Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Canadian Lumber

Twins 8, Blue Jays 3

Kevin Slowey got a win, but he again failed to pitch into the 6th inning. This is getting old. Too many 3-ball counts from a guy with allegedly impeccable control. Especially to the first hitter you face after your offense puts up a 4-spot in the top half of the inning. As Dan Gladden said when the count went 3-0 to that batter, "C'mon, Slowey!"

Luckily for him and the Twins, Toronto 1B Lyle Overbay had the worst game of his life. He had already let a couple of playable balls skip past him for "hits" when he dropped a throw from 3B with 2 runners on in the 4th. That should have been the 3rd out. Instead, a run scored, and a 2nd came home when Overbay compounded his mistake by throwing wildly to 3rd in an attempt to cut down the advancing Justin Morneau. Plus he went 0 for 4 with 2 K and 3 LOB. Ouch.

Speaking of Morneau, damn! The other day I didn't mention his HR from Sunday afternoon, but how impressive to take a 2-strike curveball off the plate away and drive it out to the deep alley in left center. That's some power. Morneau displayed a different kind of power in this game. His 2nd HR traveled well over 400 feet in less than 3 seconds. How hard do you have to hit it for that to happen? With this little outburst, Morneau finds himself easily on pace to hit 40+ HR, but that's nothing new. Maybe this will be the year he actually keeps it up to the end.

Twins 2, Blue Jays 11

No need to dwell on this. If Carl Pavano can continue to deliver 3 QS out of every 4 times out, I will be well satisfied come season's end. When he's on, he's as good a mid-rotation starter as you could ask for. But when he's off, holy crap he's bad.

As bad as he was, I wonder about the decision to pull him after 4 IP. He wasn't tired, having thrown just 70 pitches. It was pretty evident after the Twins failed to score in the 5th that this wasn't going to be their day. 4 relievers had worked on Monday, and pulling Pavano there ensured that the 'pen would have to pitch another 4 innings on Tuesday. This put Ron Mahay in a position to fail. 2 things happened to him that shouldn't happen again this season: He pitched more than 1 inning, and he faced 5 RH batters. Even so, he got the first 3 righties out on 2 K. But anything beyond that is just pushing it.

As for the offense, if you're going to allow 11 R, you might as well only score 2. Props to Toronto SP Shawn Marcum - he was pretty nasty. You know a guy is pitching well when hitters make weak contact even though they're ahead in the count.

On to Boston, where the Red Sox must be pretty spent from their grueling short series in the Bronx. Especially their bullpen. Especially Jonathan Papelbon. The Twins should bring their walking shoes, and try to grind Clay Buchholz out of the game as early as possible to keep Boston's weary relievers exposed.

  • The overuse of the 'pen in this series forced the Twins to send Matt Tolbert back to AAA (he was pretty superfluous anyway) and bring up Jeff Manship so they'll have a fresh arm in the bullpen. Manship, really? That's who they want facing a powerful offense in a hitter's park? What does Rob Delaney have to do to get a shot?
  • The Manship move appears to be temporary, as a pitcher will be sent down once JJ Hardy is ready to come off the DL on Friday. Maybe that will be Manship, but it's also possible that this road trip could be the last hurrah for Jesse Crain. There are just too many good bullpen prospects at AAA to keep using a guy who's getting pasted every other time out there.
  • In the first AB of the series, Denard Span hit a little broken-bat blooper behind 2nd. It was a crappy swing, and he probably didn't deserve a hit there, but the Toronto SS had to make a really tough leaping, over-the-shoulder catch to keep it from being a hit. Lately it seems like something like that happens to Span at least once a series. When are those going to start falling in?
  • Michael Cuddyer has been slumping, though he's still hitting a fair number of bombs. He just likes to hit them to the deepest part of the park. It was nice to see one fall in for him yesterday afternoon for a 3B. Almost makes up for the Rios catch last week.
  • Prospects Joe Benson and Chris Parmelee were demoted back to Fort Myers on Monday, even though both of them were more than solid there in 2009. That's gotta be really tough to take for a young player. In happier news, Toby Gardenhire (.225/.295/.250 at New Britain) was promoted to Rochester. (cough) Nepotism! (cough)

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