Sunday, April 8, 2007

Game Notes and Recap 4/8/2007 Twins 3- White Sox 1

Boxscore-April 8, Twins 3, White Sox 1

On a day spent by many wishing, "happy Easter," to friends and family, Johan Santana was wishing the entire state of Minnesota a happy Easter. In doing so he ruined the White Sox day as he allowed just one hit, a blip to Michael Cuddyer in right field by Joe Crede in the second inning. However, despite the impressive final line Santana did struggle in the early going as he walked three batters in the first two innings before settling down and retiring the final seventeen batters he faced. Coming into the game Ozzie Guillen, clearly desperate to try to find a way to solve the Santana riddle decided to load up his lineup with left handed hitters. While it seems counter-intuitive Santana has actually fared worse against lefties than righties allowing a .230 BAA to lefties and a .218 BAA to righties. People much more intelligent than me like Aaron Gleeman attribute this to his changeup. Of course, when your talking about career BAA's below .230, 'success' becomes a very relative term.

As for the bullpen they had their second straight 'rough game,' once again, the term is very relative. After allowing two innings in last nights contest, Jesse Crain allowed a solo homerun for the only White Sox run of the game. After eight shutout innings against the Orioles the Twins have allowed 3 runs in six innings to the White Sox. While this certainly doesn't spell gloom and doom I'm a bit concerned about how effective Dennys Reyes may be this year. After being a journeyman reliever for his career and posting such a great season last year you have to wonder whether or not team within the division are going to be used to him now and perhaps he'll come crashing back down to earth.

As for the Twins offense tonight, it was the middle of the order doing what they're paid to do. Between Batting Champ, MVP and Cuddybear the Twins went 5-11 with all three runs coming on MVP's second homerun of the season. After a slow first couple games Cuddyer is suddenly leading the team in batting with a .412 average despite having only one extra base hit, a double and two RBI's as the cleanup hitter.

On a down note, two of the hitters who made the Twins so successful last year, Jason Bartlett and Nick Punto have come tumbling back down to Earth so far this season hitting a combined 4-35 (.114). If the Twins intend to compete this season, those two players will NEED to be contributors this year, getting on base, stealing bases, and scoring runs. I don't want to sound the alarm too loudly as obviously one week of baseball is a long way from a definitive sample size, but it's certainly something that needs to be noticed. In Bartlett's case, with Alejandro Machado on the DL and unproven, it's conceivable if he continues to struggle that the Twins may be forced to use Alexi Casilla. However, if Punto turns back into his old self, having Jeff Cirillo as a backup at third, though not ideal is a decent fall back option.

Despite the bullpen struggling, the top and bottom of the order having a couple holes, the Twins are 4-1 so far, and thats not so bad. Next up, Yankees baby. Look for me in left, I'll be that guy harassing Melky Cabrera, and if Will Young gets his way, maybe even pulling a Bobby Knight (check his WPA chart for April7).


Nick N. said...

You are behind on your game recaps, my good man. Not that these games are really worth writing about anyway...

Corey Ettinger said...

I know, the holidays really screwed me up. I'll be back on track soon.