May 30, 2008
Kevin Slowey pitched all 9 innings, allowing just 6 hits and 1 run. He walked none and struck out 6, plus needed just 101 pitches to finish the game. 74 of those were strikes, which is a really impressive number.
Delmon Young got the night off, ending his streak of 217 consecutive games played. It shows that Gardy truly didn’t care about the streak because Delmon could’ve pinch-hit and the streak would’ve stayed alive, but he never did.
Carlos Gomez jump started the team from the leadoff position, going 4-for-5 with a double and a run scored, plus he drove in two. He did however get caught stealing twice. I wasn’t able to watch the game so I’m not sure, but I’d guess that a failed hit-and-run was involved. Either that or he just couldn’t get a good read on the pitcher.
The hapless Royals have now lost 11 in a row. That streak seemed to be ending before Craig Monroe‘s 9th inning blast a couple days ago
After sweeping the Royals, the team heads home to face the Yankees. Glen Perkins pitches tonight and it should be a great game because he’s been pitching extremely well recently.
Boof Bonser is penciled in to start tomorrow’s game, but it’s more than likely his last start for quite some time. Scott Baker also starts on Saturday, but for his rehab assignment, and it’s generally considered that if Baker pitches well and can come back to the ML team, Bonser is the odd-man out and will be sent to the ‘pen. With Perkins’ 4 quality starts in 4 total starts and Slowey’s complete game last night, and the emergence of Nick Blackburn and Livan Hernandez‘s contract, who else could it be?
Also, the team claimed a LHP off of waivers from the Indians, named Craig Breslow. It’s assumed that he’ll join the bullpen so that Dennys Reyes won’t get overworked (even though his last outing saw him throw one pitch, get the out, and get pulled for another reliever). My guess would be that Bobby Korecky gets sent down because frankly, he doesn’t pitch enough up here. Breslow is only 28 years old and has a career 2.95 ERA in the Majors in 34 total games (36 and 2/3 innings pitched). He has walked 24 in those innings but also struck out 33 and given up just 2 homers. It seems like a solid acquisition.
May 29, 2008
Livan Hernandez lasted 6 innings, allowing 6 earned runs (8 total) on 13 hits. 2 doubles, 11 singles, no walks and a couple of errors, both by Delmon Young, end up scoring 8 times. Livan struck out 2 and did not get a decision.
Delmon’s errors were ridiculous. His fielding one was a sign to me that he may need a mental break from the game. The ball was literally two inches above his glove. It wasn’t like he needed to hustle and dive for the ball to try and catch it. He was right there, underneath it, yet it dropped behind him. His throwing error was mistakenly charged, in my opinion. He threw the ball to the infield and it ended up going all the way to the backstop because Mike Lamb didn’t cut it off and Joe Mauer thought Lamb was going to cut it off, but he didn’t, so Mauer was too far away from it and Hernandez didn’t do a very good job of backing up the catcher on the play.
It was a pretty uneventful game, for Twins fans, until the 9th inning. With two outs, and after a single and a base advancement on a wild pitch by Jason Kubel, Mike Lamb got his third hit and second RBI of the night. Most importantly, he didn’t make the third out. Brendan Harris followed with a single of his own and again, didn’t make the last out. Carlos Gomez, 1-for-4 with 2 strikeouts at the time, hit the team’s fourth single of the inning to score Lamb but taking priority is the fact that he didn’t make an out. See the theme? If not, I’ll tell you: none of those batters made the third out in the inning. Meaning Alexi Casilla‘s turn in the order came up. I was wrong when I predicted a start for Craig Monroe. But he still got to play; a pinch-hit for Casilla. The count quickly became 3-0 before Monroe swung at a couple of pitches to make the count full. Then the ball was hung over the plate and Monroe pulled it into the left field corner and to my, and others’, I’m sure, disbelief, it was over the fence for a 3-run home run, tying the game at 8. A 5-run inning, initiated by some Twins small-ball singles and finished by a much-needed home run.
Justin Morneau got his first hit of the game in the top of the 10th, but he made it count; a home run over the right field fence.
Kudos to the bullpen, throwing 4 shutout innings behind Livan. Especially Bobby Korecky (who rarely pitches) and Dennys Reyes. They combined for 7 pitches (all of them strikes), 1 hit allowed, no walks, no strikeouts, but 1 and 2/3 innings pitched. Pretty remarkable. Also funny is that Jesse Crain only came in to get 1 out but he was credited with the win.
Joe Nathan, after blowing his first save of the year two nights ago, picked up his 14th save.
May 28, 2008
Nick Blackburn pitched exceptionally well, lasting 8 and 1/3 innings. He gave up two runs but didn’t walk anyone and struck out 4. 7 of the 8 hits he allowed were singles. Although technically it was Joe Nathan that gave up the runs. After Nick hit a guy and gave up a single, Joe came in and surrendered a 3-run, inside-the-park home run. Delmon Young was chasing the ball but i think gave up on it because he thought it was going to land foul. It didn’t.
Michael Cuddyer was 3-for-6 with 2 RBIs but struck out with the bases loaded early on in the game. He made up for it by getting an RBI single in the top of the 12th to put the Twins ahead, for good.
Alexi Casilla had 3 hits, including an RBI single. He also got his first stolen base of the year.
Justin Morneau also collected 3 hits and they were also all singles. He didn’t drive anyone in but scored once and also had a walk.
Joe Mauer was 0-for-4 but with his 2 walks, he ended up scoring twice (including the game-winning run.)
Livan Hernandez pitches tonight and since Jason Kubel was 0-for-5 last night, I’m putting my money on Craig Monroe to start. It could also be because Monroe has two homers in 18 ABs against the Royals’ starter.
May 27, 2008
Posted by Ryan Gleason under Nick Blackburn Leave a Comment
I was gone all weekend, had to work during two of the three games against Detroit and the game I could’ve watched – a 19-3 thrashing – I chose not to. Can you blame me?
The team travels to KC for some inner-division games. Nick Blackburn faces Brian Bannister, who gave up just 3 hits and 1 unearned run in 9 innings against us way back on April 13th.
May 23, 2008
Carlos Gomez collected 4 hits in 5 at-bats, scored twice, drove in three, and made a spectacular grab in center field. Including in that is his 4th homer of the year which, in case you didn’t know, is four times the amount of Joe Mauer, Delmon Young, Mike Lamb, and Adam Everett combined. Coming from a guy who is supposed to be faster than Jose Reyes and has reportedly needs to work on his ability to get on base, I’d say he’s doing pretty good. His average is now up to .286 and in the month of May his hitting line is .318/.375/.545 compared to .253/.260/.354 in April.
Speaking of Everett, he went on the DL again yesterday. Matt Macri was called up to “replace” Everett, but expect Brendan Harris to play short with Alexi Casilla at second. Macri can play third or second and I doubt he’ll start but rather come in if the game is a blowout, either in favor of or against the Twins.
Casilla batted 9th last night but went 2-for-4 with his first double of the year, he drew a walk, and scored 3 runs. He also helped turn 4 double plays playing second base.
Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer both played out of position (DH and first base, respectively) but each drew 2 walks and combined to drive in 3 runs. Cuddy made a throwing error that led to an unearned run but also made a snazzy leaping grab. Craig Monroe played in right but really didn’t do anything; he struck out twice in 4 trips to the plate. Jason Kubel made a pinch-hitting appearance and drew a walk.
In April Kubel drew just 3 walks compared to 20 strikeouts in 96 at-bats. Through 40 at-bats this month, he’s got 5 walks and just 6 strikeouts. 5 of his 11 hits this month have been for extra bases while in April those numbers were 5 out of 22. It seems like he’s been performing well enough to play everyday, doesn’t it? But Gardy continues to trot out overpaid vets instead of younger hitters with an actual future. I’ll admit, Monroe has surprised me so far. He has basically the same amount of at-bats as Kubel this month but is hitting just .214 in that time span. He has 9 hits in 42 at-bats; 3 doubles and 2 homers. He has drawn 4 walks but has also struck out 15 times.
Livan Hernandez didn’t win or lose, and didn’t pitch incredibly well. He gave up 5 earned runs in 5 and 1/3 innings, throwing 93 pitches total. He allowed 10 hits, 6 were singles and 4 were doubles. He walked 2 and struck out 1.
All the good relievers were then used with Matt Guerrier pitching 1 and 2/3 innings (due to his throwing error, an unearned run scored on him), Jesse Crain pitching an inning, and Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth. So Brian Bass was called upon to pitch in the 10th and gave up 2 hits and a walk, and the game-winning homer to Josh Hamilton. He also struck out 2 and his record on the season is now 1-1.
The team now travels to Detroit and Kevin Slowey is still looking for win #1 on the year. The team faces a pitcher that faced them on May 2nd and allowed 4 runs (only 2 earned) in 6 innings and it was a game that the Twins won.
May 22, 2008
I’m at a loss for words on how to describe the thrashing that took place last night (for the record, thrashing isn’t sufficient.)
It’s not even the 10 runs scored against us, 3 of those coming against our bullpen.
No, no it isn’t that. It’s the fact that Sidney Ponson, the same pitcher who sported a 2-5 record and a 6.93 ERA in 7 starts for the Twins last year, gave up just 1 run through all 9 innings last night, this time against us. In 110 majestical (sarcasm) pitches Ponson managed to strike out 5 Twins (including Justin Morneau twice), allow one walk and just 6 hits.
It’s also humorous to see Nick Blackburn pitch a quality start. You may be asking yourself why that’s humorous. Because his final line is this:
Alexi Casilla‘s missed catch in the 6th, as you can see, really killed us. A 3-run homer, among other scoring plays, happened after what would’ve been the third out had he caught the ball.
Milton Bradley was the only Ranger to not get a hit, but to be fair he only had 1 at-bat; he was ejected after arguing a called third strike.
Adam Everett got a triple, his first of the year. That brings his extra base hits total up to 7; 5 doubles, the triple, and a homer. Guess how many total hits he has? 14. I think it’s experimentally sound to keep him in the lineup, for the sheer fact that when he actually does get a hit, chances are he’ll end up at least on second.
Although Casilla had the team’s only RBI, he joins a slew of other Twins who went hitless. Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, and Mike Lamb combined with Casilla to go 0-for-14 with 2 strikeouts and 0 walks. For the team that scored 11 runs two games ago, it’s pretty interesting how they can completely lay down like this. Especially against Ponson who, by the way, I’m convinced is on steroids. He was throwing 94, 95 mph with his fastball and I don’t think he got above 90 or 91 while with the Twins. The Rangers are pretty much his last chance to make a career for himself and what better way to make sure you perform than by helping yourself like that.
Today’s game starts at 12:10 at the Dome, but watch FSN at 7 and that program called Twins Squeeze Play will be on. I figured out that they only do it for non-televised games but I really enjoyed it last time, as you only see 1 pitch per at-bat. Livan Hernandez goes for his 7th win.
May 21, 2008
Even though the team scored 11 runs, there really isn’t an offensive MVP. Nobody had more than 2 RBI (Alexi Casilla, Delmon Young, and Mike Lamb) and Joe Mauer was the only player with more than 2 hits. Mauer, along with Delmon and Jason Kubel, scored 2 runs as well.
Carlos Gomez hit his third triple of the year while Delmon recorded his 4th triple of the year. Mauer, Michael Cuddyer, and Kubel all had doubles.
Maybe the MVP should be Glen Perkins, who had a shutout going into the 7th. He ran into some trouble that included loading the bases with no outs, and ended up recording just an out before being pulled. His final line was 6 and 1/3 innings pitched, 2 earned runs (3 total), 6 hits, no walks, and 3 strikeouts. It was good enough to get him his first ML win. So, congratulations to you, Glen Perkins. Brian Bass pitched the rest of the way, giving up 5 hits but just 1 run in 2 and 2/3 innings. And he was on the mound when one of Perkins’ runners scored, but they still charge that to Glen, not Bass.
Gomez looks a lot more patient at the plate. He’s taking more pitches, not swinging at sliders low and away (Torii Hunter?) and in general seems to be learning at a fairly quickly rate. In April he had 1 walk to just 24 strikeouts and so far in May he has 4 walks to 19 strikeouts. What’s kind of surprising is that he hasn’t stolen a base (or even attempted to) since the Boston series, which was May 9th-12th. I wonder if there’s concern for his wrist injury still.
In some injury news, Matt Tolbert needs surgery on his hand and could miss up to two months. I’m sure this means Howie Clark will be up here for some time still. Denard Span also broke a finger getting hit by a pitch and will miss about one month.
May 20, 2008
Boof Bonser‘s errant throw on a tailor-made double play ball nearly cost the Twins the game because it would’ve ended the inning but instead led to two runs being scored.
Howie Clark saved the day with an RBI double in the bottom of the 12th.
Bobby Korecky pitched 1 and 2/3 innings of hitless relief, struck out two, and also got a single.
You might be thinking, wait, interleague play is over isn’t it? Yes, it is, but we lost our DH spot, forcing the pitcher to hit. I’ll delve into that shortly.
Brendan Harris collected 3 hits, Alexi Casilla hit his first ML home run, and Joe Mauer was 2-for-5 with 2 RBI.
I think I am officially on the Fire Ron Gardenhire bandwagon. He simply cannot manage a game. It’s the bottom of the 9th and Adam Everett, Casilla, and Harris are due up. He puts in Mike Redmond for Everett, Craig Monroe to hit for Casilla, and Harris stays put. Ok, why would Red Dog get an opportunity here? You have one infielder on your bench (Clark) and you pinch-hit for two of them? If it weren’t for Casilla, we would not have even been in a position to win the game. Monroe should’ve went in for Everett and Casilla should’ve had a chance to bat again. It further proves how much Gardy dislikes Alexi.
So we squeak out a run and go to the top of the 10th. Joe Nathan comes in. Good move, bring in your best reliever when you most need to hold the other team to 0 runs. Joe needs 5 pitches to get out of the inning.
Juan Rincon trots out for the 11th. Wait what?? The best closer in the game throws 5 pitches and gets 3 outs and you bring in ‘Roid Boy Rincon to pitch? What sense does that make? Rincon gave up a hit and two walks (loading the bases) and recorded just 1 out. In other words, he nearly blew the game. Korecky came in and got out of the jam, luckily. He should’ve never had to get out of a jam because Nathan earned the chance to pitch the 11th. We’re lucky we won.
Boof actually was doing pretty good, until the 7th inning. He only threw 79 pitches but was struggling, especially because of the double play ball that he threw too quickly to Everett.
May 17, 2008
Nick Blackburn pitched his little arm off, allowing just 2 runs over 7 innings. He gave up 6 hits but didn’t walk anybody and struck out 5, and 67 of his 88 pitches thrown were strikes. I didn’t watch the game but I’m guessing he could’ve gone out for the 8th and probably would’ve fared well. Juan Rincon and Dennys Reyes combined for a hitless inning (although Rincon walked 2) and Joe Nathan picked up his 13th save in as many tries, although his defense helped him out. Carlos Gomez had a pretty nice running catch to end the game and crashed into the wall at nearly full speed. Gomez had one hit on the night and also scored a run.
Delmon Young may have finally turned the corner. After admitting that he’s a notoriously slow starter and that he usually picks up his game around May 15th, he nearly doubled his extra base hits last night (had 3 coming into the game [2 doubles, 1 triple] and picked up 2 doubles) and scored 2 of the team’s 4 runs. He also had a single and his batting average is at .276 for the year.
Justin Morneau was the only other Twin with more than 1 hit, and both of his were singles. He didn’t score and didn’t drive anybody in but he did walk once and his batting average is at .307.
Adam Everett was hitless (I know, I need to update that counter) but had two sacrifice flies that each scored a run, giving him 6 RBI on the year.
Blackburn also got his first ever ML hit, an infield single.
Joe Mauer and Mike Lamb were the other Twins to get RBIs, each of them had one apiece and each of them also now have 16 RBI for the season.
Jason Kubel was the only pinch-hitter used and he flied out to center in his only at-bat.
Matt Tolbert was placed on the DL after he tore a ligament in his thumb. The injury happened on the last play of Thursday’s game when he dove head-first into first base. Maybe Nick Punto can get a clue? 2B Howie Clark got called up in his place and Clark should be available to play tonight. Clark is batting .284 in 116 AB this year for AAA Rochester. He had 7 doubles, 3 triples, a homer, and 9 walks compared to 10 strikeouts. He has 294 career ML at-bats, most of them coming with the Blue Jays in multiple seasons. My guess is that Everett will start at short every game until Punto gets back and Brendan Harris should still be starting at second, but between Clark and Alexi Casilla, the team should be set with middle infielders. Casilla could play short if absolutely necessary and I wouldn’t be surprised if, at some point in the next couple series, Harris or Clark are tried out at third. And technically it wouldn’t be “trying out” Harris at third because he’s played there before, just not for any significant period of time.
May 16, 2008
The Twins got swept yesterday afternoon, falling in 11 innings to the under-.500 Canadian team. It wasn’t televised but I happened to catch a new program, and unfortunately the name currently escapes me, but it’s the 30-minute, condensed version of the game. I don’t know why they would’ve taken footage if the game wasn’t televised (maybe specifically for this show?) but it was pretty cool to see just one pitch per at-bat. If I didn’t watch it, I would not have known that Jason Kubel was thrown out at home because he ran right through Scotty Ullger’s stop sign at third base. Brendan Harris also got thrown out at home, but I missed that part of the quick recap so I’m not sure if it was his own doing or not.
Glen Perkins pitched pretty good actually, allowing just 2 runs on 5 hits in 6 innings. All the hits he gave up were singles. He did walk 2 but struck out a career-high of 6. Matt Guerrier, Dennys Reyes, and Joe Nathan combined for 4 innings of scoreless relief, striking out a combined 5 and walking none. As much as I want to like Jesse Crain, he hasn’t done enough for me this season. Although in his defense, he probably has an excuse. He gave up a double on the very first pitch he threw but then recorded two outs in a row. He intentionally walked their 1B who was 0-for-3 on the day. Ok, I guess the loss can be pinned to Crain because he walked (not intentionally) the next batter to load the bases. A pinch-hit, soft liner passed a diving Matt Tolbert is all it took.
Speaking of Tolbert, he was hitless in the leadoff spot, although he walked and ended up scoring. He also had a throwing error but it didn’t contribute to any runs being scored. The reason he led off is because shortly before the game started, Carlos Gomez became ill and threw up and apparently just didn’t feel good. Craig Monroe played CF instead and got his 7th double of the year in 4 trips to the plate. He also made a pretty snazzy diving catch and Gomez would get an AB as a pinch-hitter in the 10th inning.
Justin Morneau got his 6th double of the year and also had a single with an RBI and a walk. He’s now batting .302 on the year.
Kubel finished with two singles and a walk, batting in the third spot.
Interleague play starts today with the Twins traveling to Colorado and the bandbox that is Coors Field. I’m most excited to see Livan Hernandez hit. Seriously, it isn’t out of the question for him to hit a homer before Joe Mauer or Delmon Young do, which is really sad to say. Tonight’s game starts at 8:05 and Nick Blackburn pitches. Saturday’s game starts at 7:05 with Livan on the mound and Sunday is an afternoon game (2:05 start) when Kevin Slowey looks for his first win of the season.
I’m sure that Delmon and/or Michael Cuddyer will get a game off so that Kubel or Monroe can play. But with all the hitters pinch-hitting for pitchers, Cuddy and DYoung will get their shot at some point.
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