Friday, May 9, 2008

Up and Down

Twins 13, White Sox 1
White 6, Twins 2

As the runs started pouring in during the 9th inning on Wednesday night, I thought to myself, shouldn't we be saving some of those for tomorrow? Sure enough, those 6 tacked-on runs could have helped the Twins a lot more on Thursday afternoon.

Livan Hernandez had a ridiculously good game, the likes of which I don't expect to see very often again. Anybody want him? I have a feeling the Red Sox are going to be a little harder on him next week.

Kevin Slowey made his first appearance since the first week of the season, and was very sharp for 4 innings. He gave up 3 XBH in the 5th, including 2 HR. I would have liked to see him come out for the 6th, see if he could make the adjustment and rally for the Quality Start; he was only at 83 pitches. However, the ball was definitely up on both homers, so maybe the 6th would have been a disaster.

Speaking of disasters, Pat Neshek's elbow "tweak" is of great concern. The Twins can ill-afford to be without their door-slamming setup man for very long.

The Cycle

Oh, for Heaven's sake.

It was fore-ordained that, hours after I ripped him again, Gomez would lead-off the game with a HR (just like last time). His statistically spectacular evening prompted some bloggers I respect very much to ask rhetorically: "Still want to send him down?"


Some impartial observers at ESPN have the right perspective, especially this from Jayson Stark:

On the one hand, as he proved Wednesday, he's a cycle waiting to happen. On the other, it took that cycle to nudge his on-base percentage to a measly .306. In terms of defense, one scout said, "I don't see a whole lot of difference between him and Torii [Hunter], other than name and reputation." But in terms of offense, the same scout said that he's "like a toolbox without a key."

You can't say it much better than that. If the fact that he hit for the cycle demonstrated that he had found the key, I'd change my mind about him. But he's the same guy he's been all spring. The hits just happened to fall in for him.

Of the four hits he collected on Wednesday night, the HR was the most impressive: Gomez quickly turned on a knee-high, inside cutter (probably didn't cut enough for Buerhle's taste), and hit it really hard. The triple was an absolutely flat changeup up in the zone, and he crushed it. He was sawed off on the double, the LF took a bad route to the ball, and it would have been a single if he hadn't dove for it. The single was deflected by the pitcher, and the dugout waited with baited breath for the official scorer's decision. A better fielding pitcher makes that an easy come-backer.

Gomez smacked a couple of poorly located pitches, and he had a couple of bleeders fall in. And there's your cycle. No indication that he's made any adjustments, no reason to think another big slump isn't in his future. Meanwhile, there's a guy at AAA who gets on base 44% of the time and hits the cutoff man. Until I see a change in his approach, I don't think Gomez is the most effective guy in the system to be getting more ABs than any other player. No matter how good he looks when he's hot.

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