May 21, 2008

Twins play small ball in win

Just one night after one Red Wing picks up his first Major League win, another picks his up last night when the Twins beat the Texas Rangers 11-4.

Glen Perkins made his third major league start and picked up his first win of his career. The former Minnesota Gopher and first round pick went 6 1/3 innings and gave up 3 runs (2 earned) on 6 hits. He cruised threw the first 6 innings untouched before hitting a snag in the 7th inning. Perkins was very effective throughout the game and got ahead of hitters early. He showcased fantastic control again and threw just 27 balls out of 96 pitches. Perkins' future isn't necessarily clear as to where he fits in longterm, but he definitely has shown that he can start at the major league level as well as pitch in relief. So, at least he has given the Twins a couple of options.

Brian Bass came into the game with the bases loaded in the 7th inning and came out untouched after setting down two of the Rangers best hitters in Michael Young and Josh Hamilton. Bass pitched 2 2/3 innings and gave up 3 straight singles in the 9th to allow the Rangers score their 4th run of the game. Bass was the only reliever not used in Monday's game, so a great job by him and Perkins by helping relieve the relievers (yes, that was a pun) for an evening.

The batters teed off on Rangers starter Doug Mathis. Mathis was hit for 9 runs (6 earned) in just 2 1/3 innings pitched. The Twins got on the board early with an Alexi Casilla RBI single after Carlos Gomez lead off the game with a first-pitch triple. Gomez returned to the starting lineup after sitting 3 games (coming in later in two of them as a pinch runner) and went 1-5 with a triple, but looked to have possibly tweaking his injured wrist late in the game, but hopefully that's all it was. It could have been 2 runs in the first inning, but Casilla got a late jump on Joe Mauer's double and was forced to hold up at 3rd. The offense then errupted in the 3rd inning for 7 runs on 5 hits and an error. Everyone in the lineup contributed in some way or another. Sure some more than others, but it was really a good team effort.

Mauer and Casilla were last nights top performers at the plate. The two combined to go 5-8 with 3 RBI's and 3 runs scored. Justin Morneau and Mike Lamb also had multi-hit games. Morneau went 2-4 with an RBI single and Lamb went 2-3 with an RBI single and a sac fly. Delmon Young hit his 3rd double in his last 3 games. Coming into the game with a 25/5 K/BB ratio and a .275 OBP went 1-2 with his 5th double of the season and walked twice to raise his OBP to .284.

Game Ball
Glen Perkins - Staring Pitcher

Perkins had another fantastic start last night. He went 6 1/3 innings and gave up 3 runs (2 earned) on 96 pitches. Perkins cruised through the first 6 innings before hitting a snag in the 7th in which the Rangers scored 3 runs. Perkins got a head of the Rangers hitters often and had superb control throughout the game. It was Perkins' 3rd start of his career and he now sits at 1-1 with a 3.44 ERA. He also has a 12/2 K/BB ratio in 18 1/3 innings pitched.

Tonight, the Rangers will send Sidney Ponson to the hill to face off against Nick Blackburn of the Twins. After going 2-5 with a 6.93 ERA in 7 starts for the Twins last season, Ponson is off to a great start for the Rangers with a 2-0 record and a 3.52 ERA in 5 starts. However, he faces off against Nick Blackburn who's also off to a great start. Blackburn is 4-2 with a 3.77 ERA, but he was hit hard last time against the Rangers for 5 runs on 11 hits in 6 innings.

After a poor start in April, the Red Wings have just completely shut down and are now 5-15 in May. The offense isn't scoring runs, the starters aren't going deep into the games, the bullpen isn't helping them out, players are being promoted, players are getting hurt. Basically everything that could go wrong for the Wings, has gone wrong. It's a shame since there was such high hopes for the club heading into the season, as many thought they had a good shot at taking the International League Title.

And the news just keeps getting worse for the Red Wings. Denard Span will be out for 3-4 weeks with a broken finger.

One positive for the Red Wings however is the progression of Francisco Liriano. Liriano turned in his 4th solid performance in a row yesterday for the Red Wings. Yesterday, Liriano went 7 innings giving up just 8 hits, all singles, while allowing 2 runs to score and walking just 1 batter and striking out 3. Liriano threw 91 pitches, 62 of them for strikes and he now has a 2.76 ERA in his last 4 starts and has 8 walks opposed to 16 K's. He still has a little ways to go before I'd like to see him in the majors again, but he's definitely getting closer.

Ben Revere failed to get on base with either a hit or a walk (unless if I'm mistaken) for the first time since being promoted to Beloit from Extended Spring Training. He's off to a fantastic start.

Danny Valencia returned to action after missing 4 games with a hand injury. He went 2-4 and had an RBI double in his first at bat.

Minor League Hitter of the Day
Tommy Watkins - Left Field - Rochester Red Wings

Watkins was zoned in at the plate yesterday reaching base all 5 times he came to the plate. He had 2 walks, and 3 hits one of which was his first extra-base hit of the season. Unfortunately for Watkins, Denard Span went 0-5 in the game, failing to get on a single time which hurt Watkins' RBI opportunities. Watkins now has 10 walks on the season, and 5 in the last 2 games.

Minor League Pitcher of the Day
Tyler Robertson - Starting Pitcher - Ft. Myers Miracle

Robertson had his best start this season last night. The 6'5'' 20-year-old left-hander went 7 innings of shutout ball and gave up just 3 hits and 3 walks while striking out 4. Robertson kept the ball low in the zone and induced 13 ground ball outs opposed to 4 fly ball outs. Roberston won his 2nd game in his last 3 starts and is now 2-2 with a 3.04 ERA and has struck out 49 batters in 50 1/3 innings.

Touch 'Em All!
Rochester Red Wings: None
New Britain Rock Cats: None (Game postponed)
Ft. Myers Miracle: None
Beloit Snappers: None
Box Scores

Red Wings lost to the Chiefs, 3-2 in 10 innings.
Rock Cats - Senators game was postponed due to rain.
Miracle beat the Hammerheads, 5-0.
Snappers lost to the LumberKings, 4-2.