Saturday, April 18, 2009

Game #12 - Bullpen Disaster, Part Deux - Scratch That.....Amazin' Win!

AP Photo, via

The Twins were deader than a doornail in the 8th inning, trailing Los Angeles 9-3 after allowing a 5-run top of the 7th to break open a 3-3 game. Enter some Dome magic, punctuated by Jason Kubel's 8th inning grand slam - completing the cycle - and the Twins came back to win 11-9. Kubel was 4-5 with 5 RBI in the game and his cycle was the Twins' first since Carlos Gomez's effort in 2008 vs. Chicago.

Starter Nick Blackburn was solid through 6, but allowed a leadoff single to Chone Figgins in the top of the 7th inning with the game tied 3-3. After Figgins stole second, Howie Kendrick bunted him to third. Enter Jesse Crain, and after retiring the first batter he faced, he would retire nobody else, and before the inning was out, the Twins were in a 8-3 hole. After trading runs, the Twins came to bat in the bottom of the 8th trailing 9-4.

After some manufacturing of runs to cut the deficit to 9-7, the Angels intentionally-walked Justin Morneau to pitch to Kubel with the bases loaded. Kubel's grand slam held up, as Joe Nathan pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to save the game for Matt Guerrier and the Twins.

Denard Span and Brendan Harris each had 2 RBI for the Twins, and Span, Cuddyer, and Mike Redmond had 2 hits a piece. Crain's ERA ballooned to 7.50 after his horrible outing, and the 'pen had certainly had its share of bad outings as of late.

I've written in this space before that Kubel is the team's third-best hitter and the Twins have finally decided to let him play every day. Last night, Ron Gardenhire gave him the start in left field in the hopes that playing some defense would relax him at the plate. Some guys respond to this; others relax more by just DH-ing. Either way, Kubel's bat needs to be in the lineup every day, further complicating the outfield mess. The Twins have 5 guys who need to play every day (Kubel, Gomez, Span, Cuddyer, Young) and only 3 sopts (4 if one includes DH). The best move may be to send Gomez to AAA and play the other four. Or, they could find a trade partner for Cuddyer. I'm a believer that the Twins need to have Young play every day - he's not a platoon player - or they could just cut bait on him, which would be a major mistake. I don't think the Twins will continue to try to be create in order to get all of them plate appearances, and by the end of May, we'll see a more permanent solution.

Perhaps, Friday's win can lift the Twins out of their funk, both pitching and hitting-wise. Game two of the series is Saturday evening, and features Darren Oliver vs. Kevin Slowey.

Twins/Angels Misc.

  • The Twins also designated pitcher Philip Humber for assignment and claimed pitcher Juan Morillo off waivers from Colorado. Humber was awful his last two times out, but my guess is that he won't clear waivers and will be picked up by another team. A look at Morillo's career MLB numbers shows that the Twins picked up another Humber, but with perhaps more upside. He apparently has a big fastball, but his minor league figures show that he walks way too many hitters (career 5.4 per nine innings, but his walk figures have improved the past few seasons), but is able to miss bats (8.6 strikeouts per nine innings). He's young (24), so perhaps the scouting department sees an upside. At first blush, however, the move is puzzling, since the Twins have viable options in AAA to replace an ineffective Humber (Brian Duensing, Anthony Swarzak, Jose Mijares, Sean Henn, Bobby Keppel, etc.). We'll see.
  • Powerful piece from's Amy K. Nelson documenting the last night of Angels' pitcher Nick Adenhart and the two others killed in the car accident.
Around the AL Central:

  • NY Yankees 6, Cleveland 5 - The Indians' bullpen coughed-up a 5-3 lead, allowing New York to score single runs in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings for the win. Derek Jeter's solo shot in the 8th off Jensen Lewis provided the margin of victory, and was one of four New York homers. Mark DeRosa homered for Cleveland. The Indians got to Joba Chamberlain for 6 hits and 5 runs in 4.2 innings, and the Yankees' starter also provided 5 bases on balls.
  • Tampa Bay 6, Chicago White Sox 5 - A wild 6th inning was the difference here, as the White Sox scored 3 in the top of the grame to break a 2-2 tie, and the Rays promptly scored 4 runs, courtesy of a Ben Zobrist grand slam, and held on for the victory at the Trop. Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye homered for Chicago, and Chris Getz and Jim Thome each had 2 hits. Carlos Pena hit his 6th homer for Tampa Bay.
  • Kansas City 12, Texas 3 - The Royals rode 5 hits by Mark Teahen and hit 3 homers (Teahen, Coco Crisp, and Mike Jacobs) to beat Texas. Jaconbs batted in 4 runs for the Royals, and Gil Meche pitched 6 scoreless innings to gain his first victory of the season.
  • Seattle 6, Detroit 3 - Seattle scored 5 runs in the 5th inning to provide the difference in a win over Detroit. Miguel Cabrera continued his torrid start for the Tigers, going 3-5 and raising his average to .513. Justin Verlander started and went 7.1 innings, giving up 8 hits, 6 runs (5 earned), and striking out 8. Felix Hernandez improved to 2-0 for Seattle.
Around the Minors:
  • AAA - Scranton/Wilkes Barre 11, Rochester 0 - The undefeated SWB Yankees pounded Rochester tonight behind Phil Hughes and two relievers. David Winfree had 2 hits for the Red Wings, and 7 others had one hit apiece. Winfree and Matt Tolbert hit doubles in the game. Sergio Santos started and lost for Rochester, giving up 5 runs (3 earned) in 5 innings. Sean Henn threw 2 scoreless frames, and Carmen Pignatiello was touched up for 6 runs in one inning of work. The Red Wings are now 5-4 after the loss.
  • AA - New Hampshire 11, New Britain 1 - The Rock Cats were pounded and dropped to 2-7 on the year. Cole deVries started and was victimized for 6 hits and 5 runs in 4.1 innings. Yohan Pino was pounded for 9 hits and 6 runs in 1.1 innings. Zach Ward and Rob Delaney each had scoreless outings. Erik Lis and Toby Gardenhire each had 2 hits, and Gardenhire also saw action at catcher. Matt Moses doubled and walked to continue his nice start.
  • High A - St. Lucie 3, Ft. Myers 1 - Ft. Myers managed just 4 hits against St. Lucie in their 3-1 loss. Ben Revere, Joe Benson, Steve Singleton, and Mark Dolenc had the hits, with Singleton's double being the only one for extra bases. Tyler Robertson started and went the first 4 innings, allowing 1 run on 2 hits, but giving up 3 walks. Kyle Waldrop dropped to 0-2 on the season, taking the loss in relief of Robertson (3 IP, 1 R, 4 H). Spencer Steedley gave up an unearned run in his one inning. The Miracle is now 5-3 with the loss.
  • Low A - Beloit 6, Burlington 5 (10 innings) - The Snappers prevented a minors-wide winless night with an extra-innings victory. Ramon Santana's walkoff homer in the 10th provided the victory margin. Alexander Soto also homered for Beloit.
  • Congrats to the New Your Mets' Gary Sheffield on his 500th career home run.
  • The Timberwolves laid-off radio analyst Kevin Lynch and TV sideline reporter Lea B. Olsen on Friday, proving that sports are not necessarily immune from economic woes. I thought Lynch was pretty good as an analyst - much better than either TV men Tom Hanneman and Jim Petersen, and I had no opinion about Olsen. Maybe the Twins could cite "economic woes" and get rid of Dick Bremer, Bert Blyleven, and Dan Gladden?
  • The Wolves also improved their chances in the NBA Draft Lottery, winning the tie-breaker over Memphis for the fifth-best chance.
  • The New York Rangers signed Hobey Baker winner Matt Gilroy of Boston University.
  • The Buffalo Sabres will retain GM Darcy Regier and Coach Lindy Ruff, putting to end speculation (mine) that the Wild will take a run at one or both.
  • Today's musical tidbit is a good ol' fashioned hit from the Beach Boys, and hearkens back to a simpler time where summer never ended.......

No comments:

Post a Comment