Well, they’re on a 2-game winning streak, at least.
Friday night’s game had Carlos Gomez going 3-4 with a bunt hit and 2 stolen bases, a double, and a run scored. It was also Scott Baker‘s first start of the year and he did very well, giving up just 3 runs over 6 and 2/3 innings. It’s even more impressive knowing the 3 runs came in the first and second innings, and he could’ve gotten that last out in the 7th but was pulled in favor of Pat Neshek. The same Neshek that had stamina troubles last season and couldn’t pitch after hitting a wall and here we are 6 games into the season and he’s been in half of them.
Like I said in that other post, Michael Cuddyer didn’t finish the game though. After sliding head-first into third base, he came up holding a finger on his right hand. After being examined it was determined that he has a dislocated index finger on his throwing hand, and also a laceration. He was placed on the 15-day DL afterwards with Denard Span getting his shot at the Majors a lot sooner than he expected. Craig Monroe will start in right during the absence of Cuddyer with Jason Kubel being the fulltime DH. Span will act as 4th outfielder because his defense is stellar and he could probably play anywhere out there with success.
Justin Morneau hit into 2 double plays that game…he made up for it in the next, but I’ll get to that in a moment.
In yesterday’s game the team scored 6 runs, their highest output of the season. It also saw Matt Tolbert hit second in the lineup in his second straight start at second base. Wow that’s a lot of 2s. Either way, he got 2 hits in 4 at-bats and scored 2 runs. He will probably keep playing until his hot streak dies down. On the flipside, Gomez was hitless in 4 at-bats with 3 strikeouts.
Remember when I said Morneau made up for it in the next game? With the team down 2-0 in the 4th, he took a Gil Meche pitch deep into the bleachers for his first home run and second hit of the season. Joe Mauer and Tolbert were on base while it happened, giving the team a 3-2 lead.
Livan Hernandez did fairly well in his second start, giving up 4 runs through 7 innings. What’s more impressive, to me at least, is that he needed just 74 pitches to do so. He didn’t walk anybody, struck out 2, and allowed 7 hits. So far this season though he’s thrown just 158 pitches in 2 starts. For comparison, in his 9 previous full seasons in the Majors, he has never averaged lower than 15.36 pitches per inning pitched. His average for the Twins? 11.29. Now we couldn’t watch the game and I didn’t get a chance to listen to it, so maybe Livan was getting into some trouble but was able to finish the inning out. That would be a decent guess considering he gave up 2 runs in the 7th, but again I can’t be sure. Joe Nathan picked up his 3rd save of the season, too.
An interesting note about Craig Monroe: he was 1-2 with a double and a walk yesterday, but he worked awfully hard for the walk. He had a 10-pitch at-bat in the 3rd inning, getting the 4th ball after fouling off 4 2-strike pitches. I won’t mention Mike Lamb‘s 1-pitch, 1 out at-bat right after that.
Edit: as I say Monroe will start in RF (which is what was first reported), I look at today’s lineup and see Span is starting there instead. Gomez is still in center, Delmon Young in left, and Kubel is at DH still. Tolbert is still playing, but this time at short, with Adam Everett on the bench and Brendan Harris at second. It’s another day game today.