August 7, 2008

Spider Span!

The Twins had a heartbreaking loss in the first game, a tough loss on Tuesday and then yesterday they were able to salvage the series in Seattle by beating the Mariners 7-3. Nick Blackburn threw his 15th quality start of the season (in 23 starts). He went 6 innings while giving up 3 runs on 9 hits to pick up his 9th win of the season. He struggled in June, giving up 7 home runs in 26 innings while he sported a 5.88 ERA. But through 7 starts in July & August, he is 3-2 with a 2.55 ERA.

However, Blackburn's solid start was not the buzz that everyone is talking about. That goes to Denard Span who made an unbelievable, game saving catch while going 3-5 with 4 RBI at the plate. He was a one-man wrecking crew at Safeco yesterday.

Span hit a 3-run triple in the top of the of the 2nd inning to increase the 1-0 lead to 4-0. He then later hit a bunt single up the first base line which scored Brendan Harris from third base to give him his 4th RBI of the day. He also stole his 6th base in 9 attempts on the season. However, his leap up the right-field wall to grab a two-run home run away from Adrian Beltre (with the game tied 4-3), was the biggest play of the game. To say he's been a spark plug at the top of the lineup would be an understatement. He provides outstanding defense with a great mind at the plate. He knows how to work the count and is very selective with his swing attempts.

He's been a real treat to watch and he's providing the Twins with another strong bat.

Livan Hernandez was claimed off of waivers by the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies will pay his remaining $1.6 million that he's on the hook for the rest of the season, and the Twins are still responsible for $1.5 million which is based on incentives. But $100,000 saved is worth it considering that it gives Francisco Liriano the keys to the rotation, so to speak. Hopefully he can pitch better in the NL than he did for the Twins in the AL.

Michael Cuddyer began his rehab assignment yesterday by playing in a double-header for the Rochester Red Wings. He went 1-6 with a walk and two strikeouts in the two games while playing in right field and DH. If all goes well, the Twins expect him back at some point next week. The only questions are who gets sent down? And what do we do with the outfield situation.

The Twins currently have 4 outfielders capable of starting, and with Cuddyer returning (making it 5), the Twins have to decide who gets the AB's taken away. Jason Kubel and Delmon Young are swinging great bats and since Young is our only threat (with respect to Brendan Harris) from the right side of the plate, I doubt he goes anywhere. Denard Span has played exceptionally well on both offense and defense and is exactly what the Twins need down the stetch.

That leaves Carlos Gomez who despite hitting better since the All-Star Break, is definitely the weakest of the group. He has options which means the Twins can send him down the Rochester for a few weeks, before recalling him when the roster's expand in Septemeber.

Former Twins closer Eddie Guardado is once again a closer, this time for the Texas Rangers. C.J. Wilson was placed on the DL due to bone spurs in his elbow and could be lost for the season. "Everday Eddie" has two saves on the season and has pitched great for the Rangers all season. With Denny Reyes in the last year of his contract, the Twins may be thinking "Eddie" this off-season. Although they do have Craig Breslow and Brian Duensing may be an option for long-relief. At least it's an option for the bullpen-needy Twins

Speaking of Duensing, he is blogging about his experience for pitching for Team USA in the Olympics. Check it out!

Game Ball (8/5)
Jason Kubel - Designated Hitter

4-5, 3 runs, double, 2 HR, 3 RBI

Game Ball (8/6)
Denard Span - Right Field

Line: 3-5, triple, 4 RBI, SB