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Updated: August 18th, 2014 11:37pm
Wetmore: 5 thoughts on May's home debut, Gardenhire getting tossed

Wetmore: 5 thoughts on May's home debut, Gardenhire getting tossed

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by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com

MINNEAPOLIS - Trevor May's Target Field debut didn't go so well, although it was a considerable upgrade on his Major League debut. This time, the rookie walked four batters and lasted 4 2/3 innings as the Royals beat the Twins, 6-4.

This column presents 5 thoughts from Monday's game.

As always, feel free to ask questions or make observations in the comments. If you have a unique baseball observation during a game, feel free to share it with me on Twitter (@DerekWetmore)

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1. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was ejected in the first inning Monday. That's the 74th ejection of his career, including one as a coach under Tom Kelly and one in the 2010 playoffs. He's tied with Jim Leyland for regular season ejections (72) and Gardenhire stands alone as the active leader in getting tossed.

He's 10th on the all-time list (including postseason and coaches ejections), according to a source who tracks ejections for Retrosheet.org.

Here's that person's list:

Ejections

Manager

161

Bobby Cox

131

John McGraw

125

Leo Durocher

94

Earl Weaver

89

Frankie Frisch

87

Tony LaRussa

81

Paul Richards

77

Lou Piniella

75

Joe Torre

74

Ron Gardenhire

72

Jim Leyland

I thought the expanded replay review in baseball would have significantly reduced manager ejections, but that's Gardenhire's fifth of the season. He still finds a way to make it entertaining.

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1b. Gardenhire wasn't ejected until he had returned to the dugout after arguing in favor of Joe Mauer, who felt he fouled strike three into the dirt. Gardenhire asked the umpires to check the ball for dirt and they apparently refused to do so, according to acting manager Terry Steinbach.

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2. Danny Santana threw out Josh Willingham at third base when the former Twins outfielder attempted to go first to third on a single to center. After two consecutive days at shortstop, Santana was back in center against the lefty Jason Vargas. Eduardo Escobar started at shortstop Monday, Trevor Plouffe played third and Jordan Schafer was benched.

I wrote about Santana for Sunday's 5 thoughts column, in an attempt to answer -- or at least to properly frame the question -- whether he will be the future at shortstop for the Twins.

Part of that column addressed his defense in the outfield, which is far from great. But his speed and his strong can help make up for some other deficiencies. He showed one example of that by gunning down Willingham in the second inning.

(Willingham had reached base on an infield single, his eighth of the year.)

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3. Trevor May again showed some erratic control when he walked three batters in the fifth and couldn't get out of the inning. He walked the bases loaded and then allowed three consecutive singles before the Twins went to the bullpen.

It wasn't quite as unsightly as his Major League debut, when he walked seven batters in 2 innings and couldn't find the plate. Still, four walks in 4 2/3 innings isn't a rate a team should accept in their starting rotation.

"I'm sure the scouting report said: 'make him throw strikes,'" May said.

I'd certainly advocate giving May another start. I fully expect he'll curb the walks, although he wasn't exactly a control specialist in the minors.

In 98 1/3 innings for Triple-A Rochester this season May walked 39 batters, a rate of 3.57 per 9 innings. The Major League average for starters this season is 2.74 walks per 9 innings.

But as Phil Mackey notes in this piece, May also strikes out batters at a rate that earned him a big league promotion. He should be in consideration for a starting rotation spot in 2015 and perhaps the Twins can learn something valuable about him in the final six weeks of the season.

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4. Kennys Vargas beat the shift for a single while batting left handed in his final plate appearance of the night. He faced lefty Jason Vargas from the right side three times and then flipped around to bat from the other side against righthander Aaron Crow in his final plate appearance. The Royals moved the third baseman to approximately where the shortstop would play in a shift that anticipated Vargas would pull the ball. It's the second time this home stand that Vargas beat the shift going the other way and it made me wonder how much batted ball data the Royals had on which to base their decision to shift.

If any reader knows a good place to find spray charts for the minor leagues please share it in the comments section. I wouldn't be shocked if teams kept track for themselves, but I'm curious if there's a publicly available information source for that.

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5. Oswaldo Arcia and Trevor Plouffe homered to make things interesting in the late innings. Arcia smacked his 12th home run on a 2-2 changeup. The ball carried well into the plaza in right field and connected with the middle of three flag poles behind the right-field seats.

Plouffe forced the Royals to use ace closer Gregg Holland when he took Crow deep into the second deck in left field for a 3-run home run, which cut the deficit to 2 runs.

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
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