The game started typically enough, with Carlos Gomez bunting for a base hit and proceeding to steal second. Denard Span grounded out, advancing the runner, and Joe Mauer squeaked a single to the outfield to strike first. That would be the extent of Mauer and Gomez’s day, never getting on base again. It would be a different story for Span, collecting his first hit (a single) in the third and drawing a walk in the 8th, eventually scoring. He also stole his first base of the year.
Nick Blackburn didn’t have extra dominance laying around from his first start to use in his second, but he certainly kept us in the game, allowing 2 hits in 5 innings. It took him 90 pitches to give up 7 hits (2 doubles, 5 singles), 2 walks, and 5 strikeouts. The starting pitcher’s streak of more balks than walks now swings in the favor of walks, and I’m sure it’ll stay that way.
The bullpen is what you can blame for the loss. Matt Guerrier lasted 1 and 1/3 innings, walking 2 and giving up a hit. He was charged with 2 runs but they came in with Pat Neshek pitching. Pat got 2 outs but gave up the lead and then a grand slam to make it 7-3. And for all the people who say he can’t pitch to lefties, they kill him, blah blah. Joe Crede, the grand slam hitter, is a right-handed batter. Thankfully there isn’t more fuel to add to that fire. Yes lefties fare better against Neshek, however, they still hit just .201 against him. Pretty feeble if you ask me.
There were two very positive things I saw in the game and both involve new Twins. Mike Lamb hitting two separate RBI doubles, for one, and Brendan Harris hitting his third double of the year. Even though Lamb is off to a slow start and Harris hasn’t played everyday because of Matt Tolbert‘s unexpected hot start, I still think both will be very valuable to the club. Harris had 35 doubles and 12 homers last year for Tampa Bay; those kind of numbers would kill any production we’ve received from that position in the recent past (Luis Rivas averaged 25 doubles and 9 homers, but with a significant drop in average/OBP/SLG, Luis Castillo averages 20 doubles and 3 homers a year.)
Are Bert and Dick frauds?
Reading through old posts, I came across this one. In it I talk about Bert Blyleven and a comment he made on TV. To save you some time, this is what I said:
Bert said that he once pitched a game where he gave up 5 homeruns (I don’t believe he said if they were solos or not). Dick then interjected, saying “and you WON that game!”. Dick also said “and, what gets me the most, is that you pitched a complete game!”. Bert said that in that season he gave up 50 home runs (major league record), 42 of them being solo, and that he won 17 games that year. And he led the league in innings pitched.
Well, I channeled my inner gumshoe and found out quite a few flaws in their statements. And I know the following is all correct because, thanks to baseball-reference.com, there is a log of every single home run Bert ever gave up in his career. Guess what? In only one game did he give up 5; that makes it easy to know the exact stats for any game in which he gave up 5 dingers. With further digging, I found out that the game was played on September 13, 1986, against the Texas Rangers. Bert’s line was 5 and 1/3 innings pitched, 9 hits/9 runs, 3 walks, 4 strikeouts, and 5 homers. Umm, newsflash for Dick: Bert did not win that game, nor did he pitch all 9 innings. The final score was Rangers, 14 and Twins, 1. 27 of the 50 homers he gave up that year were solo homers, not 42 like Bert had said. They were correct in saying that he won 17 games and lead the league in IP that year, though.
It was probably a mistake, making fraud too strong of a word. But, how can you be off by things such as 15 homers, 3 and 2/3 innings pitched, and the wrong half of whether he won or lost? It seems like they tried to embellish things or, quite simply, thought they were right. It’s a fairly petty thing either way and it goes to show what being bored can do, especially to a blogger. No game today because the White Sox schedule their home opener and then a day off in case of bad weather. Still, look for a post on Wednesday.