Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Like Magic

Twins 7, Red Sox 3

Looking at the scoreboard, one might think that the Twins really beat up the Red Sox tonight, that Livan Hernandez recovered from a shaky first inning to baffle them the rest of the way.

Not exactly.

True, he gave up all 3 runs on 4 hits in the 1st, then scattered 6 hits and a walk over the remaining 5 IP, earning yet another quality start. But in the 2nd and 3rd innings, sandwiched around the 2 hits and a walk he actually gave up, were 4 balls absolutely scorched right at people: Morneau made a diving stop on Sean Casey, Dustin Pedroia's liner landed right in Livan's glove, Manny Ramirez hit a liner to deep CF that got to Gomez in about 2 seconds, and Varitek ended the 3rd with a liner to deep left. Boston swung the bats well enough to have 4 more hits off Livan, and heaven knows how many more runs would have resulted.

But, at the end of the day, he's tied for he AL lead in wins at 6-1, and his 3.90 ERA looks pretty nice.

Anybody want him?

Juan Rincon did a nice job in relief, allowing just a walk in 2 IP. He was aided by the very special catch Cuddyer made in right field - Pedroia's liner bounced off Micheal's glove, the top of his head, the bill of his cap, and back into his glove. (Pedroia had to be shaking his head after this game.)

I loved the offensive approach vs. Clay Buchholz. He's been struggling with his control, and the Twins decided not to be too aggressive with him. Sure enough, he rewarded their patience with 5 BB in 4.1 IP. Another fine game for Craig Monroe (2 RBI 2B and 2 BB) despite a K - we may never get to see Jason Kubel again. Delmon Young had 2 H and 2 RBI (despite a K). Mauer, Morneau and Cuddyer went 5/10 with 2 BB and 5 R.

Wins like this are exciting, and very encouraging, but I'm not sure winning is sustainable with the overall quality of play of the Twins right now. Livan is very hittable, the offense doesn't hit a lot of XBH, doesn't walk enough, strikes out too much (especially Monroe, Young, Harris and Gomez). I hope this is apparent to Bill Smith, and that he intends to use some of the organization's resources to upgrade various positions as the season moves along.

Span vs. Gomez

Gomez went 1 for 4, and his hit was just like the one from Friday - knee-high on the outside corner, driven into RF. Love it. 2 more K, though, giving him 37 on the season, 4th in the AL. The company he keeps in the top 10 are all swing for the fences guys like Jim Thome, Richie Sexson, and Jack Cust. Since his magical Cycle night in Chicago, he's reached base 6 times in 23 PA (.261 OBP) and struck out 8 times.

Meanwhile, every night I check the Red Wings box score, and every night, Denard Span has gotten on base at least once. Last night, he had his best night of the year, going 3-5 with a 2B and HR. That raised his line to .324/.425/.419, an .844 OPS. If the team really prefers Gomez for 2008, then they need to start shopping Span - with those numbers, he should be worth a decent IF prospect.

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