Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Nightly Notes: Game #55

It had to happen eventually -- the Twins series winning streak ended at 4, as they went 1-2 against the A's this weekend. Honestly, winning 1 of 3 on the road is pretty much what you expect to do against good teams, and with the starting pitching that they have, the A's are very much a good team. Now, here are tonight's notes:

1.) Once again, Johan was not Cy Santana, but as much as he seemed to struggle at times, he really wasn't that bad -- 6 innings, 4 runs (3 earned) on 5 hits with 4 walks (that's not a particularly good stat) and 4 K's. For awhile there, I seriously thought that his 103 game streak of starts lasting more than 5 innings was in jeopardy, but he settled in. He wasn't helped any by Jason Bartlett's throwing error that, coupled with the not-so-friendly confines of whatever they call the Oakland Coliseum these days (ok, ok, so it's McAfee Coliseum -- doesn't that just inspire you?) caused some problems for the Twins in the 3rd. Still and all, it wasn't a terrible performance, and it was one that the Twins bats should have been able to bail him out of.

2.) Matt Guerrier had a rare troublesome performance today, going just 0.2 innings and allowing a run and 2 walks. Nevertheless, he didn't give up a run, largely thanks to the performance of Carmen Cali, who bailed him out and then pitched the bottom of the eighth for good measure, all while allowing just a hit. Cali is putting together some decent performances, and is matching Jason Miller blow-by-blow. Today was the first time that either Cali or Miller pitched in a particularly stressful stretch of a game, as well -- trailing by just 2 runs. Miller's performance against the White Sox on Wednesday was huge, but he came in trailing by 5 runs, so it wasn't as clutch as Cali's. Just turned out that the results were a far site better.

3.) Jason Kubel went 3-for-4 today and belted his 3rd homer of the year. He's putting really good swings on the ball, and is hitting .247 on the season. If there was any question who the Twins should be playing in LF, he's doing everything possible to settle them.

4.) Jason Bartlett made a key error today, but he also combined with Luis Castillo to turn an absolutely sick double play to end the 1st inning and get Johan out of what could have been a very troublesome start. When he's not dropping balls that are hit right to him, Bartlett is making some great plays and extending his range -- and his arm is very strong. If he could put everything together, I think Bartlett could be a special defensive player.

5.) It seems silly to bat the DH ninth, as the Twins did today with Jason Tyner. But it would be equally silly to say that the DH should never hit ninth for -- what reason, exactly? This wouldn't have come up if the Twins had DH'd Jason Kubel and put Jason Tyner in 9th -- but why do that, exactly? After you make up the lineup card, you put the players together in whatever way makes the most sense -- and I have no problem with Tyner and Kubel both playing in the same game, with Kubel in LF and Tyner at DH. In that situation, the DH hitting ninth makes perfect sense.

6.) Luis Castillo just keep rolling, and is now hitting .339. That leads all AL second-basemen. Placido Polanco would probably get my vote to start the All-Star game for the AL right now, because his average is just a bit below Castillo's (.332 entering today), but he has 30 RBI's and 34 Runs scored to go along with it, compared to Castillo's 8 RBI and 31 Runs. That said, Castillo would make my roster -- and that at the expense of B.J. Upton and Brian Roberts, who are also having very nice seasons.

7.) I confess to being a little scared about the upcoming series against the Angels. The pitching matchups will have Boof Bonser v. Jered Weaver; Scott Baker v. Kelvim Escobar; and Kevin Slowey v. John Lackey. Those are not particularly favorable matchups (although Bonser has an edge this season against Weaver). I'd be perfectly happy with one win in this series -- but of course, I remain ever hopeful for an improbable sweep.



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