Fantastic news today for Glen and Alisha Perkins, who are the proud parents of a bouncing baby girl! Congratulations to the family from Twinkie Town, and here's hoping for some solid family time while the team is home for a few days.
Nick Blackburn was to move up a day and pitch the opener versus the Yankees tonight, but will remain the starter for Tuesday night's game--because Perkins is taking the hill. Thanks to a healthy birthing process, and because the Twins are in Minneapolis, he's available to make his start and keep the rotation on schedule. No doubt there will be some nerves, and you could hardly blame Glen if baseball isn't the only thing running through his mind tonight, but he's facing a potent New York lineup and will need to maintain some level of focus. If he isn't careful, his stretch of poor performances will continue: in his last three starts he's pitched 18.1 innings, but has allowed 27 hits and 14 runs, and that's just not good enough. He's been hit harder this season than Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey or Blackburn, so you could say his "hittability" is catching up with him. All the same, the Twins need a solid start from Perk, if only to give the bullpen a rest, and I'm sure he'd like nothing more than to finish the night by dedicating a strong performance to his new baby girl.
Lumbering to the mound for the Yankees is Twin-Killer Sidney Ponson. Sir Sid is 2-0 in three starts against the Twins this season, which includes a complete game back on May 21. Strangely enough, the Twins aren't the only team Ponson's beaten this year, as he's posting a miraculous 7-2 record on the season, with an equally surprising 4.73 ERA. Of course the peripherals don't back up those superficial stats, but that just makes it all the more maddening. He's had two good starts in a row, which you could interpret as meaning he's due to implode under his own weight...so to speak. He's still getting lots of ground balls (53.9%), and because he isn't allowing many fly balls, the fact that his HR/FB ratio is so low (8.8%) is even more impressive, so there are two reasons for his relative success. But his WHIP is still pretty high, his strikeout rate is ridiculously low, and opponents are hitting .302 against him on the season. Plus, when you face a pitcher with Sid's skill set four times in a year, you should pretty well know what he has to offer. Here's hoping the Twins can finally put the stomp on Ponson we've been waiting to see all season.
Versus a left-handed pitcher, I predict the Yankee lineup will be something like this: Damon (LF), Jeter (SS), Abreu (RF), Rodriguez (3B), Nady (DH), Cano (2B), Sexon (1B), Christian (CF), Molina (C)
For the Twins versus Sir Sid: Span (RF), Punto (2B), Mauer (C), Morneau (1B), Kubel (DH), Young (LF), Buscher (3B), Harris (SS), Gomez (CF)
08/11/08 8:10 PM EDT
|New York Yankees||Minnesota Twins|
|Justin Christian - LF||Denard Span - RF|
|Derek Jeter - SS||Nick Punto - 2B|
|Bobby Abreu - RF||Joe Mauer - C|
|Alex Rodriguez - 3B||Justin Morneau - 1B|
|Xavier Nady - DH||Jason Kubel - DH|
|Robinson Cano - 2B||Delmon Young - LF|
|Richie Sexson - 1B||Brian Buscher - 3B|
|Ivan Rodriguez - C||Adam Everett - SS|
|Melky Cabrera - CF||Carlos Gomez - CF|
|2008 - Glen Perkins||8-3||17||17||0||0||0||0||102.2||125||52||50||13||26||52||4.38||1.47|
|2008 - Sidney Ponson||3-1||7||7||0||0||0||0||40.0||46||21||21||5||17||17||4.72||1.58|