Saturday, May 19, 2007

Recap 5/18/2007 Twins 8. Brew Crew 1

After a brutal series against AL Central leading Cleveland, the Twins traveled to Milwaukee to face the NL Central leading Brewers. And for at least one game, all the pieces came together. The bats, while not on fire, got the clutch hits, and a pitcher not named Santana rose up and dominated, never letting the opposition get going.

I'll begin with the pitching, as it is what I was most impressed by. Boof Bonser who has struggled in three of his past four starts with his control had not just his best outing of the season, but likely the best of his career. In a game where the Twins desperately needed a win, especially after last nights embarrassing loss to Fausto (not Raphael-Thanks Nick ;)) Carmona with Johan's brilliant game being wasted, Boof stepped up big. He allowed a first inning run to score after giving up two singles to start the game when he induced what should have been an inning ending double play ball, but the infield failed to make the turn quickly enough and the run scored. From there on Boof was nearly perfect. Over the next six innings he would retire the side in order five times, allowing just one more single and a lone walk. By the time he left after the seventh the Twins we're up comfortably 8-1 and Boof had struck out a career high eleven batters.

On that note Boof has really seemed to improve as a strikeout pitcher this season. While he has always been pretty good at racking up the K's, his K/9IP last year was 7.54, this year that number has ballooned to 9.83. An increase of over two per nine innings which is rather impressive for a guy who lacks a truly dominant pitch. If he can get his control issues under control, Boof's ceiling could turn out to be higher than anyone would have thought. It's likely that he'll always be rather homerun prone, but players have worked around that to be good pitchers plenty of times. Of course I could just be getting too excited and Boof may revert to his old form of allowing too many walks and untimely homeruns.

On offense the Twins did a very good job of plating a much higher percentage of the runners they put on base than normal. Whats more, they did it against a lefthanded pitcher, something of rarity this season. For the night the Twins had ten hits, and four walks which they turned into eight runs, with four of them coming in one swing when Torii Hunter hit his eighth career grand slam, and second of the season. That came after Jeff Cirillo, making a return to a city where he played a majority of his career, drove in a run with a rare triple. He would later add a two run homer that carried just beyond the fence for the final two Twins runs. Lew Ford delivered the other RBI on a double into the right field corner.

Overall a great night for the Twins as they finally managed to play a game where both the bats and the arms were on their games. They'll need a whole lot more of that if they want to stay in the race.

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