April 26, 2008

Organization Swept On Friday

Justin Morneau looked very MVP-like last night against the Texas Rangers, going 3-4 with a grand slam. He finished the game with 5 RBI, the most since last year against the White Sox when he drove in 6 in the 2nd game of a day-night double header. Morneau now has 6 home runs and 21 RBI's on the season. His season's average also took a big jump, hitting .254 before the game and ending at .280. Hopefully he can continue his hot hand and continue to rake tomorrow in game two.

Joe Mauer also had a solid game, going 2-3 with 2 walks. His double in the 5th inning hit off the top of the left field wall, missing by just 5-10 feet of being his first home run of the season. Michael Cuddyer went 1-5 with a single. His timing is a bit off, which was evident with his multiple infield pop-ups.

Carlos Gomez lead off the game with a bunt single, he stole second base and later came in to score on Morneau's RBI single. The next time up he reached on another bunt single, this time coming home to score on Morneau's grand slam. The third time up he bunted it to the pitcher, and Kevin Millwood made a great play to get him out at first. That wasn't the bad part though, after hitting the bag at first base, Gomez came up lame, holding his left calf. He has been diagnosed with a left-calf strain and is considered day-to-day. I'd be fairly surprised if he plays tomorrow, but hopefully it doesn't keep him out of the lineup for long, but the team needs to be careful with him as his legs (speed) is the biggest tool he has. Craig Monroe replaced him in center field, and immediately tried diving for a ball that fell just under his glove.

Four of Morneau's five RBI came off of his first grand slam of the season.

The Twins went with a different lineup than many (including myself) expected. Instead of inserting Cuddyer right back into the middle of the M&M Boys, Gardenhire kept Mauer and Morneau hitting 3rd and 4th while putting Cuddyer 5th, Jason Kubel 6th and dropping Delmon Young to 7th. Young hit well against the A's, going 5-12 with a double, but he's been dreadful at the plate with RISP. This (hopefully) won't last, but it's definitely getting frustrating watching him whale at absolutely everything while not being able to hit more than a long double.

Nick Blackburn started for the Twins, and it was not a pretty one. After the Twins gave him a 5-0 lead to begin the game, Blackburn allowed 5 Rangers to cross the plate in the third inning. It could have been more, but after Jason Botts doubles to right field, Cuddyer comes up throwing to home (it was cut off by Punto) and they got Hank Blalock out at home plate, then Mauer threw to third to get Botts trying to advance another base. Great play, and Cuddyer was credited with two outfield assists on the same play. The Rangers (Frank Catalanotto) were also called out at home in the 6th inning as well.

Blackburn settled down after the third, and didn't allow another runner to score. His sinker was being left up and the Rangers drilled him for 5 runs on 11 hits in 6 innings of work. The bullpen was solid until the 11th inning when Juan Rincon allows a double to Blalock and then walks Botts. Then with two-outs and a runner at second, he gave up a game winning single over Delmon Young's head in left center.

The win stopped a 7-game winning streak for the Rangers and it prolonged a losing streak for the Twins which is now at three games.

Tomorrow the Twins will send Scott Baker to the mound, only he doesn't know who he'll be pitching against. Bert Blylevin and Dick Bremer were speculating about Sidney Ponson possibly starting for the Rangers. If this proves to be true, hopefully the Twins can do to Ponson what he allowed teams to do to him last year as a member of the Twins.

Game Ball
Justin Morneau - First Base

3-4, grand slam, 5 RBI

Down on the Farm

Hitter of the Day
Toby Gardenhire - Miracle - 2nd Base

Note: Gardenhire went 3-4 with two doubles last night for the Miracle. Unfortunately his teammates could not drive him in a single time and the team lost 3-2. Gardenhire is now hitting .314 with 2 doubles and 4 RBI's in 35 AB's.

Pitcher of the Day
Jeff Manship - Miracle - Starting Pitcher

Manship turned in his best performance of the season last night. The 23-year-old right-hander went 7 innings and gave up just one run on 3 hits and 2 walks. He struck out 6 to bring his season total to 23. He now sports a 3.38 ERA through 5 starts for the Miracle.

Touch 'Em All!
  • Rochester Red Wings: None
  • New Britain Rock Cats: Luke Hughes (7)
  • Ft. Myers Miracle: None
  • Beloit Snappers: No Game (postponed)
Minor League Box Scores: