Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Oh, What a Game!
(The Word Press page for this article can be found here)
The Twins and Yankees have given us two very good games so far in this series. Who knows what is in store for the fans when Kevin Slowey faces off against Darrell Rasner in the third and final game of the series. Game 1 on Monday night was a great game for the Twins. Game 2 was just a great baseball game. Whether or not the team you were cheering for won or lost, I think everyone can admit that it was a great baseball game. If you can't say that, at least give me that it was an exciting game! It certainly had a playoff atmosphere to it. Sure, the Twins lost 9-6 in 12 innings, but it was a very good game. Here are some thoughts:
Of course the key topic to write about today is the 8th inning home run of Delmon Young off of Mariano Rivera. What were the odds of that happening? I jotted down a few things just to really put what happened there into perspective.
Mariano Rivera was 28 for 28 in save opportunities heading into this appearance.
Rivera got ahead 0-2 with pitches on or just outside the outside corner. Young appeared to be a little late.
Randy Ruiz had singled to RF, pinch hitting for Jason Kubel, right before Young came to the plate.
Young had just five home runs on the season. Despite incredible power, it had simply not meant home runs for Young real often this year.
That ball stayed just inside the mesh foul pole down the right field line.
I thought it was great to see Young rounding first base, trying to withhold the huge smile. It just didn't work, and all I kept thinking was good for him. After all the negative talk and criticism that so many Twins fans had given him. After all the boos that he heard at Metrodome. To come through with a clutch home run like that had to be an incredible feeling.
So, I had no problem with him taking the quick curtain call.
I wasn't at the game, but with over 33,000 people in attendance, I imagine the decibel level in Metrodome at that time was deafening.
I don't know if you believe in such things or not, but this could have been that one Signature moment that allows Twins fans to admit that Delmon Young is now one of us. I really, truly hope that that one home run allows many people to take a look at just how incredible he has been since mid-May and stop bashing him so much. I really hope that is the case! In this game, Young had three hits, a single, his 21st double, his sixth homer and three RBI. He even stole his 21st base.
Joe Nathan had to come in to face Alex Rodriguez for the final out of the bottom of the 9th. He also pitched the 10th inning. Matt Guerrier came in and had a very strong 11th inning. Unfortunately, the top of the 12th was not a good one for Matt Guerrier. who is looking like he is about done. A nice 15 day DL break is what he needs (you know, for that 'Tired Arm' thing), unfortunately, the Twins need him and can't do that.
Alex Rodriguez led off with a really, really long home run to dead centerfield. That made him 1-6 in the game. I couldn't help but notice his home run trot as opposed to Young's. Young was excited, happy, enthusiastic. Rodriguez was so professional, so lethargic, for a while I was wondering if he would make it all the way around the bases without falling asleep.
Ivan Rodriguez crushed a double to the left centerfield gap.
Xavier Nady then took a fastball about belt high on the outer half of the plate and crushed it over the right field baggy to give the Yankees a three run lead
GUERRIER STAT UPDATE - After Matt Guerrier's July 29th outing, his ERA was at 3.23. He has now made eight appearances since the trade deadline. He has pitched a total of six innings. He has given up 13 runs (12 earned) on 16 hits and two walks. He has allowed four homers. That would be an ERA of 18.00 and a WHIP of 3.00. Not good! .
Brian Bass came in, so that was pretty scary! But he and his infamous sinkerball induced a groundball double play to end the inning.
I honestly can't really question any of the in-game decisions that Gardy made in this game. Some thought that the Twins should have pinch hit for Nick Punto in the bottom of the 9th against Mariano Rivera. Maybe, but at the same time, you really can't count on scoring another run against Rivera, so I don't mind the defense of Punto remaining in the game at that time. Joe Nathan was going to hold the Yankees from scoring in the top of the 10th and the middle of the Twins lineup was due up in the 10th. So, I can't question that.
The only thing I truly do not understand is why Brendan Harris has not started since Friday. First, let me say that I fully realize that he has very little range at SS. That said, his bat is significantly better than Adam Everett or Nick Punto, so for him to just stop playing makes no sense. The argument could be made that a couple of the Twins pitchers are groundball pitchers and you want your best infield defense with them on the mound. I get that. However, Nick Punto's complete lack of fundamental baseball continues to get excused while Brendan Harris is so easily in his doghouse. It's really inexplicable.
Another rough start for Nick Blackburn. He went just 4.2 innings in this game and gave up four runs on six hits. He even walked three batters.
The White Sox beat the Royals 9-0, so they have retaken the 1/2 game lead in the AL Central.
Any other thoughts on this terrific baseball game?
Twins Minor League Updates
Tuesday SethSpeaks Player of the Day – Brock Peterson, Rochester Red Wings
Tuesday SethSpeaks Pitcher of the Day – Mike McCardell, Beloit Snappers
Tuesday – Rochester 11, Syracuse 3 – Philip Humber has really been solid since returning to the Twins rotation. In this game, he gave up three runs on eight hits in 7.1 innings. He walked just one and struck out 11. Mariano Gomez came in and got the final five outs. He walked two and struck out one. Jason Pridie went 3-6 with his 18th double. Brock Peterson went 2-5 with his first AAA double and first AAA home run and four RBI. Howie Clark and Garrett Jones each had two hits and a walk. Sergio Santos was 2-5.
HUMBER NOTE - In Philip Humber's five starts since returning to the rotation, he has been very good in four of them. In those five starts, he is a combined 4-0 with a 3.09 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP. In 32 innings, he has given up 31 hits. He has walked eight and struck out 36. Since he is out of options next year, I would be surprised if the Twins do not bring him up in September and see what he can do out of the bullpen.
NEW BRITAIN NEWS
Tuesday – New Britain 3, Erie 9 – Another rough game for the Rockcats. Kyle Aselton started and gave up seven runs on ten hits and a walk in three innings. Armando Gabino went the next three innings and gave up three runs on six hits and two walks. Jason Miller struck out three in two shutout innings. Danny Valencia went 2-4 with his 14th double. Toby Gardenhire was also 2-4. Dustin Martin went 1-3 with a walk and his 29th double.
FT MYERS MEMOS
Tuesday – Miracle 2, Dunedin 7 – This game was actually in reach until a four run ninth for the Blue Jays farm club. Unfortunately, the Miracle offense could muster just five hits and a walk in the game. Juan Portes went 2-3 with a walk. Matt Fox started and in 5.2 innings he gave up two runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out three. Carlos Gutierrez gave up two runs on three hits in finishing the sixth frame as well as the seventh. Anthony Slama gave up a run on two hits in the 8th inning, although he did strike out three. Blair Erickson came in and got just two outs before allowing four runs on three hits and three walks. Danny Santiesteban again came in from CF to get that final out (although he did hit a batter first).
Tuesday – Beloit 7, Peoria 2 – Mike McCardell and Rene Leveret were the two stories in this game. McCardell continued to dominate the Midwest League. He improved to 9-3 with eight strong innings. He gave up two runs on three hits. He walked none and struck out ten. Michael Allen pitched a perfect ninth. Rene Leveret went 2-5 with his third home run and five RBI.
Tuesday – E-Twins 1, Bristol 4 – Bobby Lanigan had an OK start in this game but got no help from his defense or the bats. He went seven innings and gave up four runs (2 earned) on eight hits. He walked none and struck out six. Lee Martin pitched a perfect ninth. Unfortunately, the E-Twins managed just one hit in the game, a single by Jon Waltenbury. Unforutnately, Waltenbury made three errors in the game as well. The team did add four walks, two of them by Dominic de La Osa.
GCL TWINS TALK
Tuesday – GCL Twins – No Game Scheduled.
Have a great day!