September is the time of year when teams who are actually in contention begin watching their Elimination Number to find out when they clinch the division. Or, it could also be the number you watch slowly shrink as you shuffle off into oblivion until spring comes again.
I've been ignoring this number, because instead I've had the optimism to focus on the "Games behind" stat. Which currently sits at 7 as I write this and if Detroit stays ahead of Kansas City, it will be 7.5, if they lose, it will be 6.5. Regardless, it's been growing.
Our E number stands at 19. For some reason, 19 games until elimination is a much more palatable number for me to comprehend than 7 games behind. It seems as if there's more season left to play, and that's always a good thing in my book (although my roommate has already turned his attention to football).
What little I caught of the game tonight due to an incredibly busy workload today, shows me that: A) completely resting Joe Mauer and starting Mike Redmond = white flag, B) Jose Morales and his great pinch-hitting performances (even if they end in an out he battles like a rock star) would be much more useful if they appeared several times a game, thus, again, why Redmond? and C) I think letting Justin Huber -- and hopefully Valencia at some point -- get some swings would actually make me more excited to watch the games than seeing our current team flail about. Maybe playing some of our youngsters wouldn't be giving up? Look at what the infusion of new blood did to give Cleveland somewhat of a boost?
For some reason I got the Toronto broadcast on my MLB Extra Innings package, and for those of you listening to Dick & Bert, you missed some sincere adoration of Joe Mauer's ability and praise for Jose Mijares and what a gem he's been for our bullpen. I tend to agree. In fact, I feel more comfortable with Mijares out there than Guerrier.
Honestly though, looking at their numbers, Guerrier has been more effective than Mijares recently. Let's take a look at two splits in particular that emphasize this:
1st half vs. 2nd half
A lot of people argue that Gardy has been running Guerrier into the ground and he wears down in the second half of the season. Well, in the 1st half, batters were hitting 1.99 against him in 159 plate appearances, and he posted a 3.38 SO/BB ration. And, although the season isn't over, he has posted an ever-so-slighty higher BAA of .204 in 99 plate appearances -- although his SO/BB ratio has also increased to 5.67. Oddly enough, even with a slightly elevated BAA in the 2nd half so far, it's still lower than Mijares.
Mijares posted a .217 BAA in the 1st half, and it dropped down to .213 in the 2nd half, which is quite good, but Guerrier's been even better! Similarly, his SO/BB ratio has been lower than Guerrier's in both halves, as it was 1.79 in the first half and has increased to 3.00 now.
Platoon Lefties vs. Righties
Mijares seems most adequately suited as the lefty specialist, and, true to form, he's held lefties to a .227 BAA and 2.50 SO/BB ratio in 94 plate appearances, and against righties it's elevated to .282BAA and his SO/BB ratio drops to 1.91 in 119 plate appearances.
But wait just a second ... Guerrier is actually more effective against lefties and righties -- this despite being a right handed pitcher and probably being the assumed counterpart of a "righty specialist" to Mijares. Guerrier boasts a .221 BAA and a 4.00 SO/BB ratio in 155 plate appearances against righties, but his numbers against lefties are actually better. He's posted a .170 BAA, exactly the same SO/BB ratio, and has done this over 103 plate appearances.
All this just makes me wonder why I trust Mijares more than Guerrier? Perhaps it's because I've simply seen Guerrier's mistakes in person more than I have of Mijares. Or that squat lefties who look like Rich Garces just make me feel giddy.
Don't get me wrong, I think they're both excellent weapons in the bullpen. The thing that Mijares has on Guerrier though, is age. We can probably expect Mijares to keep getting better as he reaches his prime, and we've probably been witnessing Guerrier's best years. I stick by a comments dialogue I had with Erin over at Plunking Gomez awhile back, that we might be wise to sell high on Guerrier this offseason as we could have a crowded bullpen and his dominance might bring us a nice return due to the shortage of reliable bullpen arms. It sounds strange, but if you think about it, it makes sense.
Assuming we carry 6-7 relievers, we can wager that Nathan, Mijares, and Rauch are locks. Crain will very probably come back. Neshek will hopefully be back, but even if he isn't, Bonser will probably net a bullpen role. You still have to consider Slama, Delaney, and probably Gabino. And if we land a veteran starter or not, we will most likely have a long relief man in the form of Manship, Duensing, Swarzak or maybe Perkins. Even though we've considered our bullpen a weakpoint for awhile now, Guerrier might just be expendable enough to still bring us a decent package that if Smith gets a good offer he should probably act.
Just a thought...
Sad fact: Toronto announcers during the game bemoaned the poor state of the Pirates -- they are the only professional sports team in North America to endure 17 straight losing seasons. Ouch. At least Twins fans can take heart that we haven't reached that level of despair.
Around the blogosphere: If you haven't seen k-bro's pledge yet, check it out and try to pledge along! Over the Baggy has some more assurance on why we shouldn't worry too much about Nathan. And Twins Fix has some great analysis of why Gomez is the better option than Delmon Young.