Taylor's Twins Talk

Focusing on the Twins, with a few ramblings on other things that catch my attention

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Nightly Notes: Game #14

Wow -- what an unusual ballgame! It looked early on like the Twins were going to cruise, but things got a little too interesting there at the end. Here are tonight's notes:

1.) Finally, finally Carlos Silva gets a win. The funny thing is, by the numbers he had his worst outing of the year, allowing 3 runs in 6.1 innings of work. Gardy may have left him in a little too long tonight, but he was bailed out by the bullpen (more on that in a minute). And frankly, we know that Silva is going to give up runs, and we know that he's going to give up homers. The 3-run blast that he gave up tonight to Sexson was unfortunate, but it was by no means unexpected, and the Twins still had the lead when he left the game. In case you didn't notice, he also picked up a quality start for the second straight ballgame. In other words, he's pitching much better than most of us expected him to. The most significant part of this is that he's a little safer now -- one bad outing will no longer justify the "see, I told you so" brigade from coming out and calling for his head. Two or three in a row would be a different story, of course.

2.) The afterthought in the Twins bullpen coming into the season was Matt Guerrier. Despite two straight seasons of consistently good relief, there was no question that he was last in the pecking order. While it's hard to say that he's moved ahead of guys like Pat Neshek and Jesse Crain, what we can say is that he certainly now deserves to be considered their equal. Guerrier would like to become a starter again some day, but the way he's pitched in relief, I just don't think that's going to happen. On the season, he's pitched 9.1 innings without allowing a run or walking a batter. He's given up just 2 hits. He's worked out of tight jams. Seriously, this guy has come into his own as a very, very good relief pitcher.

3.) I realize that there's a school of thought suggesting that if you put guys in motion and try to make things happen, you often force the defense to make a mistake. That said, the decision of the Mariner third base coach to send the trailing runner home when Michael Cuddyer muffed the ball in right at the end of the ballgame was just absurdly stupid. The runner was dead at the plate, Nathan wasn't throwing the ball very well, the heart of the order was up -- just absolutely a horrible decision. Thanks!

4.) I sincerely hope that Felix Hernandez is not going to miss time due to his elbow tightness. He's a phenom, and baseball needs guys like him on the mound generating headlines. I was looking forward to seeing him face off against the Twins tonight, but it was clear from the outset that something wasn't right. Incidentally, I predicted last night that he would give up 3 runs -- I just thought it would be over 7 innings. Get well soon, Felix.

5.) I hate congratulating a member of the evil White Sox as much or more as I hate congratulating a Yankee, but a No Hitter is a special thing, so congrats to Mark Buehrle for tossing a gem tonight against the Rangers. If one of the White Sox starters had to pitch a no hitter, at least it was Buehrle -- he's the guy in that rotation I hate the least.

6.) It's at least possible that Nick Punto and Torii Hunter will be back in the lineup tomorrow, but I'm going to suggest that the Twins will play it safe and give both one more day off, with both returning to the lineup in Kansas City on Friday -- which is, incidentally, the day that we should see Rondell White make his return.

7.) I can't wait for Johan to get back on the mound tomorrow as the Twins go for a sweep of the Mariners! That would be huge, especially with a very winnable series against the Royals coming up. Starting on Friday, the Twins will play 10 straight against AL Central opponents, so it's going to be an intense week and a half. If they can keep playing good baseball, they could establish a nice early lead in the division heading out of the first month -- a welcome change from where they were at last year.



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