Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Nightly Notes: Game #52

Honestly, I wasn't going to post anything tonight. I thought it was a good night to take a night off, with the Twins apparently on the way to a loss in the middle game of a series. I mean, what would I have talked about? Livan giving up a bunch of runs? We've come to expect that from Livan on a semi-regular basis. Ragging on Delmon Young? That's just tiresome. So, I figured, I might as well wait until tomorrow and sum up the Royals series then. The Twins had other ideas, and I couldn't not post on a night when the team scored 5 in the ninth to tie and then picked up the win in the 10th. Here are some notes:

1.) Even for Livan, 13 hits in 6 innings is a bit excessive. It's remarkable how he can wiggle his way out of trouble quite often -- the thing is, though, that he allows so many baserunners that it's just not possible to wiggle out of all of the problems. No question, he was bailed out big time by the bullpen and, to a much greater extent, by the offense. His ERA is now at 4.60, and his WHIP is probably in the 1.60 range (I haven't run the numbers -- it was at 1.46 entering this game). There's not much else to say here -- he was remarkably good early this season, but he's reverted to form. I'm a little worried about what's to come.

2.) A moment on the Royals -- I actually feel very bad for the teams fans tonight. The implosion of the bullpen in the ninth inning, resulting in a 10th straight loss, was undoubtedly heartbreaking. So many things went right tonight -- and still this team lost. I was watching the Royals feed tonight on MLB.tv, and when Craig Monroe hit his homerun the announcers just had absolutely nothing to say. It was a wee bit painful . . . but of course I got over that quickly simply because I was overjoyed that the Twins had completed the comeback.

3.) Speaking of that homerun, you've got to give credit to Craig Monroe. Before tonight, he hadn't played since the 24th. He hadn't actually had a hit since May 15. He undoubtedly felt that he would get a shot to start today, for one of several reasons -- the possibility of a Delmon Young punishment, the fact that Monroe had good numbers against Zack Greinke, the fact that he hadn't played in forever. When he didn't get in the lineup, he could have pouted and gone into the game in the 9th distracted. Instead, he took his cuts and hit one of the three fastballs he faced into the stands.

4.) There was a lot of talk in the blogosphere and beyond suggesting that Delmon Young should have been benched tonight to send a message. I understand the urge, and I can't say I'm thrilled with his .258 average and lack of power. However, I think it would have been a mistake to bench Young tonight. To avoid having this in his head, he needed to get back on the field and move past Tuesday night. I think it was the right decision -- but it should also be noted that Young is in a brutal slump, and should probably sit for that reason sometime soon. Maybe even today, although I doubt it's going to happen.

5.) In his last four games, Mike Lamb is 8-for-16. It's easy to play around with small stretches of games to make a point, and undoubtedly this stretch is just an example of an upswing which big league players go through all the time. This particular stretch is nonetheless significant in that it demonstrates what should have been obvious even while Lamb was struggling -- he's still perfectly capable of putting together good stretches. As I've said several times recently, if he can hit .270-.280 for the rest of the season, I'd be thrilled, and would willingly forgive and forget everything that happened in April and early May.

6.) I'll end by saying some nice things about the bullpen. For what seems like weeks, the bullpen has been predictably bad. Every night, you could expect them to come in and fail to hold things down, and the Twins were winning games in spite of them. That was not the case tonight. Gardy cobbled together four innings of work from five relievers, who combined to allow just 3 hits. Bobby Korecky was once again very strong, Joe Nathan was his usual brilliant self, and even Juan Rincon and Jesse Crain pitched in. Thank you, bullpen. Now, please keep it up.



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