Saturday, May 5, 2007

Recap 5/5/2007 Twins 2 , Blood Sox 1

My poor finger nails...

Whenever Johan Santana takes the mound Twins fans immediately feel more comfortable. Thats what happens when a guy is undoubtedly the most dominant pitcher in baseball. And for a guy who's been notorious as a slow starter early in the season he's been quite good this year, though he's far from being as dominant as he can be. Coming off three straight losses the Twins needed that sort of dominance as they went into their second game of the series with the AL East leading Red Sox who shut them out last night.

Early in the game Johan certainly wasn't at top form as he struggled through the first two innings allowing three hits and walking two. However he got through those innings unscathed and the Twins, who have been finding ways to not score with runners in scoring position almost all season found a way to push runs across the plate in the second. With one out Justin Morneau singled and went to second on an error. The next two batters, Jason Kubel, and Jeff Cirillo each walked to load the bases. Cirillo's ten pitch at-bat in particular made me happy as its the exact sort of bat that a team would like to have one or two of in each game (and the Twins have had almost none of) as they can eat up a starters arm. The next batter, Jason Tyner grounded into a fielders choice, forcing Cirillo at second (who made a great hard slide) but that scored Morneau. The hitter, Jason Bartlett hit the first pitch he saw hard on the ground to third and a diving Mike Lowell couldn't make the play and everyone was safe. Castillo grounded to short to end the inning but the Twins had two much needed early runs. Not surprisingly those runs would be all the Twins could muster against the latest pitcher they're trying to nominate for the CY Young award, Julian Tavarez.

After the second inning Santana continued to deal but he had another 30 pitch inning in the fourth and was out of the game by the fifth. It certainly wasn't one of his better outings as he gave up 7 hits and two walks, far from Santana-esque. Thankfully to say the bullpen which has had a up and down season bailed him out as Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Pat Neshek, and Joe Nathan pitched scoreless frames of varying degrees of worry. In particular the ninth inning was once again an adventure as Kevin Youkilis reached on an error by Nick Punto with one out to bring up David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Ortiz SMOKED a liner to center and thank goodness Torii Hunter was out there because that was a tough ball to go get. Then Manny Ramirez stepped in and with 40,000+ fans on their feet, "Stand Up And Shout," nailed down Manny Ramirez.


- The Bullpen. They we're all fantastic holding down one of baseballs most formidable lineups. Joe Nathan in particular gets credit for shaking off some real rough outings early this year, staring down a brutal lineup and coming up huge.


- The lineup. All of them. Its freaking Julian Taravez guys!


Listening to the post-game commentary I find it humorous how they always say things like, "Julian Tavarez had his best outing of the year tonight, he's got great stuff and his sinker was really working well...," blah, blah, blah. Are you kidding me? The Twins have made almost every single pitcher they've faced this year look like Sandy Koufax, and it has jack to do with them being on their game. It has everything to do with this Twins lineup being filled with fringe major leaguers. That said, theres almost no chance Terry Ryan will be doing anything to change our lineup so I might as well just shut-up and accept it.

1 comment:

Ray Felix, III said...

Twins pitchers WPA - 65.5%
Twins batters WPA - -15.5%

Fortunately, this isn't the lineup we should see the rest of the summer. Half of our largest offensive contributors (Mauer & Cuddyer) weren't in tonight, and it doesn't sound like either plan to miss extended time (fingers crossed).

It wasn't a particularly satisfying win, I grant you, but in the end we scored more than the other guys.