Sunday, May 6, 2007

Recap 5/6/2007 Twins 3, Blood Sox 4

I'd like to begin my recap of today's game by saying I was thrilled to hear Van Halen's "Right Now." For those of you who don't know it's the song that was played last year immediately before the Twins took the field and it's also one of my favorite songs. Until today I hadn't heard the team play it even once and hopefully it's back to stay. Now on to the real news...

The impostor occupying Justin Morneau's body cost the Twins yet another game this afternoon. Sidney Ponson had a decent outing his last time out perhaps saving his spot in the starting rotation and earning him his start tonight. He was pretty good early on though he did give up a couple runs through four innings he seemed to be doing well, keeping the ball down in the zone, and giving the team a chance which is all that you can ask of a fifth starter.

However things started to come undone in the fifth as a single by Alex Cora, followed by a walk of David Ortiz put runners on first and second with none out. The next ball in play was a sharp ground ball to third which Luis Rodriguez fielded and threw to second but despite having time, Luis Castillo didn't make a throw to first to try to get Kevin Youkilis. So in what should have been a two-out runner on third situation the ground-ball that J.D. Drew hit back to Sidney Ponson led to a rushed throw to second that was low. Its entirely possible that if the first play had been made the second wouldn't have been rushed and the Twins would have escaped without allowing a run. Regretfully to say the Red Sox strung a couple more hits together and left leading 4-0. That was the difference in the game as the Twins scored three runs total. But had they played better D they could've won this game 3-2.

Through six innings it certainly looked as though fellow blogger Curt Schilling was going to have every opportunity to pitch a complete game shutout as the Twins we're swinging away early and had only four hits, but in the seventh there was a Piranha attack. The Twins got the bats going (kind of) in the inning turning a walk and four singles into three runs, being held back from even more when Justin More-not predictably grounded out weakly. Earlier this season I mentioned that More-not was a better leadoff hitter (by average) than he was a run producer (with runnners in scoring position). He proved me right again by lining a single off the baggie to lead off the fourth but struck out looking twice with runners on base and had the rally ending ground out in the seventh.

For the game the Twins managed to get 10 hits, once again all singles and their lack of power is getting frightening as they are now without Cuddyer until at least Thursday and Mauer for at least two weeks. With Morneau incapable of getting clutch hits and Kubel without a homer run yet that leaves Torii Hunter as the lone legitimate power threat. Given his track record of streaky play and poor timing, I couldn't be less excited. I wouldn't be surprised if this team loses at least 5 of their next seven.

Justin Moreneau: As Leadoff Hitter: 12-33 (.364) W/RISP: 6-40 (.150) 10 RBI

Luis Castillo: As Leadoff Hitter: 10-35 (.286 0 runs scored? Wow!) W/RISP: 5-17 (.294) 3 RBI

If the Twins bench wasn't so thin, and the lineup so TERRIBLE I'd really recommend sitting him for a series to let him relax as he obviously needs to clear his head. Examining those numbers it's quite obvious to anyone who cares to notice that he's pushing too hard. The fact that he hits so much better with the bases empty has nothing to do with his swing and everything to do with his mind. It's not like he's scorching balls that are right at people, he's striking out, and poping out. If Gardy can get him relaxed at the plate again we'd be much better off. But right now he's just a waste of a hitter at the plate.


- Luis Castillo. He had two hits today and both of the left the infield. I don't have the numbers on this but I think thats a first this year for him. Literally.

- Mike Redmond got a couple more singles today, once again neither of the balls were pulled. This season he's pulled only 22% of the balls he's put in play which leads me to wonder how long it will be until teams start using an awkward defensive switch, playing him hard to go the other way.

- Torii Hunter had two more hits, also both single extending his hitting streak to 21 games. What a contract year so far.

- Sidney Ponson. His 5.1 inning start isn't that great but he pitched pretty well for a fifth starter, losing a likely quality start to a lot of bad fielding by Luis Rodriguez, and Luis Castillo. No errors were registered on the plays but they were definitely there.

- Glen Perkins. He gave the Twins two very good, very important innings keeping the game close and holding down Papi for at least one at-bat.


- As mentioned just before the defense of Luis Rodriguez and Luis Castillo we're the leading reasons in my mind that we lost this game. Without their botched double-play attempt allowing the first run of the fifth, they had another that allowed the second run.

- Justin Morneau. His inability to produce in clutch situations has gone from comical, to predictable, to scary, to something else...

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