Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Recap 5/9/2007 Twins 3, White Sux 6

Fresh off a dramatic come from behind 7-4 victory last night the Twins surely were riding an emotional high. Regretfully to say those emotions didn't translate into early hits as once again the team fell behind on a very average pitcher in John Danks. Danks came into tonights contest with a 0-4 record and a 5.02 ERA but held the hapless Twins hitless until the fifth when Michael Cuddyer singled through the middle. The Twins also had a walk by Justin Morneau early on but both baserunners were erased by double plays. It wouldn't be until the sixth that Danks finished an inning having faced more than the minimum number of batters for the game, as Mike Redmond singled and the next three Twins went down in order.

By that point the game already seemed over as Ramon Ortiz had his second rough start in row, allowing four runs in the first inning, and another in the fifth. On the night he would go six innings while allowing six hits, three walks, and the five runs, all earned. But as Ramon left, the bats started to show up. In the seventh the Twins got one run across as Jeff Cirillo drove in Nick Punto after he and Hunter walked. In the eighth the Twins kept the momentum plating two more on Torii Hunter's first hit of the game, a dribble to short that Juan Uribe threw past first baseman Paul Konerko allowing Nick Punto and Luis Castillo to score. The inning ended when Justin Morneau, fresh off his hero performance struck out on what looked like three balls with runner on first and third.

The ninth inning would bring more drama as the first two batters walked, however Jason Kubel who struck out twice last night did so again and once again looked terrible doing so. He really seems to be incapable of hitting, or laying off of a slider down and in. Its a gaping hole that he'll need to close, soon. Jason Bartlett then hit a sharp line drive to right but not out of the reach of Jermaine Dye and Luis struck out to end the game.

While the game wasn't without excitement it's disappointing to see the Twins bats remain inept. There really are no answers as there aren't any feasible trades that can made, and no minor leaguers to be brought up. If the Twins are going to score they're going to have to start doing it with the guys they have. They'll need Kubel to begin providing some pop, and I think moving Bartlett to the two hole would help as he's been a markedly better hitter so far this year than Nick Punto. But these are just small parts of a much larger problem. What the Twins really need are super-star performances from the middle of the lineup. When runners are on base, Hunter, Cuddyer, and Morneau, are going to need to start driving them in, something they haven't done with any consistency this year. The Twins as a team aren't having trouble getting people on base, they're hitting .276, 4th best in the league, but arent driving those runners in as they are hitting .255 with runners in scoring position, 18th in the league with only 22 extra base hits.

The problems with this team aren't complicated and wont be solved by bring up new pitchers, they aren't the problem, the team has one of the best ERA's in the game. The problem is this offense so many had expected to be the strength of this team.

Positives

- Torii Hunter had another clutch hit, and once again it was his only hit. The basket catch he made while running full speed into the wall with his back turned to the ball may have been the single best play I've ever seen. Not this year, not lately, ever. It was a clutch catch that saved runs, was acrobatic, and took insane courage, courage which his body paid the price for.

Negatives

- Ramon Ortiz put his offensively challenged team into a big hole by giving up four early runs and was in trouble throughout much of the game.

- Justin Morneau. One day after being the hero he returned to being the goat with two strikeouts including one which really cost the team.

- Jason Kubel. Another costly strikeout in a clutch situation. I think the world of Kubel but at some point he needs to start earning the respect I so freely give him.

- Michael Cuddyer. His one hit was a meaningless single and every time he's had an opportunity to plate runners lately he's failed.

- Even though he hit a couple balls quite hard Bartlett was 0-4, and didn't come through when the team needed him.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Josh Rabe was awful too out in left and at the plate. Could have madea long inning shorter had he tracked down a foul ball with 2 out and his throw home on a single barely reached the baseline between 2nd and 3rd.

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Nick N. said...

The official scorekeeper who decided to mark Hunter's grounder to short a "hit" was being awfully generous.

Mark said...

That catch that Torii made was definately a top 5 in his career. Had he dropped it, an inside the park Grand Slam definately would've happened.

I wasn't all that disappointed in Perkins performance either. Although his WHIP was bad, I felt Castillo should've made a play on that grounder that got through, which resulted in a run.

Corey Ettinger said...

I have seats in the fourth row in center field and was maybe 50 feet from the catch. Other catches may look more flashy, but that talent level needed to make that play is unmatched. He was running full speed with his back turned to the ball, and had to fall down backwards, against his momentum while making a basket catch and running into the wall. Unfathomable.