A split with the A's leads to a 5-6 road trip...so far.
For all the runs we scored in this four game series (28) you'd think we'd have swept the A's (they scored 12), when in reality we just decided to hoard the runs between two games and then just let down our pitching in the other two. But instead of bitching and moaning about the same old thing you're going to read most places outside the Twins blogosphere, and instead of hashing over the same things you'll hear on sports-talk radio Monday morning, tonight I want to try very hard to be positive.
Justin Morneau - Our lumberjack of a Canadian had a big series, particularly in games two and four, but overall was 7-for-17 with three doubles, a homer, seven RBI and two runs scored. Also he didn't strikeout; on the season Justin has struck out just 71 times in 603 plate appearances. Each season in the majors he's steady decreased his strikeout rate, from 19.3% in 2004 to 13.8% this year. More importantly he's walked 67 times this summer, raising his career-high walk rate to 11.5%. The power is down (although his ISO is still above .200), but when you're a complete of a hitter as Justin is it's tough to complain.
Jason Kubel - He's back in the saddle again (just like Bon Jovi!), and after this afternoon's game will finish August hitting .326/.379/.523 on the month. He picked up three walks and five hits in the series, including a pair of nice doubles. Increasing production hasn't affected his walk or strikeout rates, as they're both pretty consistent with what we saw in '07, meaning that with another four weeks to play we'll likely see Kubel setting career marks in hits, walks, homers (already a career-high 17), plate appearances and games.
Denard Span - It wasn't the flashiest series we've seen from him this year, but he did his job and reached base at least once in every game. His total line was 4-for-16 with three walks, four runs scored, a home run, a stolen base, and some pretty solid defense. I don't care if my leadoff hitter only manages to hit .250, as long as he's getting on base at a .368 clip. I've got a fever...and the only prescription is more Denard Span!
Starting Pitching - Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey, Francisco Liriano and Scott Baker put together four good outings. They totalled 25.1 innings together, with 22 strikeouts, four walks, 23 hits (two homers) and just six runs. That's right, the Twins starters posted a 2.13 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP. Sure we only managed a pair of wins out of those performances, but better that we can complain about that than saying our starters weren't getting it done. At least this way, when the offense learns to spread out the runs instead of making out like a squirrel who can't remember where he buried his nuts, we'll be in good shape.
Destination: October - In spite of going 3-4 against two inferior teams in the Mariners and the Athletics, the Twins are still just 0.5 games out of first place in the American League Central Division, and a mere 2.5 back of the Boston Red Sox in the Wild Card race. Sure, we're not playing like contenders at the moment, but it's far too early to start calling the races.
Here's the roll call for the A's series, followed by the Stars of the Game...something I've missed the last few days. Fist bumps and high fives to 33MorneauMVP, who even after missing this afternoon's contest managed to walk away from this cage match with his opponents heads on spikes. Gross, dude.
|Name||# of Posts|
|Alexi Casilla All-Star||51|
|Eric in Madison||5|
Stars of the Game
#3 Alexi Casilla (3-for-4, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R)
#2 Justin Morneau (2-for-5, HR, 4 RBI, R)
#1 Scott Baker (6 IP, 6 H, 4 K, 1 BB, 1 R)