Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Crazy 8ths

Tigers 6, Twins 5


I didn't think the Twins would lose 2 games all season leading after 7 innings. How about 2 in a row? With the beating the bullpen took Monday night, I thought it was imperative that Baker go at least 7 innings, and he got it done (though he gave up 3 solo homers for the second straight game). Crain was the proper choice to begin the 8th - he's looked as good as anyone in the 'pen so far this year. The ump didn't help with a questionable ball call on the 1-0 pitch, but Crain dug himself a huge hole by walking Polanco (not easy to do!) and sending him to third base with a wild pickoff throw. He already had two strikes on Sheffield, so he had to try and strike him out of keep the ball in the infield. And he did it - foul pop to the catcher!

Whew! Now he just has to get Magglio out.

And that's the problem with the Tigers lineup - it never lets up. Magglio hit a very good slider into the right field corner to tie the game. Cabrera then hit a bad fastball over the wall in left, and that was that.

This could have been a fine road trip had the Twins gotten consistent middle relief. The starters and lineup played well enough for the Twins to go 6-1 on the trip. It's early to be overly concerned about the bullpen, and Gardy says he hasn't lost confidence in anybody. They'll need to get back on track as a group if the Twins are to have any chance in 2008.

But as poorly as the bullpen performed in Detroit, the fact is that, had this series begun the road trip last week, the exact effort the Twins put forth would have gotten them 2 wins instead of 2 losses. The difference is that the Tigers woke up. Bad timing.

Meanwhile, I was pleased both nights with how the offense kept fighting against Todd Jones in the 9th, putting the tying run on base in each game. It was nice to see Delmon Young start hitting some fly balls and doubles, and Craig Monroe had his first 2-hit game in his return to Detroit. Hopefully they're starting to wake up as well.

Span vs. Gomez

Span sat out against lefty starter Nate Robertson, appearing in the 9th as a pinch runner. Gomez led off with a double, stole 3rd, and scored on a groundout by Mauer. His other three ABs were pathetic - a pop-out attempting to sacrifice and 2 Ks. He's supposed to be a good bunter and he can't lay down a proper sacrifice? He also otherthrew the cutoff man in the 5th, though no one advanced.

Cuddyer is hoping to come off the DL on Sunday. If he does, that gives Span 4 more games in his callup. 3 of those games will be started by right-handed pitchers, so hopefully that will give him 12-15 more PAs. If he reaches 4-5 times, and continues to do everything right in the field and on the bases, I hope the Twins will think carefully about who they send down to make room for Cuddy.

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