Wednesday Night, September 3, 2008
Twins Blow Another Lead
Wait... that's what I called yesterday's blog posting... well, unfortunately it is fitting again! In this game, the defense and the bullpen just didn't get the job done again.
The Twins took a 3-2 lead when Joe Mauer hit the left centerfield gap with a bases clearing double in the top of the 7th inning. Unfortunately in the bottom of the 7th, a Nick Punto error allowed the Blue Jays to tie the score.
The Twins took a 4-3 lead in the top of the 9th when Brendan Harris drove in a run with an infield single. Unfortunately in the bottom of the ninth, Travis Snider singled to right and Jason Pridie, who had entered the game as a pinch runner, had the ball skip right by him which scored the tying run. I can't help but feel horribly for Pridie. He made his big league debut as a pinch runner and scored a run. He also added a walk. But I guarantee what he will remember most from the game is this play. And, of course, it is a play he makes not 99 out of 100 times, but 999 out of 1,000 times. So don't start assuming he's a bad outfielder. In fact, in the SethSpeaks.net podcast tonight, Rochester play-by-play man Josh Whetzel told us that Pridie, defensively, is every bit as good as Denard Span (which is a compliment not a negative at all). My question would be why Pridie was put into RF with Span moving to CF. Pridie primarily played CF and has just as much range as Span does, but Gardy decided in his mind in spring training that Pridie is just a fourth outfielder. Span has been playing RF. Pridie has been playing CF. Not an excuse for Pridie, by any means, he should have kept the ball in front of him.
Then in the 11th inning, Eddie Guardado came in and immediately gave up a double to Scott Rolen and a single to Travis Snider. Boof Bonser came in to face John McDonald, and the game ended when McDonald doubles in the winning run. As soon as I saw that Eddie was coming in, I knew we wouldn't see a 12th inning. In the Marty Andrade Twins podcast on Sunday night, I commented that I liked the Twins trade for Guardado because he must still have something left because he did a very good job for the Rangers as their set up man, and even as their closer when CJ Wilson went out for the season. The biggest attribute he has is that he is not going to let one outing affect the next. He would be able to come back strong. Well, this is now three straight outings that he has been lit up. I know I don't have a lot of confidence in him. Granted, he is clearly behind Dennys Reyes and Craig Breslow on the usage chart right now.
If there is such a thing, Joe Mauer is "clutch." I can't think of a hitter in baseball, certainly with the Twins, that I want batting in a big situation. In this game, he was 2-6 with his 27th double and three RBI.
Justin Morneau went 2-4 with two walks and his 40th double. The three-four guys got the job done, but the rest of the hitters just didn't come up big. Matt Tolbert had two hits, and Delmon Young who didn't start because his ankle is still sore, came up with a big double., his 24th of the year.
Nick Blackburn had another solid start. In 6.2 innings, he gave up three runs (2 earned) on six hits. He walked none and struck out six. His 3.71 ERA indicates that he should be much better than his 9-8 record would indicate.
The team is now 5-8 on this road trip and have lost those eight games by a combined 12 runs. The White Sox won earlier in the day and reclaim a one game lead in the division.
The Twins and Jays will finish the three game series Thursday night when Kevin Slowey takes on Jesse Litsch.
And then... the team gets to return home!
SethSpeaks.net Weekly Twins Podcast Update
Tonight, the third installment of the SethSpeaks podcast aired live at 8:00 central time. I haven't listened back to the show, but I thought it went very well. Pat Neshek called in at about 8:05 and answered questions until about 8:30. We discussed his elbow, his rehab, the Twins and their bullpen and several other topics. I really think you will enjoy it. At 8:30, Josh Whetzel, the radio play-by-play guy for the Rochester Red Wings, called in and gave us a lot of great information on the Twins players who came up this year from Rochester and have helped the Twins. We talked about the September call-ups and several other players for the Twins AAA affiliate who ended their season on Monday afternoon. Again, you can click here if you would like to listen to the podcast, and please feel free to e-mail me or leave your comments, opinions, questions or ideas.