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Bad Defense and the Bad Nats

   by Ben Burns - 06/29/2009


Through Saturday, the Twins had committed the second fewest errors in all of baseball.

That’s what makes Wednesday’s loss in Milwaukee so tough to swallow.

Leading 3-2 with two outs in the eighth inning, emerging Twins ace Nick Blackburn (+$154 on the season) was cruising toward his second straight complete game, when J.J. Hardy blooped a harmless single into center field.

The Brewers’ shortstop later admitted to being jammed and bruising his thumb on the hit.

Jason Kendall followed with ringing a double off the top of the wall.

There was nothing fluky abound Kendall’s shot. The only question was would Hardy, with his average speed, be able to score from first.

Left fielder Jason Kubel tracked down the ball and heaved it to shortstop Brendan Harris. With Hardy laboring toward the plate, Harris fired toward home. It was going to be close, but Harris’ relay attempt was wide and got past catcher Joe Mauer.

Hardy scored to tie the game, and Kendall headed for third.

Blackburn backed up the play and was in position for Harris’ off-line throw. But, instead of just eating the ball and turning his attention to the next batter, Blackburn took a needless shot at nailing Kendall at third.

The ball sailed over Joe Crede, allowing Kendall to huff-and-puff his way home for the winning run.

“That was a long run,â€쳌 Kendall, who was credited with an RBI double, told the media.

“I should’ve just held onto it,â€쳌 Blackburn admitted to reporters. “All kinds of things went through my mind right there. It was an annoying play all the way around.â€쳌

The Twins (-116) didn’t threaten in the top of the ninth and ended up losing 4-3.

Afterwards, Brewers principal owner Mark Attanasio got in a jab, saying “It was like a Little League play.â€쳌

Top Defensive Teams

(Through Saturday)

1. Philadelphia
2. Toronto
3. Minnesota
4. L.A. Dodgers
5. Pittsburgh

Worst 5 Defensive Teams

1. Washington
2. Arizona
3. Florida
4. Chicago White Sox
5. Seattle

Bad beat warning

For those of you who have been betting against the pathetic Nationals every chance you have, it might be time to back off a little.

The Nationals (22-51) are already -$2,444 for the season and are on pace to finish close to $5,000 down.

If that happens, it will be a rarity.

Only once in the last 10 seasons has a team finished down more than $5,000 for the year.

The 2004 Diamondbacks finished -$6,125, by far the largest deficit in the past decade. Arizona finished that season 51-111.

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