Nightly Notes: Game #92
1.) Kevin Slowey has been bit by a nasty inning in each of his last two starts. The difference between his start on the 5th against Cleveland and today's start against the Tigers, however, was that this time he was unable to get out of his bad inning. Two bad starts in a row is OK so long as he comes back strong after the break. Hopefully, he's just losing a little focus -- that can be fixed, I would think. Either way, it didn't hurt the Twins today as they picked up the win anyway (which also happened against Cleveland, of course). They won't get that lucky if he continues to struggle a bit.
2.) It sure looked like Joe Nathan was going to blow the game in the bottom of the 9th (corrected -- I said 10th originally), as he walked three battles but wriggled out of the inning with a couple of strikeouts. It would have been ironic if, following yesterday's discussion about using Joe Nathan, he would have come out and lost the game tonight. For the record, I supported the decision to bring him in for the 10th inning, and would continue to support such use even if he had failed today. I just think it would have been ironic . . .
3.) Nice bounce back from Matt Guerrier, delivering two solid innings to pick up the win. I'm eager to see him get another shot in a setup role, so he gets a chance to prove that two days ago was not the norm.
4.) With Denard Span and Carlos Gomez heading in opposite directions, there will undoubtedly be a lot of talk about whether Span should be leading off right now. For the record, Gomez has gone 0-for-12 in his last three games, and is hitting just .212 for the month of July. His average is lower (at .260) than it has been at any point since April 29. Span, on the other hand, is hitting .361 after his 4-for-4 performance today. I'm not opposed to moving Span into the leadoff slot for awhile -- he's playing awfully well, for sure. If Gomez is moved to the 9th spot, for instance, it doesn't really make a big difference except for at the start of the game. After all, we'll still get a 9-1-2 speedy threesome (8-9-1-2 when Punto is playing) hitting one after another, which I think is a strength for the Twins. Aside from just being the hot hand, Span also is much, much more patient at the plate -- and that's an advantage in a leadoff man. I really like Gomez, but I don't see any reason not to make this switch.
5.) Justin Morneau is on a similar pace to his MVP season, although if he just duplicated his first half efforts in the second half, he'd come up a bit short in the HR and RBI categories. If I remember right, though, Morneau's second half in 2006 was significantly better than his first half -- and if he can turn that trick this year, another MVP nod might not be out of the question. I'll be honest -- I was never quite sure what the Twins were going to get out of Morneau long term. I always thought he'd be a really solid player, but I thought 2006 might be a bit of a fluke, and that his numbers would more often be like 2007 (still a very, very nice season -- but not MVP worthy). Now, I'm more convinced that he has several MVP runs in him (not MVP wins, necessarily, but seasons that give him a shot).
6.) Nick Punto is now hitting .320. I'm just sayin'.
7.) KC, we need ya to come through tonight. Stomp those Sox!
8.) Congrats to Evan Longoria and Corey Hart on getting voted into the All-Star game by the fans. While I don't like the fan vote for starters, I think this vote is fantastic. I'm a little stunned that players from Tampa Bay and Milwaukee got the support of so many fans, but I'm also delighted by it, and I have no qualms with either pick. Let's hope that both guys get a chance to do something in the game.
Labels: Nightly Notes