Friday, June 5, 2009

Notes on the Cleveland Series

Twins 4, Indians 3
Indians 10, Twins 1
Twins 11, Indians 3

Joe Mauer went 7-11 in this series with 2 BB, HR, 3 RBI and 5 R. It's amazing how routinely he makes solid contact. I can't help feeling like we're watching something very special with him this season.

Joe Nathan got his first 4-out save of the year on Tuesday - the first of 13 straight game days for the Twins. It worked here, and Gardy shouldn't be afraid to do this more going forward.

Anthony Swarzak's rough 3rd inning on Wednesday doesn't trouble me in the least. It was reminiscent of Liriano's outing last Saturday, and any number of Scott Baker's earlier outings. He just failed to scatter the hits he allowed. Had they all been screaming line drives to the gaps, that might have been cause for concern. But most of them were chip shots just over the infield. Out of 21 batters faced, Swarzak gave up about 3 hard hit balls.

Glen Perkins, meanwhile, allowed 3 ER on 2 HR in 4 IP during his first rehab start at Fort Myers. Doesn't sound like the problem has been corrected quite yet.

I think it would be fair to say that Cliff Lee is a far better pitcher than Carlos Gomez is a hitter. Doesn't it show poor character when someone taunts their inferiors? Why should it bother Lee if Gomez wants to get himself out hitting a 2-strike bunt foul? Shrug your shoulders, shut up and pitch.

Just when it looked like the Twins might finally get to Lee after the 7th started with back-to-back singles from Jason Kubel and Brendan Harris, there was Delmon Young to promptly deflate the rally by grounding weakly into a DP on the first pitch. Over his last 10 games, he's 4 for 37 with 0 XBH, 1 BB and 20 K. As he hit into the DP, I yelled, "You're worthless!" at the screen. But that's actually giving him too much credit. Worthless implies he's not helping the team. Not only is he not helping, he's hurting. I hope they find a way not to play him.

Thursday afternoon's game encapsulated the season in a couple of interesting ways. First, the top 5 hitters of the order, Denard Span, Mauer, Justin Morneau, Kubel and Joe Crede, collected 11 of the Twins' 13 H, scored all 11 R, and drove in all 11 RBI. The bottom of the lineup went 2 for 17.

Second, check out Scott Baker's opponents' numbers over the course of the game: .000/.111/.000 the first time through the order, .222/.222/.444 the second time through, then .444/.444/.777 the third time through. He got away with only 2 ER in 7 IP and a season-high 10 K, so it was really a good start. But he's still got some work to do in the later innings.

The Twins play in Seattle tonight, the site of some of last season's greatest horrors in August. Currently, Adrian Beltre is hitting .244/.275/.355 with 4 HR, and Ken Griffey Jr. is hitting .223/.333/.403. Let's try not to let these mediocre hitters beat us again, OK?

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