What can I even say about Nick Blackburn that hasn't been said a hundred times before? He's not a very good pitcher, and today was another exhibition of why that statement continues to be made. 4.1 innings pitched, 8 runs given up, including two home runs. He gave up 2 runs in 4 straight innings. That's just bad baseball, really. Thankfully, the bullpen was able to step in and not allow any more runs to be scored, but at that point in the game, the damage was done. The Twins, once again, were Black-burned. (See what I did there?)
While the starting pitching wasn't stellar today, the bullpen definitely was. Casey Fien, Jared Burton, and Glen Perkins combined for a scoreless 3.2 innings, only giving up two hits and striking out 5 (Blackburn did strike out one Chicago batter). Perkins looked especially good, striking out two of the three batters he faced. Both Burton and Fien only faced one batter over the minimum while they pitched as well, solidifying the mysterious ways baseball works, as the Twins bullpen was often dubbed DisasterPen last year. At least one thing is clicking this year.
Full recap, notes, and studs & duds after the jump.
The offense was nothing great today either, unfortunately. Only Denard Span got more than one hit, and 5 Twins had no hits. Josh Willingham and Justin Morneau were able to get the Twins' two runs across the plate, with Willingham's double play ball scoring one run in the first inning, and Justin Morneau's double in the fourth inning scoring Joe Mauer. Other than that...yikes. The Twins were able to draw five walks from Chicago pitchers today (Denard Span, Joe Mauer, Josh Willingham, Brian Dozier, and Darin Mastroianni), so that's a positive. Not being able to capitalize on all of their opportunities, however, is a huge negative. The team was 2-for-12 with RISP in today's game--very not good. Peavy pitched well enough to keep the struggling lineup from scoring, and often, that's all you can ask for out of your starting pitcher. I will take this opportunity to mention that Jesse Crain didn't even pitch a whole inning and walked three batters, so there is that.
I'm not really sure what baseball gods I angered to continually have to write recaps of games Blackburn pitched, but I sincerely hope it stops soon (and no, I'm not hoping for an injury...think more along the lines of Blackburn-to-AAA or Blackburn-traded-to-dumb-team stuff...).
-The Twins were outscored 26-10 in this Chicago series.
-The Twins were (kind of pathetically) 3-for-31 with RISP in this series.
-This is an actual Gardy quote from today: "they whacked it and they pounded us...we got dominated here." Kinky.
-Get this: Blackburn is 1-2 with a 9.67 ERA against the AL Central division this year. That's...awful.
-The bullpen. Dominant.
-Uh...we'll stop with one stud for today.
-Everyone else. Seriously.
Tomorrow, the Twins have an off day, as they travel back home to Target Field. Friday, they'll be taking on the Cleveland Indians at 7:10 pm CST.