Red Sox 9, Twins 5: Pavano Loses Early Lead, Kubel Can't Win Them By Himself

It started out so well. The top of the order did their job, with both Denard Span and Trevor Plouffe getting on base. Jason Kubel, naturally, drove in the first run. Justin Morneau remained useless, as was Michael Cuddyer today, but Danny Valencia cashed in the base runners with a two-run single up the middle. And after Carl Pavano sent the Red Sox down 1-2-3, it's safe to say I was feeling good about today.

I was wrong.

Pavano allowed a leadoff double to Kevin Youkilis in the second, but picked up three consecutive outs to get out of the inning with a two-run lead. It was the third inning where things came undone. Minnesota could have escaped the inning with a tie, but a blown double play screwed that up.

Youkilis's's's('?) grounder pulled Trevor Plouffe to his left. Alexi Casilla, who had been playing a deep second base, broke for second, made the out, and turned for an awkward throw to first. The ball skipped past Morneau, Boston took the lead, and that was the end of it.

Personally I think Plouffe had a better opportunity to make that play, not just because the relay had to wait until Casilla got to the bag and made the throw, but because Plouffe was already moving that direction. He had a better angle for the throw. I'm not sure his throw would have beat Youkilis anyway, but at least the throw would have had a chance.

The biggest issue today was that Pavano was just extremely hittable. It seemed like everything was hit hard, and his double-digit hit totals reflect that. His biggest issues were that A) his off-speed pitches weren't being thrown for strikes, and B) he wasn't getting any swings out of the strike zone. The latter point is one that served him extraordinarily well last season, and today it just wasn't happening.

I'm moving on. Studs, duds and games notes after the jump.

Studs
Denard Span (1-for-3, BB, SB)
Trevor Plouffe (1-for-3, 2B, BB)
Jason Kubel (3-for-4, 2 RBI)
Danny Valencia (2-for-4, HR, 3 RBI)
Joe Nathan (1 IP, 2 K)

Duds
Every other offensive player not mentioned, especially Justin Morneau (0-for-4, 3 K)
Jose Mijares (IP, 2 H, 2 R)

  • Jose Mijares allowed two runs, but again they were unearned so his ERA actually went down tonight. How long until the Twins have seen enough of him? His line so far this year: 9.1 IP, 8 H, 7 K, 7 BB, 2 HB, 7 R.
  • The Red Sox were 10-for-24 (.417) on balls-in-play off Pavano today. That includes lefties going 7-for-15 on his fastball. Yikes.
  • 11 Twins saw the field today for Minnesota. Five of them finished the day batting under .200.
  • Cuddyer gunned down Ellsbury trying to stretch a single into a double. Ellsbury is fast, and after the ball got past a diving Casilla I'm not sure I blame him for trying to take two, but Cuddyer made a great throw that was perfect for Plouffe's tag.
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