Saturday, April 21, 2007

Recap 4/20/2007 Twins 7, Royals 5

I'd first like to apologize for not having last evenings recap, I have no real good excuse other than being disgusted by the pitching of---everyone, and I decided to spend the night with my sports gal. That said, on to todays action.

This afternoon Boof Bonser made his fourth start of the season against the Royals. Last year Bonser made three starts against them and they didn't go as smoothly as the Twins may have liked as he went 1-2 with a 4.80 ERA. This season Bonser has been having a tough time keeping the ball in the park, coming into the game having allowed five homeruns and leaving with a league leading seven homeruns allowed. For those of you keeping count the Twins as a team have hit only 9, or 3/4 of Alex Rodriguez. In five innings Bonser threw 87 pitches and allowed five runs, three earned, giving up seven hits. While Bonser has had a rough go of it so far this season, racking up a 6.73 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP. The one positive Twins fans can take away from his starts thus far this season is that his K/9 is up from 0.83 to 1.08. Though I personally question whether or not it may be leading to him overthrowing some pitches and leaving those up in the zone.

As for the offense, it showed up for the second straight day, pounding out hits all afternoon and finishing with 16, translating those hits into seven runs. It would have been more if not for a number of foolish base-running mistakes and double plays. On the mound for the Royals was Zack Greinke who's been a pitcher on the come for a number of years. Greinke started off the year well going 13 innings in his first two starts striking out 12 and compiling a 1.39 ERA. Since then however its been a difficult road, in the start before this he went only 2/3 of an inning and allowed 4 runs. Of the 16 hits, 6 were for extra bases, including two doubles apiece from MVP and Batting Champ and a triple from Nick Punto. Speaking of Nicky, he has finally raised his average above the .200 mark after back to back 2-4 performances. Hopefully this is a sign that his bat is coming around.

Despite the fact the Twins record stands at an AL Central leading 11-6 I do see cause for concern. Last season it seemed the Twins were constantly in a cycle where the hitting would be on and the pitching would be off or vice-versa. This season seems much the same, the difference is simply a couple runs here or there. The Royals, despite being much improved, are still easily the worst team in the AL Central and possibly the worst in the AL, or even all of baseball, splitting games is simply not what the Twins needed. The Twins thus far have been helped by having an awfully soft schedule, with perennial losers like the Orioles, Devil rays, and Royals taking up 10 of their first 18 games while teams such as the White Sox have had a far tougher road to hoe. Speaking of the White Sox, despite everyone predicting their imminent demise, they've weathered six games against the Indians, three against Oakland, three against Texas and two against both the Tigers and Twins, and managed to put themselves in second place.


- Nick Punto. I never thought I'd say this but his bat is finally coming around, after another 2-4 with a walk, hopefully he's starting to find his swing.

- Alexi Casilla. He's not much of a major league hitter yet, as he seems almost clueless when he tries to swing away, but man alive is he fast, if he doesn't hit it hard at someone, he's on. He went 2-5 today, striking out once and stealing his third base. He still doesn't make the greatest contact (5K's in 22 AB's with no walks) but he seems adept at working the count as his P/PA is now up to 3.87. Solid.

- Batting Champ. He just keeps on hitting.

- Justin Morneau. After an up and down first 12, his bat seems to be coming to life as he's hitting the ball all over the place, and hard. I'd still like to see him cut down on the terrible swings, as there are still lots of them, but as long as he's driving them in, I'm a happy man.

- Joe Nathan and Pat Neshek. Theres nothing worrisome about striking out the side in order.


- The Twins started off the season getting many dominating pitching performances, they could really use one here from Ramon Ortiz. My main concern is that Ortiz is going to become satisfied or complacent and it could lead to us losing a game we should win tonight.

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