Know Thy Enemy: The Crawfish Boxes
Tonight the Twins continue their trip through the NL Central as the last place Houston Astros come to town. Interleague play has been good to the Twins this year as they've won 7 of their 9 contests against baseball's senior circuit. The Twins have been one of the biggest winners in interleague play in all of baseball over the years, and whether that's because it's just the time the team makes its adjustments or just good execution against what could be inferior NL competition some years, it's good to see the Twins taking advantage again.
This game will also be yet another chance for the Twins to claw their way over the .500 mark. Tonight's game will be the team's 5th game in June played with the team sitting at .500, but the Twins have lost all the previous 4 and haven't yet cracked the mark.
|2009 - Kevin Slowey||9-2||13||13||0||0||0||0||78.2||99||38||37||12||10||61||4.23||1.39|
Slowey hasn't been the dominant ace his W-L record suggests, but he has been a consistant starter for the Minnesota Twins this year. Since giving up 10 runs in his first two starts, Kevin has been remarkably consistant, allowing more than 3 runs only twice and throwing 8 quality starts in 11 tries. The Twins model of extremely stingy control, and racking up just over 6 strikeouts per nine innings, Slowey has been very solid for a 25 year old pitcher without exceptional stuff. The Astros shouldn't prove a daunting tasks for Slowey, as they rank 13 out of 16 in the NL in runs scored. Expect Slowey to keep the Twins in it for 6 or 7 innings tonight.
|2009 - Roy Oswalt||3-3||14||14||0||0||0||0||82.1||88||40||40||13||22||63||4.37||1.34|
Oswalt hasn't been the big-time ace yet this year like he's been in years past, but he's still been pretty solid. Most of his rate stats like K/9, BB/9 and GB% have declined slightly this season, but not enough to call it a huge cliff. ON the wrong side of 30, Oswalt may have seen the end of his best years, but he's still a solid pitcher for the Twins to contend with. Some good news for the Twins, lefties are slugging .470 off Oswalt this season, so Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Jason Kubel will have a chance to feast tonight if they can get their pitch.
Houston Astros @ Minnesota Twins
06/19/09 8:10 PM EDT
|Houston Astros||Minnesota Twins|
|Michael Bourn - CF||Brendan Harris - SS|
|Jeff Keppinger - 3B||Joe Mauer - C|
|Miguel Tejada - SS||Justin Morneau - 1B|
|Carlos Lee - DH||Jason Kubel - DH|
|Lance Berkman - 1B||Michael Cuddyer - RF|
|Hunter Pence - RF||Joe Crede - 3B|
|Ivan Rodriguez - C||Delmon Young - LF|
|Kazuo Matsui - 2B||Carlos Gomez - CF|
|Darin Erstad - LF||Nick Punto - 2B|
For the Astros, wow, that's not an impressive lineup, but the Astros haven't fielded a solid lineup for several years. Oh, and hey, did you know Darin Erstad was a punter in college?! It's true...
Taking a quick glance at the Twins side, I'm glad Gardenhrie finally stopped hitting Crede on top of Cuddyer. Crede has some pop, but so does Cuddyer and he is a much better overall hitter, who is having a decent season. Gardenhire also hasn't seemed to settle in on exactly how he likes his middle order bats to be set up, though today I'd imagine we're seeing Mauer-Morneau-Kubel hitting in a row because it's a righty starter anyway. As much as this lineup could use Denard Span back to set the table for the big boppers, the heart of this order should be able to put up at least a few against Oswalt, and with a stead Slowey on the hill, that should give the Twins a good chance to break the streak and finally get over the .500 mark.