Glen Perkins said it himself:

I gave up 10 hits today, but nine of them were singles … But it’s avoiding that big inning by not giving up that big hit with guys on base. Let them chip away, get a single here, a single there, get a guy out. They are going to score runs, so it’s just trying to minimize those innings.”

And he’s right. Nick Blackburn has a WHIP of 1.41 but has managed to keep a very respectable 3.87 ERA, in large part because most of the hits Nick allows are singles. It’s tough to compare Perkins to anybody because he has about half the innings pitched as other starters who have been pitching the whole year have, but let’s take Johan Santana for example. Santana’s allowed 96 hits, but 33 have been extra-base hits (XBH), giving him an XBHA% of 34.3 (XBHA% meaning the percentage of his hits allowed that go for extra bases). Perkins, allowing 69 hits with 21 of them going for extras, has an XBHA% of 30.4. Are you confused? I hope so, because I wrote that and it confuses me. If you have any logical, sane way to describe what I just tried to, by all means please explain it in the comments section.

 

The team had another great night offensively, but they were helped again by the Nationals’ tough time in the field. Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel each had a double and a triple, and they each scored two runs, but the only difference was that Cuddy drove in two while Kubel had just one RBI. Cuddyer also had two great catches that saved probably one run, but possibly more. He attributed the catches to his lack of athleticism, saying they looked that good because he wasn’t fast enough to get under it. It’s good to see he has a sense of humor, which probably goes hand-in-hand with how he has been hitting in the month of June. His line is currently at .304/.409/.945  in 18 June games.

Joe Mauer, Brian Buscher, and Brendan Harris all joined them in the two-hit club, with Buscher getting two RBI and raising his average to .375.

 

Delmon Young and Alexi Casilla were the only Twins to go hitless, but Casilla had a sac fly for his 24th RBI of the year. He also got caught stealing and made a fielding error, and could’ve easily been charged with another one. We have to hope it doesn’t rattle him too bad and that he can rebound nicely against the D-Backs.

In Seth Stohs’ recap of the second game in this series, he mentioned Kubel as playing with confidence and trying to hit the ball hard every time up. Generally you can relate hitting the ball hard to line drives, and Kubel’s LD% (Line Drive Percentage) is actually way down this year. For instance, last year his LD% was 22.1%, and in 2004 before his injury it was 23.1%. So far this year his is just 15.9%, which indicates to me that he’s yet to start hitting like he normally does. No matter what you think of his performance last year (I stand by my statement that he was our best hitter after the All-Star Break), he still ended up with 31 doubles. Considering the average player in the AL only had about 20 doubles, and factor in that Kubel didn’t even get a full-season’s worth of at-bats, I’d say that’s pretty good. Coming to my conclusion though, he has just 7 two-baggers so far this season. If he were to get the same amount of ABs this year as he did last (418), he’s on pace for just 13 doubles. On the other hand, he’s on pace to increase his HR production by 54%. He had 13 last year and is on pace for 20 this season. But you know what’s encouraging? Kubel had this to say after the game:

I’m starting to feel a lot better, starting to feel like I did at the end of last year and before I got hurt”

and it just gives me hope, as a Kubel fan, that he’ll crush what he’s on pace for and actually finish the year as the team’s second- or third-best hitter (depending on the parameters you want to use). Obviously Mauer is going to lead the team in average, while Justin Morneau will most likely lead in homers (with Kubel as his only competitor), but overall I think Kubel is right there with those guys, ahead of Cuddyer too.

 

One last thing I want to touch on is how great Craig Breslow has been for the Twins. In 8 games (8 and 2/3 IP) he’s allowed just three hits, all of which came in his June 3rd outing against Baltimore. Still, they were all singles, and he hasn’t allowed a run yet as a Twin. He’s also sporting a 9:2 K:BB ratio and, yes it’s true he hasn’t really pitched in high-leverage situations (pitching the ninth inning in a 9-3 game is probably fairly easy), he’s shown that he can handle the best situations with ease. I’m hoping that Ron Gardenhire is realizing that too, and maybe we’ll start to see Craig in roles that Juan Rincon used to get.

 

Tonight’s game starts at 7:10 and it should be a great one, with team ace Scott Baker against future Hall-of-Famer Randy Johnson.

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