April 9, 2009

Twins win with Power

The Twins won their second game in a row last night against the Mariners. Ironically, the Twins had to come from behind both times to win 6-5. Only, last night's game was not quite as dramatic as the game played on Tuesday.

Twins Pitching

Twins starter Kevin Slowey was shaky early on, giving up five runs in the first four innings. But the 24-year-old right-hander settled down and retired the last seven batters he faced. He showed his usual control, despite giving up two home runs. In the second inning, he tried to sneak a change-up in to Russell Branyan over the outer half of the plate, but it hung and Branyan crushed it into the stands. Then in the fourth inning, he left a slider right in the sweat spot for Jose Lopez who put it in the home run porch seats in left field.

Slowey threw 72% of his pitches for strikes but at times looked brilliant and others looked really rusty. Obviously, we can't put too much emphasis into one start, but overall I wasn't disappointed in his start but I wasn't impressed either.

Craig Breslow and Jesse Crain both pitched an inning of relief apiece, combining to give up one hit and a walk while striking out two in two innings of shutout ball.

They bridged the gap to closer Joe Nathan who picked up his first save of the season and 200th save of his Twins career (201st save of his total career). 12 of his 13 pitches were fastballs, but it got the job done. The 200 saves puts him behind only Rick Aguilera's 254 saves as the All-Time Twins leader in saves.

Twins Hitting

The Twins looked great at the plate early in the contest, collecting eight hits off of Mariner's starter Carlos Silva in the first 5 innings. Silva, who was known for his outstanding command of the strikezone with the Twins, did not showcase that last night with the Mariners, despite losing 35 lbs. in the off-season. Denard Span and Justin Morneau both went deep for the Twins and both were hit in very similar circumstances. Both came when there were two outs, both had a runner on base, and both hit change-ups over the baggy in right field.

Morneau wasn't done there. Already giving the Twins a strong 2-0 lead in the first, he tied the game in the fifth inning with a two-out RBI double. He then came around to score when Jason Kubel hit an RBI double into right field. Kubel was one of three Twins hitters to collect two hits in the game (Morneau and Alexi Casilla being the others).

Span also walked in the game, which gives him three on the season. He also is the team leader in RBI, driving in four runs in the first three games.

Michael Cuddyer was back in right field after DHing on Tuesday night. Delmon Young was on the bench after going hitless on Tuesday.

The Twins play at noon today against left-hander Jarrod Washburn. Since Ron Gardenhire has claimed that it is not a left-right thing (in regards to who plays/sits in the outfield/DH), it will be interesting to see who gets the start against Washburn.

Statistically speaking, Kubel has the worst stats out of any outfielder in his career vs. Washburn:
  • Carlos Gomez - 0-2
  • Denard Span - 1-3, 3B, 3 RBI
  • Michael Cuddyer - 2-11, 2 RBI
  • Delmon Young - 2-7
  • Jason Kubel - 0-6
Decisions, decision...

Game Ball

April 8, 2009 vs. Seattle Mariners
Justin Morneau - First Base
Line: 2-3, 2 runs, home run, 3 RBI, walk