Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Nightly Notes: Game #56

Following last night's disappointment, it was nice to come out tonight and get a convincing win over the Yankees. Hopefully, the Twins will be able to secure a series split tomorrow night to keep their relative hot streak intact. Here are some notes:

1.) Obviously, the big thing to come out of today's game was the injury to Nick Blackburn. I've been following the updates on Joe Christensen's Strib blog, and it sounds as if things could have been a whole lot worse -- in fact, I'm cautiously optimistic that Blackburn might not even need to miss a start. Of course, even if he's physically ready to pitch again when his next start comes around, there may be a mental hurdle to get over. I was hit in the nose after throwing a pitch to a friend of mine in a neighborhood game when I was a kid, and it took quite awhile for me to even want to put a glove on again. Big league players are usually a whole lot tougher mentally than I would have been as a 12-year-old (and probably than I am now!), so hopefully this isn't an issue for Blackburn.

2.) This could keep Boof Bonser in the rotation for a start or two, but I wouldn't expect it to benefit him long term. Interestingly, there was a suggestion in the Strib today that the Twins may indeed be considering a 13-man pitching staff, which I mentioned as a nothing more than a remote possibility a few days ago. The logic does make sense -- the Twins have really had to rely on their bullpen over the past few days, and are in the middle of a long stretch without an off-day. If ever a team were to be justified in keeping 13 pitchers on the team, this would be the time.

3.) Brian Bass and Jesse Crain had great outings today in relief of Blackburn, making life a whole lot easier for Ron Gardenhire (who otherwise may have been forced to use Glen Perkins or Kevin Slowey in relief). Bass is at least putting up a fight for a roster spot that seemed to me to be about to disappear. We'll find out in a few days how the Twins are going to resolve this issue with the pitchers -- I'd still say Bass' departure is the most likely option at, say, 40%. Then, I'd say sticking with 13 pitchers would be option number two, at 38%. That leaves a Rincon departure in last place with a 22% chance. I just pulled those numbers out of you-know-where, but it gives a good idea of how likely I'm thinking these things are. Of course, it could all become meaningless if Blackburn is hurt worse badly enough to need a stint on the DL, in which case he'll just be swapped out for Baker and nothing else will need to happen.

4.) Another nice day for Cuddyer, who is now hitting .245. Mike Lamb had an 0-for-3 and fell to .250, but one off day is to be expected and I'm still hopeful he's recovering from the early season swoon. Not much else to say about the offense today, except that it was fun to see Morneau lumbering around the bases.

5.) If I get a chance to, I'm going to post my early All-Star picks and award winners later tonight. If it doesn't happen, I'll do my best to get it up tomorrow. Enjoy your Sunday night!



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