MILWAUKEE — Let’s put ourselves in Twins manager Billy Gardner‘s shoes. Your team trails 3-2 in the eighth inning. There are two down. Your starter, Brad Havens, looked solid until now. Through seven innings, he allowed three runs on six hits and a walk. But then he gave up two singles and loaded the bases with a walk.
Havens is 22 years-old, left-handed and in his second season in the bigs. At the plate is left-handed power hitter Ben Oglivie, who had grounded out twice and lined out in his three appearances on the day.
So what would you do? Do you leave the youngster in for the lefty-vs.-lefty match-up? Or, since he’s loaded the bases, do you assume he’s had it and go to the bullpen?
After having a few words with Havens, Gardner heard what he needed to hear. He left his guy in.
Oglivie responded by lining a shot into the gap in right center, clearing the bases and making it a 6-2 game. The hit would be the difference maker as the Twins would score one more run in the ninth.
It’s always easy to second guess when a decision doesn’t work out. But really… No matter how bad the bullpen is, your inexperienced pitcher just walked a guy to load the bases in the eighth inning. He’s gassed. You’re down by one. And you leave him in to face one of the league’s preeminent RBI men?
I guess that’s why the Twins suck. But thank you, Billy Gardner, for leaving a noodle arm on the mound. The Brewers and their fans appreciate the win.
Game Notes: Twins rookie centerfielder Jim Eisenreich pulled himself from the lineup before the game because of a nervous disorder that causes a shorntess of breath. He was then taken to the Mount Sinai Medical Center emergency room and released. He has used two types of drugs in an attempt to control the disorder, without success … Seattle pitcher Gaylord Perry became the 15th pitcher to win 300 games with a 7-3 Mariners win over the Yankees … Ben Oglivie now has 23 RBI, most in the American League. His batting average, though, is .234 … County Stadium crowd of 6,303 was the eighth straight under 10,000.