Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Yankess Go Home

Yankees 6, Twins 5
Yankees 7, Twins 6 (12 Innings)
Twins 5, Yankees 1
Twins 6, Yankees 5

I guess we shouldn't be surprised that two approximately .500 teams split a 4-game series. But as each Yankee came to the plate for the first time on Friday night, and the broadcasters reported that they all had .320 career BAs vs. the Twins, it accentuated what an accomplishment it is for the Twins to not lose a series to the Yanks, even if it was at home. The Twins performed quite well, overall, and had Nick Punto fielded that grounder in the 3rd inning on Saturday, it might have been a 3-1 series win for the Twins.

Glen Perkins simply didn't have it on Friday night. He couldn't locate his pitches, and not in the safe, "Oh well, I walked him" way, but in the "I fell behind and then threw a strike that was up and over the plate, so I gave up 5 ER in 4 IP with a 3.00 WHIP" way. This does not concern me. He was so good in his first 4 starts, anybody can have one bad one, especially a young starter like Perkins. If he keeps throwing good games 80% of the time, I can't complain.

Boof Bonser wasn't awful in his last start. Had his defense been perfect, he might have had an opportunity to finish the 6th inning and get a quality start. However, with 3 BB and only 2 K in 5+ IP, it certainly wasn't enough to stave off his demotion. Hopefully he'll be able to let it go a little more from the 'pen, and his K/9 totals can work their way up.

The biggest surprise of Blackburn's start was the 3 BB - goes to show what a patient team the Yanks can be. Still, he looked well on his way to another quality start before he was hit in the nose by a line drive. Looks like he'll be OK for Friday in Chicago.

On Monday, the Twins won once again in spite of Livan Hernandez. He gave up double-digit hits again in 6+ IP, and his season ERA is fast-approaching 5.00. If Francisco Liriano continues to perform well in AAA, it should become apparent very soon that the Twins will be better off with him in the rotation than Livan.

The bullpen performed brilliantly under considerable duress. In 19.2 IP (almost 5 IP/game!), they allowed just 3 ER on 19 H and 4 BB for a 1.17 WHIP. Craig Breslow had an impressive Twins debut, striking out 3 in 1.2 perfect innings. Joe Nathan pitched 3 consecutive days and did not collapse. Word is the bullpen may expand to 13 members on Thursday when Scott Baker returns from the DL. I don't think that's necessary, especially if the starters resume their recent habit of pitching deep into games.

The defense made just one error in the series. Too bad it proved to be so costly.

The Twins offense continued to carry the team, scoring 5 or more runs in each game. Michael Cuddyer led the way, going 9-18 with a 2B, 3B, HR and 6 RBI. Delmon Young was right behind him, going 8-18 with 4 2B and 4 RBI. Alexi Casilla continued to produce from the #2 spot, going 5-15 with 4 R, 3 RBI and 3 BB. Joe Mauer finally broke his HR drought. The only part of the lineup that disappointed was Carlos Gomez, who went 3-20 with 6 K, and only 1 R and 1 RBI. Hopefully he can shake it off and get back to kicking ass against the Orioles.

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