Sunday, April 12, 2009

White Wash

White Sox 8, Twins 0
White Sox 6, Twins 1

First the good news. Umm...

Denard Span looks to be back to his 2008 form. He drew 3 BB on Saturday, and looked comfy at the plate vs. LHP Mark Buehrle on Sunday, hitting a couple of balls very hard despite collecting no hits.

Nick Punto has a nice little OBP going this week. I like his glove in the #9 spot just fine, especially when he's drawing walks here and there.

Francisco Liriano and Nick Blackburn were both really good for 4 IP. Blackburn did a better job of pitching after his defense had committed an error than he often did in that situation last year. Gardy let him start the 7th inning even though he'd thrown around 90 pitches coming into the inning. That's a sign that Blackburn will get a chance to pitch deeper into games than he did last year.

Matt Guerrier came into an inning with men on base and didn't allow any of them to score. He retired all four batters he faced, striking out 2.

Anything else? No? Okay, on to the bad news:

Liriano may have been squeezed a bit, but that's no excuse for walking guys in. Everything that happened to him in that 5th inning could be traced back to falling behind the hitters.

I'm not feeling a whole lot of confidence in Philip Humber after the inning he had on Saturday night. Is he on his way to pitching like Brian Bass?

The defense was lousy on Sunday. Punto dropped a foul pop, the 3rd dropped fly ball of the series for the Twins. Blackburn only had to throw 2 extra pitches to get that batter. Then Cuddyer, playing first so that Morneau could DH, made 2 errors on one play, allowing the tying run to score in the 5th. Punto and Cuddyer failed to retire Carlos Quentin on his slowly hit grounder leading off the 6th - a tough play, but one they're capable of making. And Brendan Harris, getting a start at 2B, double-clutched on a would-be DP relay, giving the runner just enough time to make it to first base. Extra outs, extra bases, extra work for our pitchers.

Blackburn and Mike Redmond should have known they weren't going to strike out Jim Thome on the same pitch 2 AB in a row.

Craig Breslow has made 1 appearance as Craig Breslow, in which he began an inning and retired 3 of 4 batters with a strikeout, and 2 appearances as Dennys Reyes, in which he came in with runners on and retired 1 of 3 batters with a BB and HBP. I like him better when he's being himself.

Despite their apparent strides in spring training, Carlos Gomez is still a strikeout machine (9 in 22 AB!) and Delmon Young is still a DP waiting to happen every time he hits with men on base.

The Twins have scored 24 runs in their 3 wins and 2 runs in their 4 losses. That is what you call feast or famine.

Minor League notes
Jose Mijares picked up the win for Rochester with a perfect inning of relief including 1 K. Yesterday for New Britain, Rob Delaney came on with 1 out in the 6th and men on and got out of the inning with a DP. He pitched a perfect 7th and 8th, striking out 3, then handed the ball to Anthony Slama for a perfect 9th. Wilson Ramos came alive at the plate, going 3 for 5 with his first HR and lining out for his 2 outs.

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