Blue Jays 6, Twins 5
Blue Jays 3, Twins 2 (11 innings)
Wellllll, that wasn't so good, was it?
After impressively taking 3 of 4 from the defending World Series champs, the Twins managed to turn this into a losing home stand. And though the Blue Jays pitched pretty well and had many long ABs, the Twins really have their own misplays to blame for the losses. Bad throws, missed fly balls, imprudent baserunning and pitching that was too tentative at times were rampant in the series. Had the Twins been able to clean up even one or two misplays, they likely would have come away with at least one win.
The hitting was actually rather timely. The Twins came back from early deficits in each game and did a good job of forcing the Jays' starters to throw pitches (6.1 IP, for Halladay, is knocking him out early). Sure, a lot of people were stranded, but it usually came on a ball hit well, but right to where a defender could track it down. Another foot here or there and the run column might have looked pretty close to what it was against Boston. Most encouragingly, this series saw the resurgence of Jason Kubel, who, despite his head-down running that got him thrown out at the plate, has re-established himself as someone the Twins can look to to get on base and drive in runs.
Span vs. Gomez vs. Young
I'm not going to quibble too much with Gomez today. Obviously, it was a shame that he got himself caught on the basepaths last night immediately after his speed had forced a hit and error. But I found myself wishing that he was involved in the tight game this afternoon. When he came in late, I was hoping his speed could make a difference somewhere. He gave the ball quite a ride on a 2-strike pitch to end the 10th, and it took a pretty good over-the-shoulder catch by Kevin Mench to keep the game tied.
Every day this week, I check the Rochester box score and throw up my hands in amazement that Denard Span has managed to improve upon his already stratospheric OBP. Tonight he was 2-3 with a BB, raising his season line to a preposterous .369/.470/.536, a 1.006 OPS! He also had an OF assist, though he was caught stealing for the 3rd time. While I suppose Gomez isn't really playing badly enough for Span to take his job over, let me make another proposal:
Delmon Young is hitting .263/.309/.296 for a pathetic .605 OPS. He has played every game this season, and is showing no potential to drive the ball. While Span isn't going to remind anyone of Manny Ramirez, he can surely perform better than Young. Now, with Young being a Rookie-of-the-Year runner-up, he won't be sent to the minors, but he doesn't merit an everyday job, either. So how about a Span/Gomez/Young platoon, with each of them getting about 2/3 of the ABs between LF and CF? The bullpen would probably have to drop to 11 pitchers, which is a dicey proposition at this time, but it's something to think about. Span is just playing too well to stay in AAA much longer.
Speaking of playing well in AAA, Francisco Liriano needed just 93 pitches to complete 8 IP in tonight's game, allowing 7 H and only 1 BB with 4 K. Not enough Ks, but a 1.00 WHIP! Deep into the game! Let's give him a couple more starts to be sure, but it seems like he may finally be starting to put it together.
On to Colorado - how far can Justin Morneau hit the ball at altitude?