PLOUFFE!

A handful of observations from a deeply satisfying 9-2 Twins victory over the Boston Red Sox, their first win at Fenway since 2007, which I am being told is four years ago:

  • Trevor Plouffe is your new bicycle. Plouffe had a very solid game, opening the scoring with a first-inning solo dong over the Green Monster, three runs scored and zero fielding plays that made me want to gouge my eyes out. Perhaps more importantly, if the reaction from my wife ("Oooooh, who's that?") and the distaff members of my Twitter feed (roughly the same) is any indication, Danny Valencia has competition in the "Hide Your Daughters" race.
  • Despite the no-hitter on Tuesday night, the Twins best starting pitcher in 2011 is still Scott Baker. Another very sturdy effort from Butters: 8 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. He is earning his paycheck.
  • Joe West is an asshole. If I'm Terry Francona, I'd be giving myself for not going "full Marthaler" on him. Francona was tossed for arguing a Tim Wakefield balk with Angel Hernandez. It was definitely a balk, and the Red Sox manager deserved to get tossed. However, West's "intervention" amounted to clutching and grabbing Francona. Bush league.
  • Did I mention that that was the first of two run-scoring balks? Elias Sports Bureau had better have the date of the last time that happened when I wake up tomorrow.
  • In the same second inning that saw the balk and the hullabaloo, the Twins loaded the bases with none out. An ideal situation, unless your next two hitters are Drew Butera and Alexi Casilla. Needless to say, they both recorded outs, but neither of them were double plays! This led to Denard Span's sharp grounder that somehow escaped Adrian Gonzalez, scoring two runs. Apres that, le deluge. The Twins have not had that kind of fortune this year. They need more of it until they get healthy.
  • Hey, Ben Revere! (1-for-5, scored one of the two balk runs)
  • Hey, Joe Nathan! (Pitched the 9th, looked a tick rusty initially, but settled down and ended the game peacefully.)
  • Don't fear the knuckler. The Twins lineup, which has batted around in a game all of once this year, had Tim Wakefield figured from the get. After the Sox had narrowed the lead to 4-2, the Twins chased Wakefield in the 5th, with a bases-loaded double from Valencia being the killshot. Drew Butera (what?) followed that up with a Jed Lowrie error (oh, that makes much more sense) that extended the lead to 8-2.
  • To recap: the Twins got excellent starting pitching, took an early lead, and capitalized on their opponent's mistakes. This is how you build winning streaks and dig out of the immense hole you've dug for yourself
  • Studs: Plouffe, Baker, Valencia.
  • Duds: Casilla went 0-for-4 again.
  • The roster move: Slowey is up, Dusty Hughes is down.
Enjoy your weekend, everybody.
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