Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Good morning! I did post minor league updates for both Monday and Tuesday below, so be sure to check them out. Here are a couple of thoughts on the Twins win over the White Sox last night, along with some streaks and trends worth noting.
TWINS 3, WHITE SOX 1
Boof Bonser started and gave the Twins seven innings of one run ball. A Joe Crede solo homer in the 7th inning was the only blemish on the outing. In seven innings, he struck out eight hitters. He had a solid 1.00 WHIP with six hits and a walk in seven innings. Really, it was a very good outing for Boof, one he can continue to build off of. He improved to 2-4, and his ERA dropped to 3.75. I know a lot of people are down on Bonser and I don't understand why. Five of his six starts have been quality starts. However, it was also good to see him strike out more hitters in this game.
Jason Kubel... when he hits them, they are hit well! Kubel took a first pitch from Gavin Floyd and launched it into the upper deck. The two run homer proved to be enough support for Bonser. Now, as you know, I am as big of a Jason Kubel supporter as there is and I am thrilled that he is finally getting every day playing time. That said, he is 3-21 in his last five games, a nice .142 average. But I think it is great that Gardy is keeping him in the lineup because every hitter goes through 3-21 stretches in a season, but Kubel's power potential makes him important in a weak Twins lineup. However, there is one more thing to note when watching Kubel in 2008. He has always been a guy with a great eye. However, after walking 41 times in about 450 plate appearances in 2007, he has just three walks to this point about 95 plate appearances in 2008. Just something to watch.
Speaking of guys who don't take walks, how about Delmon Young. He now has five walks in about 100 plate appearances this season. He is actually on pace to walk six to ten more times in 2008 than he did in 2007. I know he was off to a cold start, but have you noticed that he really heated up over the road trip. With his 2-2 last night, he has now hit .370 (10-27) in his last seven games. However, he has just four extra base hits in 26 games. He is on pace for 27 extra base hits for the season. Last year, he had 38 doubles and 13 RBI. Assuming he is meant to reach those levels again in 2008, he should really do well the rest of the season. He is also on pace for 27 stolen bases on the season. So, even without the power numbers, Young has done a nice job with the glove and on the bases.
Joe Mauer extended his hitting streak to 11 games last night with a first inning triple. In that stretch, Mauer is 16-43, a .372 average. He was coming off of an 0-14 stretch, but in the game before the streak started, he went 0-2 with three walks. When Mauer is at his best, he is taking walks, and hitting the gaps. I know people want him swinging for the fences, but with all the Twins free swingers, having a Joe Mauer type is a good thing.
In his last six games, Mike Lamb is hitting .400 (8-20). Michael Cuddyer was 2-2 in the game he injured himself in. Since his return, he has hit in all four games. He is 7-17 (.412).
Looking at the ERA of a relief pitcher can be so deceiving for a couple of reasons. For instance, Pat Neshek's ERA is now 3.97 after getting one hitter our last night. You will note that number is more than a run higher than his ERA was in 2007, and more than two runs higher than it was around the All Star break last year. But he has had two bad games, one in which he was charged with three runs, and one in which he was charged with two runs. In his other nine games, he has given up no runs on two hits in 9.1 innings. That is why, I really like my "Reliever Efficiency" stat (that you will see later this week in my April Grades). Neshek got the job done in 9 of his 11 outings, or 81.9% of the time.
Dennys Reyes has been very good. He has not allowed an earned run all season to score against him. So, what is his Reliever Efficiency? I would contend that it is also 81.9% In his first outing of the year, he came in, faced one batter and gave up a hit. In another outing, he did not allow a run in one inning, but he started one inning by giving up a single. He got out of that inning, then he walked the leadoff hitter of the next inning before being removed from the game. This isn't an attempt to put down Reyes. Really it is an attempt to show that stats for relievers other than WHIP and K/9 can and should all be questioned. You're not necessarily looking at apples and apples.
I know I said I didn't want to participate in the I Told You So banter regarding Livan Hernandez. Everyone predicted he would be lit up a lot. That said, a look at the numbers is really interesting. And who knows, maybe something to look forward to:
|1st 3 starts||21.0||21||6||0||0||6||2.57||1.00|
|2nd 3 starts||14.2||24||14||6||6||7||8.59||2.05|
|1st 3 starts||22||16||5||2||2||8||2.05||0.82|
|2nd 3 starts||17||19||9||2||4||9||4.76||1.35|
Now, it is important to remember that Ortiz's first five Twins starts were quality starts. It wasn't until his sixth start that Ortiz struggled. So, even though Livan has been nowhere near as good as Ramon Ortiz was through six games, maybe we have something to look forward to over the next four starts. He are the combined numbers from Ramon Ortiz's seventh through tenth starts:
Again, just something to look forward to!
With that, Nick Blackburn starts for the Twins this afternoon in the second and final game of the series. It is not on TV. Any other thoughts or notes on the Twins? Leave them below.|
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