Updated: April 25th, 2014 11:29pm
Wetmore: 5 thoughts on patience, Colabello's record, and Jim Pohlad

Wetmore: 5 thoughts on patience, Colabello's record, and Jim Pohlad

SportsWire Daily

Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports

Signup!
by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- Kevin Correia turned in an ugly start Friday in a 10-6 loss to the Detroit Tigers.

He walked Alex Avila and Andrew Romine in the final two batters he got to face before getting yanked for Anthony Swarzak.

Not much to say for Correia, so here are 5 thoughts from Friday'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. Major League Baseball on Friday changed the way it interprets the transfer rule. It was a new rule interpretation this season and it wasn't working. Credit the league for hearing all the voices -- including the players, umpires and managers -- frustrated by the new interpretation and going back to the preferred system. 

Ken Rosenthal published a column outlining the changes, which were implemented Friday.

The main takeaway:

Starting Friday night, umpires will rule on catches the way they did in the past, using more of a common-sense approach rather than following the letter of the law, according to major-league sources.

A catch, forceout or tag will be considered legal if a fielder has control of the ball in his glove, but drops the ball after opening his glove to transfer the ball to his throwing hard, sources said. No longer will the fielder be required to successfully get the ball into his throwing hand.

Until Friday, fielders this season not only needed to catch a ball, but also needed to make a successful transfer to his throwing hand. This caused several catches to be ruled a drop, based on the strict interpretation.

"I've talked to plenty of umpires saying they really hope they change that rule because you see a guy get a force out, catch the ball, step two steps off the bag and go to exchange it - he's already got the out," Ron Gardenhire said.  "And that's common sense."

--

2. Jason Kubel made a nice diving catch off Ian Kinsler to end the fifth inning. Ron Gardenhire said during the last homestand that Kubel's defense is underrated. I was pretty skeptical of that, but I thought it was interesting. I asked Kubel about it and he said he feels like his defense is good enough to play every day in the outfield.

First base coach Scott Ullger works with the outfielders on their positioning and fielding.

During the Talkin' Twins segment last Friday on the Mackey & Judd show on 1500 ESPN, we talked about Kubel's defense. We concluded he doesn't have great defensive range, but that he'll pretty much catch the balls hit within that range. He doesn't quite as clunky in left as Josh Willingham or, say, Delmon Young, but that's cherry-picking some pretty poor fielders.

It's hard to tell in the highlight, but Kubel actually ranged a ways on Kinsler's ball.

It'll be interesting to see where Kubel plays when Oswaldo Arcia and Josh Willingham return to the lineup. Arcia probably is closer than Willingham, and he'll travel to Rochester on Saturday to begin a rehab assignment.

--

3. The Twins are the most patient team in baseball. Dave Cameron at FanGraphs wrote a nice analysis piece that examined approach. He concluded the Twins are actively not swinging as much. Only one regular - Chris Colabello - is swinging at a higher percentage of pitchers than he did a season ago. Others have reduced their swing rates, Cameron writes. 

The piece makes a few thought-provoking points, including some stuff on game theory. It's worth a read, if you're interested in that stuff.

I asked Ron Gardenhire before Friday's game if it is a conscious team effort and here's what he said:

"I think everybody is trying to get on base and on-base percentage. There's always conversation about it. I think it's -- a lot of our hitters have had a few more at bats in this league now and understand a little bit more. It's experience, not panicking in big situations and we're doing a lot better at that. We're still striking out a few too many times, but that goes along with it when you go deep in counts.

"Those close pitches are going our way a little bit right now. It is an effort, but it's also experience. We've got some guys with another year experience under their belt that are learning their strike zone a little bit better and, accordingly, laying off [pitches out of the zone]. And then, a few guys like Pinto and guys like that are shocking you a little bit by not hacking all over the place. It's a good thing, it's fun to watch. Getting on the bases is what it's all about in this game and then figuring out how to score. It's a good thing, it's a good happening. We'll see how long it lasts."

--

4. Chris Colabello is better than Kirby Puckett. At least when it comes to driving in runs in a single April. Puckett held the team record for RBIs in an April with 26. Colabello drove a 2-2 fastball up the middle in the sixth inning to plate Joe Mauer and break Puckett's record. I'm pretty sure Colabello will come back to Earth soon, but 27 RBIs is one heck of an impressive month, any way you slice it.

--

5. 

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
10257