The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Baseball Blog

May 6, 2009

Brain cramps

The Twins did very little right on Tuesday. They got shut out by a starting pitcher who ought to be in Double A; they looked like the 1962 Mets in the field; their starter didn't pitch effectively even given the lousy play behind him. They lost by the forfeit score, and which is appropriate, as they were not mentally present for the game.

As i write this on Wednesday morning, there are indications that the decision makers are near their breaking point with Alexi Casilla. It figured to take a lot to do that; as I told an e-mail correspondent Tuesday — in a message composed while the Twins were self-destructing — the Twins have something of an emotional commitment to Casilla. He's supposed to be a multi-year solution to second base.

But he seems to have reverted to his 2007 form.

Casilla was handed the second base job in midseason that year upon the trade of Luis Castillo, and spent the rest of the season handing it back. Every day seemed a new adventure in, to put it bluntly, stupid play. And it seemed that every time his focus wandered, it showed. If he was on base and forgot how many outs there were, it would bite him. If he missed the signal to cover second on this pitch, that's when the steal attempt would come.

Last season seemed better, although I had the feeling that the brain cramps were still there to some extent — it's just that in 2008, if he was supposed to cover on a steal and didn't, the batter would foul off the pitch. No damage. This year, the mistakes show.

I do not underestimate the amount of concentration, of focus, of determined observation it takes to play major league baseball well. The minutia of defensive positioning —

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