June 23, 2008

Weekend Review

Heading into the series the Twins were 4 1/2 games out heading into the series, but with a Twins sweep over the Diamondbacks and a Cubs sweep over the White Sox the Twins moved within 2 games of first place.

The Twins outscored Arizona 18-6 in the 3 game set with the Twins scoring at least 5 runs in each of the games. But the pitching is what won this series for the Twins. On Friday, Scott Baker went 6 strong innings and gave up 1 run on 7 hits while he struck out 7 batters. Baker's lone run allowed came on a solo home run from Mark Reynolds. On Saturday, Nick Blackburn went 7 innings of 1 run ball to pick up his 6th victory of the season. He threw 63 of his 89 pitches for strikes and gave up just 3 hits all night. And then on Sunday, Livan Hernandez turned in his 2nd strong performance in a row giving up just 3 runs (1 earned) in 7 innings while he struck out 5 batters.

On Offense, Brendan Harris continued to play well going 4-8 with 4 runs scored, 2 doubles and 2 RBI. He is now 8-16 since the 2nd game of the Washington series and 4 doubles, a triple, and 2 RBI. He's definitely zoned in at the plate right now which has played a vital part to the Twins success. Another middle-infielder who has played an important role in the Twins success this season is Alexi Casilla who went 5-12 with 2 runs and 3 RBI in the series. Those two have played solid defense and have been great at the plate, and as long as they continue to play well I don't see anyone biting into their playing time.

Friday's Game Ball
Scott Baker - Starting Pitcher
Line: 6 innings pitched, 7 hits, 1 run, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts, 112 pitches, win
Box Score

Saturday's Game Ball
Nick Blackburn - Starting Pitcher
Line: 7 innings pitched, 3 hits, 1 run, 0 walks, 3 strikeouts, 89 pitches, win
Box Score

Sunday's Game Ball
Brian Buscher - Third Base
Line: 2-4, run, 2 RBI
Box Score

Matt Macri left Friday's game after he delivered a 2-run single to put the Twins up 2-0 in the third inning with a strained left calf. And then after Sunday's game, Macri was optioned back to Rochester to make room for Nick Punto as he comes off of the DL. Since arriving in Minnesota, Macri has hit .367 with 4 RBI's in 30 at bats. But still someone had to go down to Rochester and with Brian Buscher producing more. Buscher has hit .384 in just 26 at bats with 11 RBI's and has played great defense at third. Buscher has Buscher has just 12 RBI's less than Delmon Young and yet he has played only 10 games compared to Young's 72. Or even 17 RBI behind Joe Mauer's in 69 games.

Punto went 3-12 in his rehab all with the Ft. Myer's Miracle and will meet the Twins in his hometown of San Diego, California. He will likely see time at all the infield positions (besides first base) but will have to earn a starting spot in the lineup as the players currently at 2nd, shortstop, and third base are all playing very well right now.

Other Twins talk
  • Ben Revere was out for 4 games after he "tweaked" his hamstring in batting practice. He returned to the Snappers lineup tonight and played DH. The 2007 first-round pick went 1-2 but was replaced by Ramon Santiago in the 5th inning. Not sure yet if it was injury related or not.
  • John Sickel's "Controversial Prospect" post on Ben Revere.
  • La Velle E. Neal III looks into the Twins' "Milwaukee Surge."
  • Joe Christensen reports that Joe Mauer is now the American League leading vote getter for Catcher. Justin Morneau is 2nd for first baseman.
  • Francisco Liriano was hit hard on Saturday, but a poster on Howard Sinker's site felt optimistic about the start and was there to watch it first hand.

I will be back later (around) with another Q&A. So make sure to stay tuned.