Monday, May 31, 2010

Mess with Texas

Twins 2, Texas 1

This was a bit of a replay of the 2 games the Twins lost on Wednesday. They got 13 men on base, but only managed to get 2 of them home. In a moment that encapsulated the first 2 months of the season, they loaded the bases for Joe Mauer with no one out in the 5th, only to see him ground into a DP. A run scored on the play, however, and that turned out to be the difference.

Kevin Slowey pitched into the 7th inning! And he would have finished it if he hadn't given his only free pass of the game with 2 out and 2 on in the inning. Oh well - baby steps. Thank goodness Jose Mijares was able to retire PH Nelson Cruz in what turned out to be his only PA of the series. The Twins were very fortunate to be facing Texas at a time when Cruz couldn't be in the everyday lineup.

Twins 8, Texas 3

For a while it looked as though the Twins were going to stick Carl Pavano with yet another hard-luck loss. They could muster only 1 H off CJ Wilson through the first 2 times through the order. Then, a 2-out single by Denard Span followed by a 2-run HR from Orlando Hudson began a stretch in which 7 of eight batters reached and scored. The big blow came when Delmon Young raked a 2-run double into the LF corner with the bases loaded and none out. In my last post, I predicted that the Twins would get 5 RBI H with the bases loaded over the next 16 games. One down.

After batting around in the 7th, the Twins momentarily forgot how to play defense in the 8th, committing 2 errors in the inning. That's 20% of the errors they had committed in the first 48 games. Jesse Crain did a nice job pitching around it and allowing just the 1 unearned run. Carl Pavano had a Blackburn-esque performance, allowing just 2 ER on 7 H with 1 BB and only 1 K. That makes it 7 of his 10 GS in which he's gone 7 or more IP.

Twins 6, Rangers 3

Last night was my anniversary, so I didn't get a chance to watch this game. It looks like it was a relatively shaky game from Scott Baker, though he still hung in there for a QS. The bullpen did a terrific job, allowing just 2 H over the final 3 IP.

Everything that happened in this game was overshadowed by the collision between Span and Hudson on the game's final play. Luckily, Span was OK - the Twins don't have a great backup plan if something happens to him. Hudson is headed for some radiology on his left hand, which hopefully will come back negative. The Twins can patch 2B for a little while, but Hudson has performed as advertised this season, and the drop-off from him to the next guy on the depth chart is pretty significant.

It was tough to drop the Yankees series, but the Twins bounced back strong, sweeping a Rangers team that started the weekend in 1st place in the AL West. The Rangers are usually a pretty good offensive team, but the Twins held them to 7 R in the 3 days, with 0 HR allowed. I can't remember the last time the Twins played Texas without giving up a HR. Whatever anyone might like to say about the Twins in comparison to the leaders of the AL East, they showed this weekend that they belong in the conversation about the best teams in the league.

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