After what can only be described as "one helluva game" on Thursday night, game two of the weekend series promises just as much excitement. On the hill for the vaunted Angels will be Joe Saunders. Mike Scioscia and company will be watching the left-hander very closely, making sure that there are no ill effects from his collision with Howie Kendrick this past Sunday. Saunders' last bad start was on June 9, and since then is 5-2 in 11 starts, with a 2.66 ERA in 71 innings. His success this season has been due in large part to simply having better "stuff". All of his pitches are coming in at a slightly higher velocity than last season as well, and also in part to simply having another year's experience the 27-year old has reduced how many line drives he gives up by 33%. Part of this can be attributed to what kind of hitters he's been facing, but he also deserves part of the credit. Batters aren't squaring up against him as well as they have in the past, and that's a very good sign. For the Twins to have success, they'll need to be patient (he's not always the most efficient worker) and still find a way to jump on the best pitch they see. It won't be an easy task.
Charged with the job of matching Saunders will be Glen Perkins. His last time out he managed quite well through the first few innings, and then seemed to either relax, change tactics...or maybe he was just figured out. No matter what happened, it's been hard for Perk to earn a good start over the last month or so. Hitters see his stuff pretty well, hitting him to the tune of .294/.337/.464. I'm not sure if he needs to find a way to start disguising his pitches, to start making more mid-game adjustments, or whether it's just an issue of staying on the third base side of the rubber and not forcing the issue as often, but it looks like he needs a little something extra at this point in time.
For the Angels against a southpaw I'll predict: Figgins (3B), Aybar (SS), Teixeira (1B), Guerrero (RF), Hunter (CF), Anderson (DH), Kendrick (2B), Rivera (LF), Mathis (C)
And for the Twins I'm all about: Span (RF), Casilla (2B), Mauer (C), Morneau (1B), Young (LF), Ruiz (DH), Harris (3B), Punto (SS), Gomez (CF)
|2008 - Joe Saunders||14-5||24||24||1||0||4.41||.254||157.2||142||62||55||17||46||78||3.14||1.19|
|2008 - Glen Perkins||10-3||19||19||0||0||4.45||.308||116.2||137||56||54||16||29||57||4.17||1.42|