This post was going to be about Red Patterson, who struggled through his first major league inning (two hits and a walk on 31 pitches) before giving the Dodgers decent baseball into the fifth. It wasn’t always pretty, and in fact it was just about never pretty, but for an emergency one-shot call-up making his debut in frigid Minnesota temperatures, I think that’s about as much as we could have possibly asked for. Patterson rarely touched 90, if even at all, and didn’t appear to have any sort of out pitch he could turn to when he really needed a strikeout — he had just one, on Pedro Florimon, who has a .210/.271/ .310 line in parts of four seasons — but he at least got the Dodgers into the fifth inning with only one run on the board. Even if we never see him again, he’ll always have that, so hey, nice work, Red. (I think I’ve seen this show before, anyway. Just go look up Matt Magill‘s 2013.)
But, come on, really, who’s even thinking about Patterson right now? For a series sweep, this was some of the most excruciating baseball I’ve ever seen. The Twins had their own fungible call-up, you see, and his name was Kris Johnson, and in theory he wasn’t very good, walking six in 4.1 innings. Add two more from Anthony Swarzak, and three more from Michael Tonkin, and one more from Brian Duensing, and the Dodgers had 12 walks. NOT ONE SCORED. NOT. ONE.
Somehow, even though the Dodgers got a man in scoring position in each of the first seven innings, they cashed in only one on Juan Uribe‘s sixth-inning single. The other three runs all came in on solo homers. Adrian Gonzalez‘ ninth homer of the year — his fifth to the opposite field — tied it in the seventh, and he has just been outstanding so far. Then Scott Van Slyke hit one in the 12th, and Drew Butera — Drew Butera !! — hit a second. The Dodgers got on base 23 times, and scored four runs. They left 16 on. Matt Kemp went 0-6, striking out three times. Dee Gordon went 1-6. Justin Turner, 0-5. On the other hand, Yasiel Puig got on three more times, as did Butera; Van Slyke reached four times.
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That Butera homer may have seemed extraneous, but it soon became necessary. Patterson was followed by Brandon League, who suddenly isn’t terrible — forget that throwing error — and Paco Rodriguez, Brian Wilson and Jamey Wright combined to keep it scoreless into the 12th. That brought out Kenley Jansen, and I think that’s going to need another post. Jansen gave up a single and two walks to load the bases with none out for Joe Mauer, who drove home one with a sac fly. To Jansen’s credit, he got out of it, getting another flyout and a lineout, but of his 34 pitches, he had one swinging strike. I’m not sure if this goes back to the overuse we’ve been contemplating, or the fact that his BABIP is still .444, or that he’s been ill lately, but tonight didn’t look great, with his velocity down. But really, that’s a topic for another time.
It took 5 hours, 11 minutes. It was generally not fun. It’s a sweep, though. It’s over. On to Miami.
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Also, I can’t not share this, because it’s so, so dumb. In the first inning, Puig beat out an infield hit, but was called out anyway (after being tagged) by Tim Welke because Puig turned towards second. Apparently.
GIF Link (via Chad)
Remember, Welke is the same guy who may have single-handedly brought instant replay to baseball with this ludicrous Jerry Hairston / Todd Helton call in 2012. And the umpshow wasn’t done yet! In the eighth, Hanley Ramirez struck out on a questionable checked swing, and though Welke signaled safe at first, home plate umpire Tim Timmons called Ramirez out, refusing to officially ask Welke for help.