Nightly Notes: Game #72
1.) I'm starting with an observation from yesterday, but I don't want anyone to think that I'm ducking the topic of Livan Hernandez so I'll address it here. I've been saying since he was signed that the Hernandez signing was a mistake, and I started beating that drum harder after his recent horrid stretch. Yesterday's start was nice, but it doesn't change my opinion of Hernandez. Look, most big league pitchers will occasionally pitch well, or even go through a strong stretch of games. The important question, though, is how a guy will usually pitch. I'm not convinced that yesterday's 7 inning, 5 hit performance is going to be the norm the rest of the way. Frankly, I'd be thrilled to be wrong -- but I expect him to revert to form soon. That probably (and hopefully) doesn't mean that he'll be as bad as he was for the last month -- it would be hard to sustain that level of badness -- but I do expect him to give up about 5 runs per start and somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.7 hitters per inning.
2.) Speaking of nice starts, Kevin Slowey recovered from his awful performance against the White Sox last week by delivering a quality start tonight. Since he was at the 90 pitch mark when he left the game, he probably could have been left out for the 7th if Gardy had wanted to push it a bit. Frankly, though, I'm glad he turned it over to the bullpen -- the results have frequently been bad when Gardy has left a pitcher out for an "extra" inning of work. UPDATE: I must not have been paying attention to this very well (I was multitasking during the game), because, as Jeremy pointed out in the comments, Slowey did indeed have a chance to get the 7th inning. I think the main point I was trying to make is still valid -- I just muffed a little bit.
3.) Incidentally, it's been nice to see the more traditional Twins bullpen emerge of late. You know . . . the bullpen that was supposed to be a team strength. I suspect that when the 'pen isn't overworked, as it was in the middle of the 40-games in 40-days stretch, it will be fine. Jesse Crain, after all, suddenly has an ERA of 2.93 on the season. Matt Guerrier has a slightly higher ERA but has still been reasonably solid. Joe Nathan is Joe Nathan. The two-lefty combo of Dennys Reyes and Craig Breslow seems reasonably solid. Boof Bonser and Brian Bass have niches to fill (although using Bass in the 8th inning -- even when the team has a 4 run lead -- might not be the best plan). Overall, I'm confident that even without Pat Neshek, this bullpen will be just fine.
4.) Not adding anything new here if you watched the game, but it would have been pretty cool to see the Twins turn a triple play in the 8th. I didn't see a really great replay, but the one they showed before going to commercial in the 8th seemed to show that the ump made the right call, as Casilla's foot seemed to come off the bag. Ah well -- no harm, no foul.
5.) I like the Brian Buscher/Matt Macri combo at third base quite a bit. Mike Lamb, who has pretty much been dreadful, just isn't going to get a lot of playing time so long as these guys keep playing reasonably well. This is just further evidence that the Twins did dreadfully on the free agent market this year -- no surprise, really, if you've been paying any attention at all. I'm going to probably write a stand alone post on this issue sometime in the next week or so, but suffice it to say that while I generally think Bill Smith has performed well since taking over for Terry Ryan, I was (and remain) somewhat baffled by the decision-making process that went into the free agent signings. That said, the Lamb signing wasn't as bad as it looks right now. For one thing, Lamb seemed to be a relatively safe signing -- someone who would hit with a bit of power and for a reasonable, if not great, average. The Twins also couldn't know that Brian Buscher and Matt Macri would be able to hold down third. Frankly, the sample size is so small that we don't really know if we can. Ultimately, then, while the Lamb signing has been a dud, it was actually the best of the bunch from a decision-making standpoint.
6.) The Elizabethton Twins won again tonight to start out 2-0, and just to prove that I have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, they started Alex Soto behind the plate tonight instead of Jeff Lanning. I suggested yesterday that Lanning would get the bulk of the playing time behind the plate for the E-Twins, based on the idea that he was an experienced college catcher who the Twins would probably want to see perform. Instead, the E-Twins started 2007 draft pick Danny Rams on opening night, and went with Soto tonight. Guess you can just count me completely wrong on this point! Incidentally, Soto hit a two run homer in the game, so I can't complain about his performance.
7.) The GCL Twins open the season tomorrow, and as happened with Elizabethton there still isn't a roster posted on the team website. I expect that it will be posted tomorrow, and I'll post a roster breakdown sometime after I get home from work covering the names I'm interested in following this year.
8.) Congrats to KG and the Celtics for getting the job done (and how!) last night. I realize that the Celtics are the Basketball equivalent of the Yankees, what with their now 17 championships and all. Nonetheless, the Celtics haven't really been good since I started paying attention to basketball -- I was 4 the last time they won a championship -- so my natural tendency to root against the "dominant" teams kicked in against the Lakers rather than the Celtics. Just so long as they don't start winning every year again . . .
9.) The Yankees have signed Sidney Ponson. Frankly, I can't wait to see this thing play out.
10.) Tomorrow, Portugal faces Germany in the Euro 2008 quarterfinals. I'd say that this is an epic throwdown for bragging rights between my ancestors' homeland and Marty's ancestors' homeland, but since Portugal is almost certainly the better team, I'll stick with just saying it should be an entertaining match. Go Germany!
Labels: Nightly Notes