Nightly Notes: Game #15
1.) Johan clearly didn't have his best stuff tonight, especially early on. Nonetheless, he went 7 innings and gave up just 2 runs. The remarkable thing is that it felt like he was struggling! I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again before the month is over, but Johan's worst month is usually April, so considering that he's 3-1 at this point with a reasonably strong ERA, we could very well be seeing a run for a 3rd Cy Young this year. He's not there yet -- if he pitched like this all year, he'd get plenty of wins but probably wouldn't have the ERA or strikeout numbers to do it -- but considering his normal April starts, he's very well positioned for a run.
2.) It was very nice to see Jesse Crain back in action today, and he had a very solid 8th inning -- it certainly doesn't look like there are going to be any lingering problems. Pat Neshek, of course, made things interesting in the ninth by giving up a 3-run homer on a ball that he let slip right over the plate, but as I've said before, that happens to everybody once in awhile. The Twins thankfully had enough runs that they could absorb that late Mariners burst, and hopefully it won't damage Neshek's psyche too much. Meanwhile, Joe Nathan had only to get one out for a save, and he did the job, although not before giving up a sun-aided double to Richie Sexson. Hey, whatever works.
3.) Twins fans got a chance to see a glimpse of the future tonight after Luis Castillo left the game with a strained right quad. He's listed as day-to-day at this point, but there's a better than even chance that he'll get tomorrow off, with Alexi more than likely making the start in KC. Today, he laid down a great bunt for a base hit, followed by an infield single perfectly placed between third and short that left the shortstop no chance but to try a crazy throw that didn't quite have enough zip on it. He managed the plays that came his way in the field, as well. I still think he should be playing every day, but he looks awfully close to ready to be doing that at the Major League level, rather than in AAA.
4.) Nick Punto made his return to the lineup today, going 1-for-4. I'm willing to give him another week to 10 days to find his stroke before I start to rag on him, but hitting .143 is obviously not going to cut it. We'll see whether he can turn things around.
5.) Sir Sidney gets the start tomorrow in Kansas City, and all I can say is this: he must have a good game tomorrow. That means at least 5+ innings with 3 or fewer runs. If he can't do that, we may very well see Glen Perkins get the start in that spot the next time through. If this were any team other than the Royals, I don't think I'd say this was a "must perform" start for Ponson -- but if you can't cut it against KC, you aren't going to cut it at all.
Labels: Nightly Notes