Monday, March 10, 2008

Gone Fishing

Listening to the Marlins radio team on Gameday audio today. Not a widely available game for most Twins fans, so I'll try to go inside the boxscore a bit.

Top 1: Nice approach by the Twins hitters this inning - everybody took the first pitch (Gomez took 4!), and every AB lasted 5 or more pitches. So, even though Vanden Hurk wasn't in a serious jam, he still needed 24 pitches to get through the first.

Bottom 1: Slowey, meanwhile, dispatched the Marlins on 10 pitches, helped along by a base running head-scratcher from Andino, who managed to get doubled off first on an infield pop-up.

Top 2: Kubel drew a 9-pitch walk. Everybody took a strike but Watkins. Vanden Hurk threw another 20 pitches.

Bottom 2: Slowey worked out of a 1-out, first and third jam with a couple of easy fly ball outs.

Top 3: Casilla lined a single over shortstop on the 6th pitch. Gomez flied out to center on 2 pitches. Casilla stole 2nd without a throw. Mauer drew a walk. Cuddyer singled to left on the first pitch to load the bases. Ruiz cleared them with a 1st-pitch double over 3rd base. Ruiz thrown out trying to steal 3rd(?). Kubel lined out to left. 62 pitches through 3 innings for Vanden Hurk.

Bottom 3: Slowey gets into trouble after a perfect bunt single by Amezega, then a second bunt single when Ruiz and Harris failed to cover first base. After a strikeout, Cuddyer's arm saved a run when Gonzalez singled to left, but the Marlins didn't dare send the speedy Amezega home from 2nd. Slowey escaped on a line-out DP to the shortstop.

Top 4: New pitcher for the Marlins - Kensing. Clark got a bit of a gift double on a misplay of his grounder up the first base line by Cantu. Watkins had a nice AB, but couldn't advance the runner when he grounded to deep short. Casilla grounded out on the 6th pitch. Another long inning for the Marlins.

Bottom 4: Humber now pitching. He worked around a 1-out, ground ball single through the left side.

Top 5: Gomez grounded out to short on the second pitch. Mauer grounded out to first on the second pitch. Cuddyer lined out on the fourth pitch. First quick inning for the Marlins.

Bottom 5: Pridie in right. Span in center. Butera catching. Humber gave up a 1-out walk to De Aza, but then caught him trying to steal second.

Top 6: Badenhop pitching. Twins go down quickly again.

Bottom 6: Macri at first. Casilla now at second. Tolbert at short. Jones in left. Reyes pitching. He gave up a 2-out, 4-pitch walk, but escaped on a line-out to 3rd.

Top 7: 11 Twins retired in a row now.

Bottom 7: Basak at 3rd. Crain pitching. Nearly a perfect inning - Amezega just foul-tipped an 0-2 pitch to stay alive, then fouled off several more 2-strike pitches before doubling off the glove of a diving Garrett Jones. De Aza followed with a bouncing RBI single up the middle just under the glove of a diving Matt Tolbert. Another single and a walk followed before Crain caught Alexi Gomez looking to end the threat.

Top 8: Span blooped a leadoff single to left, then stole second. A big secondary lead enabled him to take 3rd on a come-backer. Pridie promptly knocked in Span with a single to center on the first pitch. Macri grounded to short on the 3rd pitch. Jones grounded out on 5 pitches.

Bottom 8: Neshek pitching. He worked around a 1-out, ground ball single to right.

Top 9: Twins went down in order on 3 fly ball outs.

Bottom 9: DePaula pitching. Barnwell grounded the first pitch over 3rd base for a double. De Aza grounded a single to right. Span got a nice jump on a blooper to center and made the running catch for the first out. Casilla made an error to allow Maybin to reach. Alexi Gomez grounded back to DePaula, but the tying run moved to 2nd. Macri made a dig on a throw in the dirt from Basak to end the game.

The Marlins had base runners in every inning, but the Twins allowed only 2 runs. Credit to all the pitchers for limiting the damage. Slowey's line looks a little worse than his actual performance, since 2 of his 6 hits allowed were bunts. Hopefully he can build off this outing.

Offensively, the Twins had a great game plan against the starter, Vanden Hurk. Their patient approach forced him to throw 44 pitches the first 2 innings. Having seen all his pitches, and worked him to the limit of his conditioning, they attacked him in the 3rd and quickly scored 3 runs. Casilla's error in the 9th was bad way to end what was otherwise a solid game. Harris continues to miss plays at 2nd. Span had more of an impact on the game than Gomez.

It was kind of fun to listen to the Marlins broadcasters. They're very excited about their multitude of former Tigers prospects. And their color guy is really good at math!

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