Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Nightly Notes: Game #88

After raising our expectations on Friday, the Twins were unable to deliver over the last two days and ended up with a series split against the White Sox. As a result, the team enters the break on a down note, and will have to bounce back after the break. Here are today's notes:

1.) Carlos Silva is starting to make me a little nervous. Silva's ERA was at 3.98 after he picked up the win against the Marlins on June 23. Since then, he gave up 5 earned runs in 7 innings against the Blue Jays (raising his ERA to 4.15), then 5 more against the Yankees in 5.1 innings (raising his ERA to 4.37), and now he gave up -- you guessed it -- 5 earned runs, this time in 5 innings, against the White Sox (raising his ERA to 4.58). That's a seriously bad trend, as he's been giving up the same number of runs in fewer innings each time out. For now, his place in the starting rotation is secure -- but if the Twins are going to have any chance of making the playoffs this season, Silva will need to get his ERA back towards 4.00.

2.) The bullpen was once again outstanding, and gave the team a chance to come back (although, unfortunately, the offense didn't take advantage of the opportunity). Juan Rincon dropped his ERA back below 4.00, Pat Neshek struck out the only batter he faced, and Dennys Reyes had another solid outing. Incidentally, Reyes has now not given up an earned run since May 20 -- in other words, before he went on the DL -- and has dropped his ERA from 6.57 t0 3.86 in that span. Reyes has pitched 7.2 innings since coming back, allowing 7 hits and walking 2 batters while striking out 5. This is how he pitched last year, and it's an encouraging sign.

3.) Signs of life out of Nick Punto, perhaps? The embattled third sacker went 2-for-3 with a double to raise his batting average to .211 -- and remove him for now from the Mendoza-line danger zone that he had entered. Unfortunately, Jason Bartlett had a rough day, striking out 3 times before getting a hit to go 1-for-4. Jason Kubel also struck out 3 times in going 0-for-4 to drop his batting average to .250.

4.) Those are the only game related notes for the day, but I'm going to give you a quick highlight of things I'm going to be writing about in the next couple of days. First, I've still yet to get to my first half awards. I expect to finish that tonight at some point. Tomorrow, I'll be writing up my thoughts on the All-Star selections, including my views on who was snubbed and who got a gift by being selected. On Wednesday, I expect to write up my thoughts on what fans should expect in the silly season of trade talk that will run from now until the end of July (and possibly longer, of course, with waiver trades). I'd also like to write a big post summarizing my thoughts on how the season has gone so far for the Twins minor league system -- things like which players have had breakout years, which have disappointed, and who might earn themselves second half promotions. Finally, I'm working on a "special project" post that I don't want to say too much about just yet. I will say it has to do with Terry Ryan -- but that's the only teaser. Considering the number of projects I'm working on for the blog right now, this is probably at least a week away -- but we'll see.

5.) Just one last note -- the Twins unfortunately are going to have to deal with Mark Buehrle for a few more years after he signed a 4-year, $56 million deal with the White Sox today. He took quite a bit less than he could have received on the open market, and I have to wonder if that was a good idea -- the White Sox team that I thought was competitive turned out not to be, and despite their victories yesterday and today over the Twins, I think this team is finished being competitive as currently constituted. The odds of successfully rebuilding seem low to me -- so while I applaud Buehrle for staying in a place that he enjoys, I think he's going to be frustrated with the performance of his team. I was kind of hoping for a big trade over the break to get this thing settled once and for all, but that's not going to happen now unless another team gets busy working the phones and swings a different deal. A Buehrle trade was the best, and probably only, chance for a blockbuster during the break.



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