Thursday, April 19, 2007

Recap 4/19/2007 Twins 6, Mariners 5

After six innings of frustration and in danger of spoiling another good outing from their starting pitching the Twins finally broke through against Jarrod Washburn and Julio Mateo in the seventh, roughing up the Mariners pitchers for five runs. The inning started on two first pitch bunt singles by Jason Bartlett and Alexi Casilla who had entered the game in the fifth replacing Luis Castillo who pulled up lame after a double leading off that inning. The Twins followed that up with a sac bunt by Nick Punto who made his return to the team, and following an intentional walk to Joe Mauer who celebrated his 24th birthday, Michael Cuddyer who had been 0-3 finally came through with a 2 RBI double. With runners on second and third the Mariners intentionally walked Morneau to get to Mike Redmond who then singled in two more. The Twins would finally go down after a fielders choice by Rabe and a pop up by Tyner, but the damage was done.
Coming into the seventh inning the Twins bats had been failing with runners in scoring position once again going 1-10 up to that point including an 0-4 mark by Cuddyer and Morneau, which led to many profanities spilling from my mouth. Thankfully to say my sports gal was not around as she was busy in Moorhead as her Fighting Scots took on Concordia Moorhead. For those who are anxious to find out how they did, and I know the numbers are many, I still don't have an update.

On the mound the Twins had that Johan Santana guy twirling and while he didn't look to be at his best through four, allowing four hits including a homerun by Yuniesky Betancourt, he settled down after that homerun to retire the final eleven batters, recording four of his seven strikeouts in that span. For the night he went seven strong innings allowing just the two early runs and left after the Twins big seventh with a 6-2 lead. He allowed just the four early hits, struck out seven, and walked one.


- Jesse Crain made his first appearance since reporting shoulder soreness (tendinitis is what they called it) and looked good, touching 95MPH with his fastball and having a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth.

- Alexi Casilla came in and was 2-2 with a bunt single and a chopper to SS that he beat out. He also stole third on a double steal by the Twins and scored a run while making a great play on a ball in the hole and running down two pop flys in shallow right in the ninth.

- Batting Champ. On his 24th birthday he goes 1-2 with two walks and a HBP.

- MVP was 2-4 with a couple singles and a walk but failed twice with runners in scoring position striking out and lining one into the side of Washburn.

- Joe Nathan had his first "good" game in a while. He did allow a double to Richie Sexson but it had more to do with Michael Cuddyer losing the ball in the sun. He stapled it down after striking out Jose Guillen. Save #5.


- Clutch hitting. While the Twins did end up driving in 6 runs, this is a game they could've won by 10 had Cuddyer and Morneau driven in runs in the third and fifth. Through the first 6 innings the Twins went 1-10 with guys in scoring position.

- Scott Ulger's decision to send Morneau in the second. Yeah he scored but if Ichiro's throw doesn't bounce into the air off the mound Morneau is out by 10 feet. Seriously, why do you run on Ichiro's arm? Why? Anyone?

- Castillo could miss some time with a hamstring injury. Thankfully to say, Casilla is about as good a replacement and as an exact a clone as you could reasonable conjure up.

- Pat Neshek. He made this game too darned interesting after surrendering a three run blast to Raul Ibanez.


Nick N. said...

Good work as usual Corey. I listened to the game on the radio en route to Des Moines, Iowa (where we are sleeping tonight before finishing the trip to Kansas City tomorrow morning). I got the impression that Santana was struggling with his control early but settled in very nicely after a few innings. Did Castillo's injury seem serious? How bad was his limp? I must admit, I wouldn't mind watching Casilla play regularly for a couple weeks if Castillo has to be shelved... that kid has some exciting speed.

I was just taking a look at the Royals' stats in preparation for the upcoming series. Man, Alex Gordon has been downright awful. Hitting .125 in 48 AB with 17 K and just 1 BB. Guess that's what happens when you throw a kid into the big leagues after just one season in the minors, no matter how talented he is. I'm still looking forward to watching him play this weekend.

Gil Meche has been outstanding through 4 starts. Will this turn out to be a great scouting job by the Royals?

Ray Felix, III said...

Very nice write up, can't think of much of anything to add.

Castillo looked markedly worse than usual pulling into second. Word is that he's day-to-day, with a possibility of DL time.

I agree with Nick, let's let Casilla play a bit while Castillo heals for a while. It can only help Alexi's development.

Nick M. said...

Castillo's injury is a strained right quadriceps. Can't be sure how serious that is, but it has to at least sideline for a few games, if not putting him on the DL. (Which seems most likely)

I posted that I thought Bartlett might be a good choice for leadoff while Castillo is out. Casilla is a good candidate, but I'm afraid of what will happen if he isn't great right away. Gardy's methods suggest that Casilla might be better off away from too much pressure right away.

With those options, I have to take Bartlett, who has hit fairly well in recent games, over Nick Punto and Jason Tyner.