MILWAUKEE — The scoreboard at Miller Park presents each player’s OPS, rather than their batting average, next to their name. In an era where advanced metrics, even ones as simple as on-base plus slugging, better represent a player’s true value, most teams still opt to use a player’s batting average next to their name — including at Target Field.
At first glance, however, it does make each player’s stats look a bit inflated. Keston Hiura, Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun, the Milwaukee Brewers’ 2-3-4 hitters against the Minnesota Twins Tuesday night, are accomplished players. But to see numbers like .800, .900 or 1.000 next to their names makes them look all the more intimidating.
Yet there Sam Dyson was, walking out of the bullpen towards the mound to face Hiura, Yelich and Braun with the Twins up 7-5 in a game where they could take back first place from the Cleveland Indians. Behind him on the jumbotron: 81.00.
Not his innings pitched this year.
Not his WHIP.
Nope, that was his ERA with Minnesota this season entering this game.
“More than ever,” Dyson said before the game when asked if he was itching to get back into a game after coming off the injured list with right biceps tendinitis.
“Honestly, the last two years my arm’s been pretty much killing me, so the last four or five days have been amazing. I threw without irritation at all. So yeah, I’m very excited to go out and compete with the guys”
He delivered. Hiura struck out. Yelich grounded out to the first baseman, C.J. Cron. And Braun was thrown out by catcher Mitch Garver on an attempted bunt single.
“It was fun to watch,” said Rocco Baldelli. “He’s got unique action on his pitches. You can tell by some of the swings that he gets. He definitely gets some uncomfortable-type at-bats.”
When Yasmani Grandal hit a three-run home run off of Ryne Harper, who entered in the 7th inning and did not record an out, it seemed like not only had the Twins given up their 4-2 lead, but perhaps they would fall further fall behind in the AL Central.
Grandal’s home run was hit over the bullpen in right field, but fans who let their eyes wander to the out of town scoreboard in left field would see the Cleveland Indians tie up their game with the Boston Red Sox, 6-6.
Not only did Marwin Gonzalez’s home run off of the first pitch he saw from Milwaukee closer Josh Hader put Minnesota ahead again, but shortly after that Boston pulled ahead to beat Cleveland 7-6 in 10 innings.
“This was a very nice game for us,” said Baldelli. “It feels really good to be sitting here, having come back and earned it against a very good team.”
“We’ve played a ton of games, probably more than we should have, just like tonight’s game. we’ve done it over and over, we’ve won some of them and we’ve lost some of them. They are draining games. they’re not normal baseball games. It’s not like someone gets a lead and they ride it out for seven innings and the game’s over. We haven’t played very many of those lately.”
They haven’t. And in this game it was Sergio Romo, the other deadline acquisition, who closed it out because Taylor Rogers was unavailable. Baldelli has preached staying relaxed all season long, and it’s easier to do so when Dyson and Romo can close out a game.