After last night's emotional, feel-good finish in extra innings, the Twins have to feel a lot better than they did going into the game. Justin Morneau's monster night (10 total bases, including the game-deciding home run) carried the team, but a couple of fresh bats at the bottom of the order continue to chip away. Nick Punto had his third consecutive multi-hit game, going 3-for-4 with a walk. He's now hitting .320/.378/.460. In fact, since his return to action on June 27th, he's only failed to reach base in one game. Then there's Denard Span, who won't be going anywhere upon Michael Cuddyer's return. Span, 4-for-4 with a triple in Thursday's win, has reached base in every game since his return to the Twins on June 30th. In that span, Span (pun intended) is 14-for-28 with a trio of doubles, a pair of triples, nine walks and only four strikeouts. I'll do the math for you: Span's belting a .500/.621/.750 line since his recall. Both Punto and Span have played well on the defensive side of the field as well; Punto's reliability at shortstop and Span's range in right field have been assets for a defense that's had it's bumps and bruises over the year.
Glen Perkins hasn't allowed more than three runs in a start since June 4th, including his last outing where he lasted seven innings against the Indians in Minneapolis. While he usually gets hit hard and is good for allowing one bomb per contest, he's been pretty good at not allowing the knock-out blows: three or four-run jacks have been avoided. Perkins is a fly-ball pitcher, so he's going to allow some balls in the air. But if he can continue to keep opponents from putting up crooked numbers he'll be okay. Detoit's seen him twice this season already, and he's pitched well on both occasions, totalling 14 innings, 14 hits, 3 runs, 2 homers, 3 walks and 11 strikeouts.
Amarmando Galarraga has seen the Twins in 2008 as well. Minnesota's seen Galarraga three times--twice in May and once at the end of June. Mostly he's been kicked around a bit, combining for 18 innings (exactly six in each appearance), 13 runs, 22 hits, one homer, 8 walks and 10 strikeouts. Hopefully the familiarity will continue to pay off tonight.
Projected Lineup: Gomez, Casilla, Mauer, Morneau, Kubel, Young, Buscher, Punto, Span
07/11/08 7:05 PM EDT
|Minnesota Twins||Detroit Tigers|
|Carlos Gomez - CF||Curtis Granderson - CF|
|Alexi Casilla - 2B||Placido Polanco - 2B|
|Joe Mauer - C||Carlos Guillen - 3B|
|Justin Morneau - 1B||Miguel Cabrera - 1B|
|Jason Kubel - DH||Marcus Thames - LF|
|Delmon Young - LF||Gary Sheffield - DH|
|Brian Buscher - 3B||Matt Joyce - RF|
|Nick Punto - SS||Ivan Rodriguez - C|
|Denard Span - RF||Ramon Santiago - SS|
|2008 - Armando Galarraga||7-2||15||14||0||0||0||0||88.0||69||40||32||10||33||57||3.27||1.16|
|2008 - Glen Perkins||5-2||12||12||0||0||0||0||71.2||89||36||34||11||17||41||4.27||1.48|