If you have listened to more than one of Fanatic Jack’s podcasts, you know that he likes to mention that someone is “living in Fantasy Land.” Ron Gardenhire thinks the Twins can win with Drew Butera catching and Joe Mauer not playing today? Gardy must be living in Fantasy Land. Bill Smith keeps Nick Blackburn on the major league roster because in his eyes, Blackburn is a major league-quality pitcher? He must be living in Fantasy Land. You get the picture.
However, this post is not about Fanatic Jack. Rather, it’s about three of the men that are paid to discuss the Twins during games: Dick Bremer, Bert Blyleven, and John Gordon.
During yesterday’s game, the Twins were losing 5-2 heading into the 9th inning. Milwaukee closer John Axford had pitched 2 innings the night before, throwing about 30-some pitches. For many relievers, that type of workload one game would make them unavailable for the next game. Now, we all know about the more famous closer that is on the Brewers roster, career saves leader Trevor Hoffman. Most, if not all of us, also know about his struggles this year. I know I do, I was the poor guy that had him on my fantasy team for the first month and a half of the season.
Despite his struggles, Dick, Bert, and John all entertained the idea that since Axford had pitched 2 innings the previous game, he would be unavailable for yesterday’s game. That’s a legitimate argument. However, they also suggested that perhaps the Brewers would have Trevor Hoffman pitch the 9th inning. I understand that he would have had a two (and eventually three) run lead, but Hoffman has been historically bad this season. So bad, it’s baffling.
- His strikeouts per 9 innings is a career worst 5.73. His next lowest was 6.91 in 2007. Last year, it was 8.00.
- His walks per 9 innings is a career worst 4.50. Next worst was 3.90 in 1993, his rookie season. Last year, it was 2.33.
- He is allowing nearly 3 home runs per 9 innings.
- His ERA is 9.00, backed up by a 7.50 FIP and 6.21 xFIP.
- He’s blown 5 saves already this year. The most saves he’s blown in one year was 7, in 2007. He also had a 2.98 ERA that year.
By far, this is Trevor Hoffman’s worst season ever, and it’s not even close. I know that he has been one of the best closers ever, but I’m sure that the Brewers are weighing this season more heavily than Hoffman’s track record. I do understand that the team with a lead in the 9th inning almost always wins, but it would have been far too risky for the Brewers to trot out Hoffman to close the game.
Maybe it was just wishful thinking by these three men, but for one night, Dick Bremer, Bert Blyleven, and John Gordon were all living in Fantasy Land.