The Twins swept the 3 game series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Minnesota is now 7-7 and in 4th place in the division.
Matchup: Dustin Moseley vs. Nick Blackburn
Blackburn pitched admirably for 6.1 innings giving up 8 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks and struck out 3. The bullpen was dreadful again giving up 4 hits, 5 runs, 3 walks while striking out 3 in 2.2 innings of work. Fortunately the offense showed up hitting .371 with 6 extra base hits and 5 walks. The Twins rallied from a 9-4 deficit with a magical 8th inning which saw them score 7 runs. The inning and comeback were capped by a Jason Kubel grand slam. Kubel’s HR also topped off his own magical night as he became the 9th player in Twins history to hit for the cycle. Nathan pitched a clean top of the ninth to seal the improbable 11-9 victory.
Matchup: Darren Oliver vs. Kevin Slowey
Saturday’s 9-2 win marked only the 3rd time all season that the Twins had a relatively easy victory. Kevin Slowey went 7.0 IP giving up 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB and 1 HR while striking out 5. In his 3rd start of the season, we finally saw the Slowey that was so dominant during spring training. Craig Breslow and newly acquired Juan Morillo finished the game with two scoreless innings. The offense was again keyed by Jason Kubel who had 4 hits for the 2nd straight night. As a team the Twins hit .333 for the game with 2 doubles and 6 walks. Harris, Morneau and Young also pitched in with multi-hit efforts in the easy win.
Matchup: Shane Loux vs. Glen Perkins
It wasn’t quite as easy, but the Twins took the series finale 3-1 behind the brilliant pitching of Glen Perkins. It only took Perkins 84 pitches to get through 8 innings while allowing only 4 hits, 1 run, 1 walk and striking out 4. Nathan pitched the 9th to get his 3rd save of the season. The offense got the job done behind the multi-hit games of Carlos Gomez and Jose Morales. The Twins hit .313 for the game.
The starting rotation threw 21.1 innings with a 2.95 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 12 SO.
In 5.2 innings of work the bullpen posted a 7.94 ERA, 1.76 WHIP and 6 SO.
For the series the Twins hit .340 (35/103) while drawing 12 walks and striking out 14 times. They left 21 men on base while scoring 23 runs. In the series they hit 6 2B, 1 3B, and 2 HR. They also hit .400 (12/30) with runners in scoring position.
In Mauer’s absence, Morales and Redmond combined to hit .400 (4/10) with no extra base hits, 2 runs, 2 RBI and 1 walk.
The Twins improved in every facet of the game over their last series and were rewarded with their 1st series sweep of the season. Some additional good news was announced today. If all goes well with his rehab assignment, Joe Mauer’s will return to the team on May 1st. It will be interesting to see what roster move they make when Mauer returns. Before the season started, the logical assumption was that Mauer would take Jose Morales’ spot on the roster. However Morales has outplayed Redmond thus far and deserves to remain with the ML team. It seems unlikely that they would carry three catchers so unless someone else gets hurt one of them is probably on the way out and it could be Redmond.
The Twins have an off day tomorrow before they start a two games series against the Red Sox in Boston. On the season the Red Sox are 6-6. They have scored 55 runs and allowed 58. Keep an eye on the playing time and performances of Carlos Gomez and Delmon Young. Both are starting to show signs of life at the plate which may result in a reduced role for Michael Cuddyer. The bullpen was marginally better against the Angels but still needs to show significant improvement if the team is going to contend this year.
4/21 Tim Wakefield (1-1, 3.00) vs. Scott Baker (0-1, 13.50)
4/22 Brad Penny (1-0, 11.00) vs. Francisco Liriano (0-3, 5.09)