Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Nightly Notes: Game #17

Another sloppy game, but this one turned out alright, with the Twins picking up the win and staying in first place for another day heading into tomorrow's rubber game. Here are today's notes:

1.) Boof, Boof, Boof. I don't know what to say, man! The curve -- well, it's very good. And it's quite clear that he has the ability to get guys out. But he's throwing far, far too many pitches (87 through 5.0 innings today), and is getting himself into some outright battles with hitters. On top of that, of course, is the rather disturbing fact that he gave up 5 runs (albeit only 3 earned) today, and has an ERA of 6.53 through four starts. Sidney Ponson is the more immediate problem, but if Boof doesn't settle down and figure some things out, he too could find himself in the untenable position of having to justify his job every time out -- and that's an awful lot of pressure. I still believe that he belongs in the rotation, but he's going to have to start pitching like he belongs there.

2.) Pat Neshek and Joe Nathan both struck out the side in their respective innings of work, with Neshek picking up the win and Nathan getting the save. This was the kind of outing that Nathan needed, even if he did get an awfully friendly call by the ump on his second K. Meanwhile, great job by Jesse Crain in briding the cap between Dennys Reyes and Joe Nathan tonight.

3.) Luis Castillo may be going on the DL when the Twins get back to Minnesota (we're sort of in a holding pattern with him like we were with Nick Punto last week). If he does, Alexi Casilla and Luis Rodriguez will get the playing time at 2B, but the more interesting question is who the Twins will bring up to replace him. The same options as with Punto are essentially on the table: (1) Chris Heintz, who can catch and play 3B, (2) Glenn Williams, who can play anywhere in the infield -- although shortstop would be a bit dubious, or (3) Tommy Watkins, who would primarily be used up the middle. Heintz seems the most likely option to me if Castillo does, indeed, need to go on the DL.

4.) Nick Punto went 2-for-4 today and is now up to hitting .200. Since he's returned to the lineup, he's played pretty well -- getting hits, stealing bases, running around aggressively, playing solid defense. Give him another week and I predict he'll be hitting around .275, and some of the talk about how Punto shouldn't be starting will start to die down a little bit.

5.) Joe Mauer is amazing. He's hitting .386 this season. But Joe, there was no reason to try to get to third on a ball that was popped up to the pitching mound. I mean, it was kind of a cutesy little play -- the third baseman was nowhere near the bag, and Joe probably figured he could catch the Royals sleeping. But Joe, the next time the urge to advance a base on a ball that goes further into the air than it does away from the plate, I urge you to reign it in.

6.) I was getting ready to make fun of Marty for always advocating that Mike Redmond should be in the lineup everyday because he's a good hitter, since Redmond started off pretty poorly at the plate. In the last couple of days, however, he's turned it around and, after a 3-for-4, 3 RBI day he's hitting .267. Go figure.

7.) Torii Hunter actually singled today, something that he's done with great infrequency this year. Of course, he balanced it out with his 11th double of the season (that would be 17 hits, broken down as 5 singles, 11 doubles, and 1 HR). Ridiculous. In less positive move, he was caught stealing late in the game, which ends the Twins ridiculous streak of successful stolen bases to start the season.



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