While it’s true the Twins lost the Yankees series, winning the last game and having Jason Kubel possibly start a breakout by hitting a grand slam off one of the best relievers ever means that it was a successful series in my book.
Now the Twins travel to Toronto to take on the Blue Jays. Vernon Wells has been one of the best hitters in the majors so far with his .411 wOBA, though with a walk rate of just roughly 8%, you have to wonder how much longer he can keep it up. He’s also striking out at the highest rate of his career. Overall, the Jays hitting is basically a mirage: they have taken the 6th least walks in the AL, and struck out the most: 331 times, which is 40 more than Tampa, the 2nd place team.
Today: Kevin Slowey v. Dana Eveland
Eveland is pretty close to a replacement level starter. That isn’t to say that he can’t come up with a good game now and then (especially if Mauer, Span and Morneau were worse vs. lefties) but he is what he is: a soft-tossing lefty who needs to be spot on with his location. He doesn’t get guys to chase out of the zone, nor does he get batters to swing very often period. However, when batters do swing, they tend to make contact. And when it is in the zone, they really make contact: 95% of the time compared to an MLB average of roughly 88%. The Twins have been a patient bunch this year and if they stick with it tonight they can get Eveland out of the game early and put up some runs in the process.
Tomorrow: Carl Pavano v. Shaun Marcum
I’ve always been a big Marcum fan. He’s striking out almost 7 batters per 9 and walking less than 2 per 9. Marcum’s .241 BABIP is a bit low, but not terribly lower than his career number. Personally I think his 3.51 FIP is totally legit. With a 3.77 tRA, Marcum is poised to have the best season of his career. Between Marcum, Ricky Romero and possibly Brett Cecil, Toronto has a rotation that could be together for awhile.