Sunday, May 27, 2007

Recap 5/27/2007 Twins 4, Black and Blue Jays 2

Looking for their third series win in as many series, and after a night spent scalding the ball almost all game long when they pumped out 17 hits and about 10 hard hit outs, the Twins bats couldn't put much of anything together against Jays "ace" A.J. Burnett. I say ace because with with Roy Halladay on the shelf for a few more days, Burnett was the best the jays had and he came in on a roll. He kept it up going eight innings and allowed the Twins just three hits and a few walks. Thankfully to say he also made a costly throwing error that led to a couple Twins runs and made a one on mistake to Justin Morneau that MVP deposited in the upper deck in right. Speaking of MVP...

I spent the first month + of this season ragging on Justin Morneau and overwhelmingly placing the blame for many of the Twins losses this season squarely on his shoulders. While I wont back off of my assessment that his lack of clutch hitting cost the Twins a number of wins in April, I must say tonight was just the most recent fantastic performance of his this May. Last night I extolled the performance of cleanup hitter Michael Cuddyer and his brilliant late May performance, today we'll look at Morneau.

In the 18 games since his first multi-homer performance of the season on May 8th he's hit .315 with 9 homeruns, and most importantly, 22 RBI's. Whats more, they're finally coming on hits that don't leave the park. He's begun to start singling and doubling guys in. His ability to do just that last year is what made him the AL MVP and if he can continue to do that and drive in the runners the Twins get on base, he and the team will be much better off. Obviously.

Whats been especially nice is that with the Twins lacking the ability to produce throughout the lineup, and with Torii Hunter beginning to cool off a bit, he and Cuddyer have really begun to carry the team and have on their own either won games or kept the team in games that may otherwise have been blowouts. Perhaps its unfair that we as fans and the Twins as an organization heap so much responsibility on those three, but with their payroll and the lack of bats in the minors, it's all they can reasonably afford. That said, with the Twins top and bottom of the order hitters littering the bases with runners all season, they have done a good job of trying to make the jobs of those three as easy as possible. The team has lead the league nearly ll season in at-bats with runners in scoring position and continues to do so with 467 such at-bats.
The difference in the team over the past couple weeks has been their ability to drive those runners in, as they are now hitting a slightly more respectable .253. Hopefully that upward trend will continue, and if it does, I'll certainly expect this team to finish at third in the AL Central this season. Regretfully to say I'm mostly convinced that this seasons chances to make the playoffs are almost nil, as neither Detroit, and especially Cleveland will likely come back to the rest of the division.

Another point of note was the quality of Carlos Silva's start tonight. His previous long outing of the year was a seven inning performance May 4th against Boston. Tonight with the Twins having used each and every one of their bullpen pitchers last night, the team really needed someone to go deep into tonights game. Silva did just that going 7 1/3 innings and did a fantastic job keeping the team in the game and working out of the few Jams he did get himself into.
He started the eighth inning but gave up a leadoff homerun and getting an out before allowing a crisp single to #2 hitter Lyle Overbay.

In relief the Twins brought on Juan Rincon, one of the few relievers who didn't throw at least 20 pitches last night. I for one was concerned from the start because Juanny seemed like he wasn't quite comfortable in his uni and spent the better part of a full minute adjusting himself. When he allowed a past ball in the Wells at-bat all I could think was, "here we go." Thankfully to say all of my paranoia was unjustified and Rincon got Wells to pop up and the inning ended one batter later on a long fly out by Stairs. Nathan nailed down the ninth and the Twins had their third series victory in a row.

1 comment:

Biby Cletus said...

Cool blog, i just randomly surfed in, but it sure was worth my time, will be back

Deep Regards from the other side of the Moon

Biby Cletus