as the crowd celebrated. Gomez stood at the plate and just smiled as he removed his helmet.
Some might feel Fien should scale back his celebrations to avoid the perception he's showing up his opponents. Personally, I prefer to see authentic passion.
4. Oswaldo Arcia's 3-run shot off the right-field foul pole gave the Twins the lead in the fourth inning. It was an inside pitch and Arcia got his hands through the hitting zone extremely quickly and kept them inside the path of the ball. He generated terrific power to drive the ball as far as he did.
There may have been a catch, though. Arcia didn't exactly hustle out of the box as he watched the ball carry, which may have caused the perception he was admiring his blast. (Again, I have no problem personally with this but you wonder if some teams or players consider this a code violation.) After the ball was ruled fair Arcia ran hard the rest of the way around the bases. Asked postgame about the shot, Arcia cleared up that he was not trying to show up anybody.
"The angle he saw the ball, he thought it was going to be homer right away but he knew it was going to be close," Eduardo Nunez said, interpreting for Arcia.
"He never thought about running the bases slow. Just he was waiting about the home run. He doesn't want people to think he's [trying to be] David Ortiz or something like that, running slow. He knows he's a rookie."
5. Brian Dozier got hit twice Wednesday. Once while sliding back into first base on a pickoff attempt, the throw struck Dozier in the back that appeared to get him between the shoulder blades. And in the fifth inning, he was hit by a pitch, again in the upper back area.
He was hit by the pitch the inning after Arcia's home run. Was it retaliatory? It's hard to say.
In defense of the Brewers, though, Dozier was the third batter of the fifth inning and Marco Estrada walked the next two batters, including Josh Willingham with the bases loaded.
Bonus thought, because I want to display I'm not a hot-hand theorist or bandwagon jumper: Josmil Pinto went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Wednesday as the designated hitter.
I would advocate starting him Thursday at DH or catcher.