May 19, 2021

Tyler Duffey was right to throw behind Yermin Mercedes

Social media and the talking heads of ESPN were abuzz on Tuesday, loudly pontificating on the unwritten rules of baseball after the Chicago White Sox’s Yermin Mercedes hit a ninth inning home run off Willians Astudillo to extend Chicago’s lead to 16-4 from 15-4 on Monday.

The unwritten rule is that you take a 3-0 pitch and swing at the 3-1 pitch, but Mercedes clobbered the 3-0 offering into the night sky. To me, that crosses a line, and I think the Twins, despite some utterances to the contrary, believe that too. White Sox manager Tony La Russa also believes it, which led him to reportedly talk to Mercedes about it. The unwritten rules of the game also spell out how a team like the Twins is expected to respond, and so they did with reliever Tyler Duffey throwing behind Mercedes in the seventh inning. Duffey was ejected and so was Twins manager Rocco Baldelli. This is part of the game.

Meanwhile, Tuesday’s game was dramatic in other ways as well. The Sox raced out to a 4-0 lead, then Miguel Sano put the Twins on his back and hit three home runs to tie the game at four in the eighth. Then in the ninth, Jorge Polanco singled in the winning run for the 5-4 walk-off win.

Matt Shoemaker gets the ball on Wednesday.

Extra innings…

-Outfielder Trevor Larnach got another hit and is now hitting .292.

-Those who appreciate the unwritten rules of the game were clearly in the minority on Tuesday. It also appears that those arguments fell across generational lines, which explains why former Twins player, Roy Smalley, and La Russa, understand it, but perhaps why current Twins manager, Baldelli, can’t or won’t.

And then there was this…

And this…


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.