I had a busy weekend and school started yesterday, so hopefully along with it comes regular posts again. Before I get to last night’s game I want to talk about something that’s been bothering me. It pains me to continually see Rondell White, Jason Tyner, Nick Punto, Luis Rodriguez, etc. in the lineup when guys like Jason Kubel, Brian Buscher, and Garrett Jones are riding the pine. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of Tyner and Punto makes some really great defensive plays. But I want to see what Jones can do on a regular basis. I’ve always been a fan of Kubel’s and seeing him with a .364 average and .438 OBP in the month of August helps me in my bid to have others accept him as a Major League hitter. I think people forget this is his first full season in the Majors. Hurting him this season has been Ron Gardenhire generally benching him against left-handed starters. And Buscher has been alright, a definite offensive upgrade over a Punto/Rodriguez combo at the hot corner. The team has done a decent job of bringing up younger starters though, with Kevin Slowey making a start last night and Nick Blackburn getting his first Major League work in the game before that.
So injuries have kinda hit the team hard lately. Joe Mauer is out with a leg injury while Dennys Reyes will probably need surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow, ending his season. Tommy Watkins is out with a “lower abdominal muscle strain” and can be activated in a few days. Last night Mike Redmond left the game after re-injuring his dislocated finger. Mauer actually had to take a pitch to finish Redmond’s at-bat.
Speaking of last night, it looked like the Twins were in position to win with a 2-run lead heading into the 9th, but after Dick and Bert constantly talked about where your pitches SHOULDN’T be if you don’t want Travis Hafner to hit a homer off of you, Nathan gave one up with a runner on 2nd. Hafner would get the game-winning sacrifice fly in the 11th inning. Slowey lasted just 5 innings but gave up only 1 earned run. Julio DePaula gave up 2 runs in his 1 inning of work. Carmen Cali continues to be horrendous, throwing 8 pitches to 2 different batters with both of them reaching: one via walk and another from a hit by pitch.
Justin Morneau had a decent night, going 3-for-5 with 3 RBI but no runs scored. Kubel was 2-for-4 with an RBI, a run, and a walk. Rodriguez had a surprising night, collecting 3 hits in 4 at-bats with an RBI.
Scott Baker pitches for the team today in a game that starts at 12:10 in the afternoon. He’s obviously been hot as of late and he faces Fausto Carmona who sports a 3.31 ERA and 14 wins.