I’m not at home this weekend so unfortunately my blogging will be short and to the point for this Cleveland series.
First off, so long Livan Hernandez and Craig Monroe. They were released by the Twins yesterday and can either accept an assignment to AAA Rochester or choose to be free agents. The moves were made to help make room for a callup…Francisco Liriano, welcome back to the big leagues. He’ll make the start tomorrow in an afternoon game against the Indians. I think I speak for the general Twins fanbase by saying I’ll be tuning in to watch Franchise pitch again. Also getting a call is DH Randy Ruiz, a 30-year old rookie. He has pretty good AAA numbers, if I remember right he had a .320 batting average with something like 17 homers, and he got his first Major League hit last night, a single. I expect him to get most of the DH at-bats against left-handed pitchers, as Jason Kubel has apparently become a platoon player (for what it’s worth, Kubel has only 4 less HRs than Justin Morneau this season.)
Now onto last night’s game. Nick Blackburn allowed only one run through seven innings of work, aided by some nifty defense and key groundballs.
Brendan Harris struck first, lining a double to the left field corner and later scoring to put the Twins up 1-0. He also hit a double after Ruiz’s single, and aided by a fielding gaffe, Ruiz was able to score. It surprised me and probably would surprise a lot of other people to know that Harris now has 21 doubles on the season. That’s good for third-best on the team.
Joe Mauer hit a key two-run homer when the score was tied 1-1 to give Minnesota the lead, for good. For as little power as he displayed early on in the season, it seems to be coming around for him. I wasn’t, and still am not, the type of fan that thinks he can knock out 20 homers in a season. But 10-12 certainly isn’t out of reach for him, and his on base skills plus defense certainly make up for any offensive deficiencies.
Joe Nathan came in and although he gave up a leadoff double, stranded the runner on third and recorded his 30th save of the year. That gives him five years in a row that he’s had at least 30 saves. I’d say that’s pretty impressive.
Both starting pitchers tonight (Kevin Slowey for Minnesota and Paul Byrd for Cleveland) are coming off shutouts in their last starts, so I think it will be another fun game to watch, and it starts at 6:10 instead of the traditional 7:10.