Wetmore: 5 thoughts on Dozier's pace, Pinto behind the plate, Plouffe
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MINNEAPOLIS - The Twins took advantage of an injury to Anibal Sanchez and tagged the Tigers' bullpen Saturday on the way to a 5-3 win.
If you missed Friday's 5 thoughts, you'll want to check out one of the better photo bombs I've seen in a while. I also wrote on the new interpretation of MLB's transfer rule, Jason Kubel's fielding, the Twins' patience at the plate and Chris Colabello's franchise record.
Here are 5 thoughts I had during Saturday'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. Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez left in the middle of an at-bat with two outs in the third inning. During Brian Dozier's at-bat, trainers came out to check on Sanchez and he was removed with a blister on his right middle finger. The Twins didn't have a hit when Sanchez left the game, and the only base runner came on a harmless two-out walk in the second inning.
2. In an interesting statistical quirk, reliever Jose Ortega walked Dozier for Sanchez. By rule, Ortega inherited the 3-2 count to Dozier. If he walked Dozier, the result would be added to Sanchez's line but any other result - including a strikeout - would have counted for Ortega.
Ortega threw ball four and Sanchez walked Dozier from the dugout (or clubhouse).
3. Dozier took that walk and the swiped second base to get into scoring position with two outs for Joe Mauer. Except replays overturned the call and Dozier was called out. He was previously a perfect 6-for-6 stealing bases this season.
"On pace" stats are mostly worthless at this time of the season, but just for fun: Dozier was on track for to surpass a 50-steal, 50-homer season until replays ruled him out in the third inning. Even if he plays every game, it's a safe bet he won't reach either lofty mark.
Can he be a 20-homer, 20-steal guy? Yeah, definitely.
4. Josmil Pinto has a ways to go behind the plate, but the Twins are smart to continue to get his bat in the lineup. I've consistently offered praises to Pinto in these columns and on the radio for his approach at the plate. For 25, he seems to me to have an advanced understanding of what he's doing with the bat. He seems to get what pitchers are trying to do to get him out, he takes strong hacks when he guesses a pitch correctly in a hitters' count, and he walks as often as he strikes out. He hit another towering drive Saturday for his fifth home run.
The bad must be pointed out with the good, however, and there was a small, harmless example of one of his shortcomings. With one out in the second inning, Phil Hughes struck out Andrew Romine. Pinto emerged from his crouch to fire down to third base for the "around the horn," where the infielders play a quick game of catch after a strikeout and then return the ball to the pitcher.
Only the Twins never got to finish the around the horn. Pinto threw the ball into left field.
Again, it was harmless, because the batter was out and the ball was not live, but ideally you don't want your left fielder to get in on the around the horn action following a strikeout. It's not the first time Pinto has overthrown a base, and it served as a reminder he's not yet a complete player.
5. Trevor Plouffe left Saturday's game with a left triceps bruise. He was hit in the left arm with a fastball in the fourth inning. It looked like it hit him right above the elbow, and he trotted down to first.
He stayed in the game and hit a bases-loaded, two-RBI single in the fifth, but then was later replaced.
"Yeah, it caught me right above the bone, which I guess is pretty fortunate. But it was pretty solid," Plouffe said. He is listed as "day-to-day" but said he hopes to be available for Sunday's series finale.
"I mean I want to be in there, absolutely," Plouffe said. "We'll see how it goes overnight. I've got some stuff to try to move it around. I think I'll be OK."
For more on the injury and how it affected Plouffe, check out this quick story. If Plouffe can't go Sunday it would be a sizable loss for the Twins' lineup.