Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Nightly Notes: Game #51

The Twins have started to play some solid baseball, and they should be beating teams like Kansas City. While a little bit of bad luck and a little bit of bad play nearly resulted in the team coughing up what seemed to be a victory, in the end the Twins were able to overcome all of that to put up a "W" and gain a game on the White Sox. Here are some notes:

1.) I can't say enough good things about Nick Blackburn. Frankly, I just didn't see him having this kind of success so early in his first full big league season -- especially since coming into this year he had never started a single big league game. Blackburn has failed to go at least six innings only twice this season (out of 11 starts), and that time that happened was April 14. He gives up a fair number of hits, but he rarely walks hitters and gets a decent number of strikeouts. Most impressively, he always seems composed on the mound.

I'm personally thrilled that Blackburn is finding success, for fantasy baseball reasons. I'm in a keeper league where a player has to be assigned a contract if drafted in the Major League phase of our draft (yes, we also draft minor leaguers), and fearful that Blackburn would be drafted by a rather well known Twins fan/blogger who shall remain nameless, I took him. At the time, I didn't expect him to start the season in the big leagues, and if he did I certainly didn't expect him to have success. Basically, I was planning on stashing him on my bench for a year. Instead, he's been a solid starter for my team. Can't say I saw that one coming!

2.) What exactly was Delmon Young doing in the ninth? Yes, it was a really tough play to try to deal with -- but you can't go so overboard going after a ball that you end up taking yourself out of the play entirely. He owes Blackburn a steak.

3.) Alexi Casilla went 3-for-4 and is now hitting .324 on the season. Yeah, I'd say the whole "Alexi is a shortstop, not a second baseman" thing is out the window. I have no idea why he couldn't hit in Rochester before his callup, but that seems to be behind him. If Casilla can hold that spot down for the rest of the year, what does that mean for the other infielders? I would guess that Brendan Harris will get the most playing time, splitting his games between short and third. Mike Lamb and Adam Everett will then both essentially be in a platoon. Nick Punto will probably rarely play -- I'm sure your all horrified by that. Frankly, I'd prefer if the Twins just cut Everett and moved on, but that's probably asking too much.

4.) I feel a little bad for Howie Clark. I know, this sounds strange since I mocked him so ruthlessly. However, Clark was probably destined for at least a bit of playing time at second base after his callup. Then, Alexi Casilla came out and started playing like a real big leaguer. All of a sudden, Clark is a fixture on the bench -- even more so than he otherwise would have been. I guess those are the breaks.

5.) The Twins are moving forward with a "Bonser to the Bullpen" transition plan, which is really not surprising after Bonser's horrendous May. Frankly, as I mentioned on Sunday, this is exactly what has to happen here. It's probably not fair of me, but frankly I wouldn't mind if the Twins did something a little more permanent. I don't think Bonser is going to be able to compete with the other young starters on this team long-term, and I'm over the novelty of having a guy named "Boof" in the rotation. I really hope I'm wrong on Bonser (it certainly wouldn't be the first time that I mis-evaluated a player), but I don't think he's ever going to be a consistently good Major League pitcher.

6.) I had originally written a note on how Michael Cuddyer looked terrible by striking out in important situations late in the game, and how that was more significant than his two hits. Well, of course, Cuddyer went and picked up a third (rather important) hit in the 12th inning, winning the game for the Twins. While he still looked horrid when striking out, even I can't find a way to complain about a three hit game that included a game winner. Hopefully the hits are more telling about what lies ahead than the strikeouts.



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