Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Nightly Notes: Game #33

The Twins were unable to utilize their 13-1 drubbing of the White Sox on Wednesday as a momentum-grabber, losing today to the White Sox 6-2 in a game that started off pretty interesting and then deteriorated rather quickly. Here are a few thoughts:

1.) First, some random speculation on the Pat Neshek situation. I saw a lot of angst after Neshek injured his elbow and left the game today (while trolling on a message board or two). Believe me, I understand why -- I like Neshek, and so far in his young career he's been a vital part of the Twins bullpen. However, even if he ends up missing significant time I'm not sure how much it will hurt the Twins. After all, they're above .500 with Neshek putting up a 4.72 ERA so far this year. I'm not saying it won't hurt at all -- he's a proven major leaguer who almost certainly will bring that ERA down substantially. My point is only that so far this season, Neshek has not been amazing, and I think the Twins would be able to survive without him for awhile if necessary. Again, I hope sincerely that it's not necessary to find out!

So what happens if Neshek needs to be disabled? I think the most likely solution is just to keep Bobby Korecky around for awhile longer. I don't say this because Korecky has necessarily earned it -- he has a 4.91 ERA in 3.2 innings of work, so who knows what he'd do in the long run -- but because it's just the easiest option. No one in AAA is burning things up to the point where they have to be called up, so why not stick with Korecky? If Neshek's injury winds up being long-term, I think there's a distinct possibility that Korecky could be swapped out for somebody like Glen Perkins, however.

2.) Speaking of Perkins, he's scheduled to make his first big league start on Saturday and I'm extremely excited to see it. I essentially see Perkins as being in an uphill battle to win a spot in the rotation over the next two starts -- if he puts up really solid numbers and Kevin Slowey struggles, I think it could be Slowey who heads back to Rochester when Scott Baker is ready to come back and not Perkins. I think it's an uphill battle simply because I think the Twins are a bit more convinced about Slowey's readiness to be a big league starter at this point -- but I don't think it's insurmountable by any means.

As for Slowey's start today, it wasn't great but I also don't think the team should overreact. Yes, the fifth inning (in which he gave up 2 homers and surrendered the lead) was rough -- but in 5.0 innings of work Slowey gave up just 4 hits and didn't walk anybody. Those are good numbers, and if he could have kept the ball in the park we'd all be raving. As it is, 3 runs in 5 innings isn't a bad line for a guy making his first big league start in over a month. I was fine with what he did today.

3.) I just noticed that Dennys Reyes has a 0.00 ERA, although he walked a guy without getting an out today. Despite that, his WHIP is still below 1.00 for the season. He's only pitched 9.0 innings, but he has to be doing something right, doesn't he? I wonder how long he can keep it up (now I suppose I jinxed him!).

4.) Just a rhetorical question -- Where would the Twins offense be without Joe Mauer? He's back to hitting .346 after today's 2-for-3 stretch. Of course, the only game the Twins won in the series was the one where he sat, but that's not Joe's fault. It just amazes me sometimes how good he is when he's hot (and not grounding into 3 double plays in a game).

5.) Just asking -- at this point, what's the rationale for starting Everett and Lamb ever? I'm saying this somewhat tongue-in-cheek, because I don't think either of them are really as bad as they've played so far. Nonetheless, when you look at the lineup and see that either of them isn't starting, doesn't it make you a little bit happy?

6.) Speaking of people who many fans don't want in the lineup, Nick Punto was supposed to be in the lineup today but was a late scratch. The fact that *gasp* Gardy was going to actually put him in the lineup (one day after a 2-for-5, 5 RBI performance, remember) caused many on the Strib message boards to shudder and scream about how he's not worthy to be on a big league roster and all the usual rubbish. Let me just point out that Brendan Harris, Punto's replacement for the day, went 0-for-3 and left 4 runners on base. His season average is now .248. Punto, meanwhile, is hitting .265. Once again -- chill out on Punto until he actually deserves to be catcalled. I bring this up fairly often, but that's because I just don't understand it. I'm not saying, by the way, that Punto should be in the starting lineup every day (although I would actually think long and hard about that if somebody said they were putting him at SS or 3B right now, to be honest). I am saying that I think the role he's in now is perfectly suited to him, and I don't think it's so horrible to see his name in the lineup.



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