Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Nightly Notes: Game #30

As you may have seen, I actually got one of the missing (i.e. late) DOTF reports up earlier tonight, and the other one should go up tomorrow. If I can't get it up by then, I would cancel it for the week and do a two week Beloit report on Thursday -- but I don't think that's going to happen. Anyway, on to this evening's notes:

1.) Johan Santana did his best Boof Bonser impersonation tonight, needing 98 pitches (according the MLB.com boxscore -- I heard Dick or Bert mention 99 at one point, so I'm not sure who's right) to get through five innings of work. He wasn't bad over those five innings -- he got the win, after all, and allowed just one run -- but he also still has not found his dominant stuff. You could see immediately in the first inning that he didn't have the great changeup (still had enough to get 5 K's in 5 innings, though), and he just couldn't put guys away nearly as efficiently as normal. He comes out of the game with a 4-2 record and a 3.40 ERA, though, which means he's right in the middle of the top tier of Cy Young candidates (although if the season ended today, Josh Beckett would win the award in a landslide). This is right where he should be at this point -- if the past is prelude, he'll start to dominate around the end of May and really put up the Cy-like numbers in June, July, and August.

2.) As much fun as it would have been to blow out the Red Sox (and against Julian Tavarez, that should have been possible), I think a win like today's, where the bullpen had to play an integral role against a tough, tough team, will actually benefit the team more than a blowout would have. After Joe Nathan blew the save against Tampa, there seemed to be a noticeable deflating. Tonight's performance should get everybody back in the right mind-set, and should restore the confidence of any fans who were wavering. This is a great bullpen -- it just hasn't necessarily been acting like it recently. Tonight may be a turn-around performance.

3.) Four hits. Julian Tavarez. Yuck. I realize that Michael Cuddyer and Joe Mauer weren't in the lineup. I realize that it's been a tough slog. But, I say again: Julian Tavarez. Something has to be done to get these bats firing again, because the team can't keep relying on Torii Hunter and his 20-game hitting streak. I also confess to not understanding why you would bat Hunter in the cleanup spot if that means batting Morneau and Kubel back-to-back. Why not Morneau in the cleanup spot, followed by Torii and Kubel? Or, better yet, why not move Redmond out of the third spot? I don't have a problem with the ordinary lineup that has Mauer, Cuddyer, Morneau, and Hunter in the 3-6 spots -- I think it just fits, somehow -- but I can't understand the lineup that Gardy put out there today. The Twins won the game, but no thanks to the bulk of the offense. Maybe it's time to experiment a little?

4.) Cuddy is out until Tuesday, it sounds like Mauer is out until Tuesday, Reyes may or not be ready tomorrow . . . yikes! I suspect that everybody will be ready to go by Tuesday at the latest, but man, the injuries have just been coming fast and furious! Again, though, at least we haven't had to deal with the Yankees situation with starters dropping left and right.

5.) Speaking of starters dropping, what are the odds that Sidney Ponson makes it through 5 innings against the Sox lineup tomorrow? I'd place the odds at about 25% -- and that's probably pretty generous. I think he bought himself 2 starts with his performance against the Rays the last time out, but a bad start tomorrow would definitely put everyone back on the drop-Ponson watch. More interestingly for me, it would set him up to be gone after six weeks -- and as I seem to mention every time I bring up Ponson, that's what I predicted at the start of the season.



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