Taylor's Twins Talk

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

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Nightly Notes: Game #114

About bloody time. Each of these three games against the Mariners started essentially the same way -- the Twins jumped out to a lead, then the Mariners came back. Today, the comeback was stopped when the Mariners had just 3 runs and the Twins were able to pick up the win. That should have happened in each of the first two games, as well -- the Twins have no business losing 2 of 3 to the Mariners, even in Seattle. All is forgiven if today is a sign of things to come. Here are some notes:

1.) Nick Blackburn wasn't great today, but he was still good enough to get a quality start. Blackburn managed to avoid completely disintegrating, and while he allowed a lot of baserunners (9 hits and 1 walk), he held the Mariners to just three runs. After the last two days, I'm certainly not going to complain!

2.) I doubt he's really all that fast, but Randy Ruiz looked like he was boogeying in the 8th inning when he scored from first on Brendan Harris' double. I also liked to see him stroke his 8th inning hit solidly up the middle. I didn't see his first hit. So far, though, he's managed to get 3 hits in his first 9 big league at-bats. I'm rather pleased, even though it's a meaningless result with so few at bats to go on. I suspect he'll be heading back to Rochester soon, but I suspect we'll see him again in September.

3.) Denard Span is a stud. Without his offense (and defense!) the Twins wouldn't have won tonight. I'm a Gomez fan, but it's quite clear that Span has to start in center when Michael Cuddyer comes back.

4.) Nick Punto's offensive bubble may have burst -- he's down to hitting .275 after an 0-for-4 day. I still think he's a decent player, even offensively, but I'll probably stop shouting that from the rafters as I was doing a few weeks ago!

5.) Livan Hernandez had his contract "assigned" to the Rockies today, meaning that the Twins will get nothing back from the Rockies in exchange for him. I can't say that I care too much -- Hernandez wasn't really worth anything. Of course, the Rockies gave up Matt Macri a year ago in exchange for Ramon Ortiz, and he was even worse than Livan. Maybe they learned their lesson. What's interesting is that the Rockies seem to view Hernandez as some kind of savior -- an established fifth starter. I guess so long as they know what they're getting . . .

6.) Joe Nathan is supposedly on his way to being used more often in the 8th inning. To be clear about how I feel in this regard -- so long as it isn't overdone, I'm ok with this. My concern is only that, if Nathan has to start warming up in the 8th rather than the 9th repeatedly, it could reduce his effectiveness. I have no proof of this, it's just a concern. If it's done right, though, I can't argue with the fact that it's likely to be effective. Hopefully guys like Guerrier and Crain can step up again to make using Nathan in this way unnecessary.

7.) I don't particularly like Joba Chamberlain, as I've explained before -- but I don't want to see him get hurt, either. Unfortunately, he's heading to the 15-Day DL for reasons that ESPN says haven't been specified. I hope it isn't serious; I want to see Joba get beat on the field.



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