Now, I'm not going to say Crain or Reyes or others might do much better - I have VERY little faith in Jesse Crain - but how could they do worse? Guerrier was pitching decent, then he lost it. Against Seattle and Kansas City, no less! Possible solutions could be to bring up Bobby Korecky from the Rochester, but they'll probably do that in September anyway. They could also juggle the bullpen or pitch Nathan more in the eighth inning (last night would have been a perfect opportunity to do so). Chances are that they were saving Nathan for the Yankee series unless it was a one-inning save situation, but you've gotta make hay against poor teams. The Twins couldn't do that this week, and find themselves inexplicably behind the White Sox in the standings.
Saturday and Sunday went pretty well for our starters - Francisco Liriano and Scott Baker combined to throw 12 2/3 innings, and gave up a total of five runs (3.55 ERA) and 13 hits (16 baserunners - 1.263 WHIP) in their outings. Baker struck out seven batters and Liriano got five men out on strikes... two solid performances from guys we'll need high-quality production from the rest of the year.
The bats got the job done for the most part as well, putting up 11 runs in the final two games of the series in support of their starters. Delmon Young blasted his fifth homer of the year, and is batting .309 with five home runs, 31 RBI and three steals since June. He had zero homers and 15 RBI in April/May. We expected more power, but his bat has given Jason Kubel and Justin Morneau a bit of relief.
Today, the Twins get New York in a pivotal three-game series where they'll face Sidney Ponson (2.55 career ERA vs. Minnesota) tonight, 16-game winner Mike Mussina Tuesday and young gun Dan Giese in Wednesday's noon game. Minnesota will counter with Glen Perkins tonight, Nick Blackburn Tuesday and Kevin Slowey Wednesday. Should be an enjoyable series, and I'll be there on Wednesday... maybe I'll ya'll there.
Minor League Notes:
- The major offensive threats for Rochester have kept at it, as Luke Hughes (2-for-4) bombed his second home run in four games last night for the Red Wings. Alejandro Machado singled in four at bats and now has a 19-game hit steak, while Jason Pridie continues to streak in August - he's batting .462 this month.
- In two games over the weekend, New Britain 2B Brian Dinkelman scorched five hits in eight at bats to raise his average to .288 in 32 games as a Rock Cat. He batted .293 in 63 games at Fort Myers earlier this season, so it's an encouraging sign that he's handling the next level just as well.
- Elizabethton CF Evan Bigley went 4-for-5 yesterday with two RBI, and raised his average to .316 on the year. Teammate SP Curtis Leavitt struck out 10 batters over six innings, but did not factor into the decision.
Thanks for reading, and have a great day! Enjoy the Yankees vs. Twins tonight!