Thursday, August 14, 2008

George Michael

I watched the Minnesota Twins take two games out of three versus the New York Yankees today without sending either Scott Baker or Francisco Liriano to the mound even once. Let me tell you, it's a good feeling when your favorite team comes through. Kevin Slowey (9-8, 3.97 ERA) got his season ERA under 4.00 for the first time in a month-and-a-half and the Twins won 4-2 on the strength of Delmon Young's second straight game with a three-run homer.

I'll be the first to say that I thought Young was a life-draining leech the first two months of the season. He came in on a white horse as the Twins' hitting messiah, and we all thought he'd be an adequate replacement for Torii Hunter. Not the same, mind you, but maybe one or two steps below our beloved center fielder. When he decided to go 230 at bats without a home run, and hit a very pedestrian .264/.323/.337 through May, I was sounding the "2007 bust alert" siren. Then something happened - the weather warmed up, and so did he. And now, two months later, he's one of the most productive bats in a lineup that sorely needed a boost. "DY" went 5-for-12 in the series with two home runs and six RBI, and we're all hoping and praying that he's going to make up for 60 days of spring malfeasance with a scorching end to the summer. I guess George Michael and Limp Bizkit were right... you really do "gotta have faith".

Adam Everett didn't play yesterday, but if he would have, he surely would have gotten a hit off Rasner. On my "official" scorecard, I gave him a hit just for showing up to the ball park. I'm sure he hit something out of the infield in pre-game batting practice.

The M&M boys did precious little damage this series... Joe Mauer went a respectable 3-for-7 with an RBI, but Justin Morneau hit just 1-for-11 with only one runner driven in. As a matter of fact, Morneau has been terrible in August, hitting a frigid .154/.314/.205 in 39 at bats since the Cleveland series on August 1. He hasn't homered over that stretch either. Of course, all this means is that he's incredibly due for a hot streak, and if it's all the same to him, I'd like if he saved it for the 14-game road trip starting next weekend in Anaheim.

It's an off day tomorrow, but the action cranks up again Friday night at the Dome when Francisco Liriano takes on former Twin Carlos Silva. I'm predicting a 23-2 Twins win, but I'll probably re-think that by game time.

By the way, the White Sox won again tonight, which - for the first time since last Saturday - meant there would be no daily lead change in the division. The Sox play at 1:10 p.m. vs. Kansas City tomorrow.

Last, Ken Rosenthal of wrote that Raul Ibanez (Mariners) was claimed off waivers tonight. No word on who got him, but with the news that Cuddyer is going to be out for the balance of the regular season, he'd be a nice addition. Plus, Ibanez is eligible for free agency after the 2008 season, so there's no commitment to him past September/October.

A few more random Twins notes to end the night: Joe Nathan, among closers who meet my not-so-strict criteria of 40 IP and 15 saves, has the best ERA in the majors this season. Only Jonathan Papelbon (BOS), Mariano Rivera (NYY) and Joakim Soria (KC) have better WHIP numbers than the Twins' stopper... Kevin Slowey allowed a first-inning run today for the first time this season... Carlos Gomez is now among the top 10 strikeout kings in the MLB this season with 112. Adam Dunn, in contrast, has 123. I still can't believe this guy was leading off into mid-July. Excuse me while I go throw up.

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Minor League Notes (truncated):
  • Rochester Red Wings CF Jason Pridie extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a single tonight vs. Syracuse. 2B/DH Alejandro Machado, however, was unable to extend his 21-gamer, going 0-for-4 on the night. 3B Luke Hughes (3-for-3) and 2B Matt Macri (3-for-3, 2 HRs)provided the fireworks though in the team's 5-3 win.
  • Both 2B Brian Dinkelman and SS Steven Tolleson tore the cover off the ball tonight. Dinkelman went 3-for-5 with a double and three runs while Tolleson shellacked a homer and two doubles to go a perfect 4-for-4 with three RBI. On top of that, Tolleson stole his twelfth base of the season.
  • After allowing 14 runs in his July 28 and August 2 starts (14.54 ERA), Beloit pitcher David Bromberg has bounced back with a vengeance. In his past two starts, Bromberg hasn't given up a run in 12 innings, and won both decisions. Last night, he went seven scoreless and struck out 10 while allowing just three hits (five baserunners - 2BB) for the Snappers.
Enjoy the Twins' off day! See ya tomorrow!

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