The Twins won two of the three games in their series against the Cleveland Indians. Minnesota is now 9-10 and remains in 4th place in the division.
Matchup: Fausto Carmona vs. Nick Blackburn
The Twins needed an excellent start after Wednesday’s doubleheader debacle against the Red Sox. Nick Blackburn was up to the task on Friday going 7.0 innings allowing 6 hits, 0 walks and only 1 earned run. Justin Morneau hit his 4th home run of the season while Span and Morales chipped in with multi-hit games.
Matchup: Carl Pavano vs. Kevin Slowey
Slowey bettered Blackburn’s start from the previous night by pitching 8.0 innings of 1 run baseball. He allowed only 8 hits and no walks while striking out 7. As good as Slowey was pitching, Saturday was the night of the bats. The Twins hit .366 for the game, pounded out 15 hits, and slugged 3 home runs. Delmon Young, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel, Joe Crede, and Michael Cuddyer all had multi-hit games.
Matchup: Aaron Laffey vs. Glen Perkins
Perkins had his worst outing of the season giving up 4 runs, 7 hits, and 2 walks in 5.0 innings pitched. The Twins lost 4-2 but had their chances, including a bases-loaded situation with only one out in the 7th. Tony Sipp came in and struck out both Morneau and Kubel to end the inning and the threat. The only Twin to have a multi-hit game was Jose Morales who went a perfect 4-4. Morales is now hitting .375/.412/.469 in 32 at bats this season and is making a strong case to keep a roster spot when Mauer comes off the DL this week.
The starting rotation threw 20.0 innings with a 2.70 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, and 15 SO.
In 6.0 innings of work the bullpen posted a dazzling 0.00 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 6 SO.
For the series, the Twins hit .294 (32/109) while drawing 10 walks and striking out 21 times. They left 25 men on base while scoring 14 runs. In the series they hit 4 2B, 0 3B, and 4 HR. They hit .294 (10/34) with runners in scoring position.
They were toasted by the Red Sox, but set everything right against an inferior team in the Indians. The rotation, bullpen, and offense all bounced back from the disaster in Boston. The pitching staff was collectively brilliant allowing only 6 earned runs in their 26 innings of work. Offensively they are still striking out way too frequently, especially in key situations.
I don’t know how long we have to be subjected to Cuddyer playing every day, but it is getting out of hand. Delmon Young, and to a lesser extent Carlos Gomez, have started hitting the ball, while Cuddyer is now hitting .214/.263/.314. Cuddyer having the 2nd highest AB total on the season, trailing only Morneau, is borderline criminal. Gomez needs to play because of his defense regardless of how he hits, while Delmon is outplaying Cuddyer and is 7 years younger. Span is playing every day with excellent defense and offense from the leadoff spot.
Tampa Bay comes to the Twin Cities with a 7-12 record. On the season, they have scored 84 runs and allowed 90. By comparison, the Twins have 80 RS and 103 RA. The Rays are better than the Indians but not quite as good as the Red Sox so this will be a excellent test for the Twins.
4/27 Jeff Niemann (1-2, 5.40) vs. Scott Baker (0-2, 12.46)
4/28 James Shields (2-2, 3.67) vs. Francisco Liriano (0-4, 7.06)
4/29 Scott Kazmir (3-1, 3.97) vs. Nick Blackburn (1-1, 4.44)