Pop quiz: It's four-to-two in the 5th (and you're down), your team is facing last year's Cy Young winner, and you've had one hit since the first inning. Your starter is getting lit up now, and there are runners on first and second with one out. Who do you bring in?
Mike Hargrove's answer: The one pitcher in my bullpen who is worse than most guys on my AAA ballclub.
Question #2: Said pitcher (It's Thornton, if you don't know) comes in. How long of a leash does he have until you yank him?
Grover's answer: After he gives up four consecutive hits, if the last one's a homerun.
In the title of Larry Dierker's book, This Ain't Brain Surgery. Apparently it might as well be for some managers.
Some caveats: Thorton is a lefty, and the next two batters up for the Twins were lefties. This is just the second game of the year, Hargrove's a new manager who might learn quickly which pitchers to count on, and our bullpen doesn't give him a lot good options.
That being said, in that situation, you don't need a lot of good options, you just need one to get you out of the inning without any more damage. And the last thing you should be doing is bringing in a pitcher who belongs in the minors.
Let's hope Hargrove is less idiotic than Melvin was with his bullpen--in other words, that tonight was an aberation, or a lesson quickly and permanently learned.