Nightly Notes: Game #77
1.) Six scoreless inning, four hits, and seven K's with no walks? I'll take that any day of the week. Today's solid performance means that Slowey has nearly erased the effects on his ERA of that disastrous 3 inning, 8 run performance against the White Sox on June 8 -- prior to that start, Slowey had a 3.76 ERA, but it ballooned to 5.15 after that start. After tonight and his third straight solid start in a row, his ERA has fallen back down to 3.96. It's kind of remarkable how long a horrid start can continue influencing a guy's stats.
2.) It looked like the bullpen wanted to cough up the game tonight, but in the end the performance wasn't that bad. Jesse Crain blew the lead by giving up a run on a couple of hits in the seventh, but he wasn't terrible. Matt Guerrier tried to give the Padres the edge by letting the first couple of runners in the eighth, but a lack of fundamentals (in the form of being unable to bunt) helped him out, and Dennyes Reyes finished the bail-out job. Of course, Joe Nathan was solid (as he nearly always is) in the ninth. It's too bad the 'pen couldn't nail down the win for Kevin Slowey, but I'll take one run allowed in 3 innings of work pretty much any night.
3.) Back-to-back homers from Brendan Harris and Brian Buscher? A bit unconventional, but I'll take it. Buscher continues to be something of a revelation for the Twins at third -- can you believe this guy was a minor league Rule 5 draft pick? At this rate, Buscher seems to have firmly entrenched himself as the Twins starting third baseman -- but that could change if he goes through a prolonged slump. Hopefully, that doesn't happen. More on Lamb below.
4.) Michael Cuddyer seems to be righting the ship. He's 7 for his last 13, and has his batting average up to .261. That's not great, but it's his best average since early May and suggests that he's digging out of the slump that marked most of the second month of the season for him. The Twins need him to reclaim his power swing, but for now I'll settle for him continuing to get timely hits and driving in some runs.
5.) So Juan Rincon is an Indian -- all I can say is that I hope he doesn't "Ponson" us when we inevitably face him.
6.) If you haven't been following the Elizabethton Twins so far this year, you should be. The offense on that team has been incredible a week into the season, and I'm particularly excited about the power being flashed by the squad. Recent draft picks Michael Harrington and Evan Bigley each have two homers already this season (and are also both hitting over .300), while Alex Soto (who I dissed a bit in my E-Twins roster review) hit two tonight and has three on the year. By my count, the team has 16 homers in 8 games, and has a 7-1 record. The pitching has been just OK for the most part, but who needs pitching when you're destroying the ball at the plate? Anyway, this could be a very interesting team to follow this year.
7.) I feel bad for Mike Lamb, but he has done nothing to justify the two year, $6.6 million contract the Twins gave him in the off-season. I was a little perplexed by the signing at the time (particularly the two year side of it), but generally defended it since the Twins didn't have an obvious player ready to take over the position. I don't think the Twins could have guessed that Brian Buscher would step it up and play so well during his major league stints this year. Unfortunately, with Lamb being terrible and with Buscher emerging, the Twins are stuck with a player they don't really need. Ultimately, this is why I would avoid signing a marginal free agent to a multi-year deal -- it severely reduces your flexibility. It's unfortunate, but it is what it is. Incidentally, I do not support simply cutting Lamb -- there's no immediate need for his roster spot, and I still think he could help the club down the road. This is not, to me, a Juan Rincon situation; Rincon was flat out done with the Twins, and the Twins needed to recover the roster spot he was filling. I'd continue to give Lamb some limited opportunities to play. Hopefully, he'll recover a bit.
8.) Should the Twins make some moves to try to make a run at the White Sox? I say no. The team is winning with what they have right now, and there are no obvious "easy" moves to make -- certainly, the team could upgrade a few positions (notably shortstop, despite Harris' game winning homer tonight). What would they have to give up, though? Sure, if the right deal came along I would encourage the team to pull the trigger on the deal -- but the odds are slim that the Twins could bolster the lineup without giving up a piece that's integral for the future. I say let the guys on the roster now play, and maybe pursue a DH type bat if one is available and doesn't cost a fortune (in terms of prospects). Other than that, for now I think the team should stand pat. I'll be talking a lot more about this as we enter July and head toward the deadline.
9.) It looks like the formatting issue I mentioned yesterday is, in fact, an Internet Explorer problem. I don't think I'll be able to find an easy fix for it, so I'm just going to apologize to those of you who use IE (although no one that e-mailed me or commented in the post seemed to care). Then, I would say that you should go get Firefox, because IE sucks. But hey, that's juts my opinion.
Labels: Nightly Notes