Saturday, August 2, 2008

Blackburn Keeps It Goin'

The Twins got an excellent effort from SP Nick Blackburn last night - seven innings, six hits, one earned run and a couple of strikeouts got the job done as the Minnesota won 4-1 in the series opener vs. Cleveland. It wasn't an easy one, as the Indians starter Jeremy Sowers no-hit the Twins' bats for five innings before Brendan Harris doubled in the sixth and was driven in by Carlos Gomez. Joe Mauer added a two-run homer in the three-run eighth inning. Matt Guerrier and Joe Nathan (save no. 30) pitched scoreless eighth and ninth frames to close out the 61st win of the season. Unfortunately, the White Sox were able to make Ken Griffey Jr.'s debut a successful one as they stayed a 1/2-game ahead in the standings.

The best news of Friday, of course, was that Francisco Liriano and Randy Ruiz were called up to replace Craig Monroe and Livan Hernandez. Ruiz singled and scored a run in his first major-league game after 10 years in the minor leagues. You may wonder why a guy with a lifetime .302/.369/.524 batting line was doing in the minors for so long, but when you get suspended a couple of times for drug-related issues, the front office loses trust. So he finally got his shot last night, and will likely get some ABs until Michael Cuddyer gets back.

As of right now, it's looking like Liriano is going to start for Livan Hernandez on Monday, but there's been no official announcement as of yet. Today, Kevin Slowey (7-7, 4.00 ERA) is taking on Paul Byrd (5-10, 4.93 ERA) at 6:10 CST at the Dome. Byrd has been lights out for the past three starts to the tune of a 1.89 ERA. His 1.473 WHIP shows that he's more Livan Hernandez-like than his ERA shows, however, so the Twins should be able to get something going.

Minor League Notes:
  • Luke Hughes and Jason Pridie banged out a couple of hits a piece in four at bats, and Hughes stole his first base at the Triple-A level.
  • Alejandro Machado smoked his second home run during a current 10-game hitting streak for the Red Wings. He's batting .400 over that span.
  • Fort Myers SP Matthew Fox (not the guy from LOST) pitched six shutout innings to get back on track for the Miracle after two sub-par starts. Fox gave up eight hits and struck out three in the no-decision.
  • Striking out batters hasn't been much trouble for Beloit Snapper Mike McCardell - he's K'd 105 men in 101 innings this year, and got another 10 last night. McCardelll went six innnigs and gave up seven baserunners (6 hits, 1 BB) on the evening. Over his past two starts, he's got a tidy 1.38 ERA and 0.615 WHIP. It's crazy though - he recorded a no-decision and a loss in those starts.
Thanks for reading, and have an excellent day!

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