Supporting Joe Nathan

With a two-run lead the Minnesota Twins were three outs away from leaving New York tied up at one game apiece. A single off closer Joe Nathan and a two-run homerun later, and the game was all tied. The Twins would go on to lose, and instead of having a great chance heading home, they’ll instead be looking to avoid a sweep when they take the field at the Metrodome for their first home game.

Now is not the time to turn on Joe Nathan. It’s not the time to say he doesn’t deserve what he makes. It’s not the time to say he shouldn’t be put right back in the game if the situation faces the team again. And it’s not the time to trash his ability.
Joe Nathan is one of the best closers in all of baseball, many would argue that he and Mariano Rivera are right up there at the top. This season, Joe Nathan helped the team cap off 47 games, and without his incredible performance in game 163, he might not have been on the mound in that situation in the first place.
Next season, barring an injury or major setback, Joe Nathan will become the team’s all-time saves leader. He already set the single-season saves record this season, and next year he’ll more than likely become the best in franchise history.
No he was not the best this season against the New York Yankees, and no he couldn’t send the Twins home with a game two victory. But Joe Nathan is one of the best closers in all of baseball, he is the closer for the team you support, and one poor game shouldn’t make fans turn their back.
There isn’t a much worse thing a fan can do than turn on a player, and Nathan doesn’t deserve it. Sure it’s the playoffs, and sure it was a huge game, but Nathan has been instrumental in the success of the team since his arrival in 2004. He has been a leader, a winner, and an All-Star, and one game shouldn’t change that.

6 Comments

I agree with supporting Nathan, but using the very-flawed “save” statistic to do so is the wrong route.

Nathan is a great closer, and perhaps the best pitcher on this team. He just chose perhaps the worst night to not have his fastball.

My comment is in no way a blast against Joe Nathan, but my opinion is this: IF IT WORKS, DON’T FIX IT. I think the management messed up here because Guierrera was doing great, and only one more inning to close em down. To pull him out in the 9th was a BIG MISTAKE. There were no big problems. I understand it’s strategy, but by putting in a new pitcher here, I don’t care his reputation, you are borrowing trouble. It’s like, expecting that you NEED someone to save the game before you really do. That’s the wrong attitude. Wait til a save is NEEDED to bring in someone like Nathan. Otherwise, you’re borrowing trouble. Nathan saves. He doesn’t save before a save is needed.

They should have kept G. in. It’s not a comment against Nathan at all. I love and admire the guy, I think he’s awesome.

I’m still proud of my Twins, though!!! I think this game 2 of the playoffs against the yanks could have gone either way. But to me, the turning point in the game was when they made a change when the “feel” of the game was clipping along fine. Not a good move. It’s like throwing in a monkey wrench when the engine is running.

A p.s. to my comment – Nathan is great, but I had 100% faith in Guierrera to do the job.

I gotta hand it to you guys- you gave us a hell of a game tonight. Within the space of a week, you’ve given us two extremely entertaining games…game 163 w/ the Tigers and tonight’s game. Definitely one of the better games this year.
–Ryan

Let’s cut the Crap.
The twins should attempt to trade Nathan ASAP.
He’s paid multi millions to come in with a 2 run lead, playoffs on the line and CLOSE it out.
He’s paid those millions to close out key games, secondarily regular season and we can use a Guerrier, Crain combo to accomplish that at a far cheaper cost.
No we need the money being wasted on Nathan to get other more meaningful players and we could get several.
Nathan had an opportunity last nite and he Blew it to justify his worth to thios team. he’s no Riviera.
All of the previous years and money came to a climax last nite as the table was set and he threw up in his own mouth as well as on us and our playoff chances.

I support Joe Nathan all the way. I have these two thoughts:

1. A graphic was shown just before the start of the inning. Big Tex and Jeeter were something like 12/20 life time against Joe Nathan. Sure, it’s a small sample, but it’s significant–it means that, even though Joe may be great in the clutch, these two guys see him really, really well. So even though it’s “customary” to bring Nathan in in those situations, Gardy should have thought twice. At least let someone else try to get one of those two guys out.

2. Porge53 is stupid. A closer is one of your most important team members (regardless of what you think about the “save” as a stat). When you’ve got a lights-out closer, the other team is demoralized, and you know that when you enter the 9th with the lead, you’re probably going to win. Keep Nathan, Morneau, Mauer!

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