Know Thine Enemy: South Side Sox
|2010 - Nick Blackburn||7-7||17||17||1||0||0||0||97.0||134||73||69||19||27||34||6.40||1.66|
This is a big game for the Twins. But in the grand scheme of his career, this one might be bigger for Blackburn. If he goes short and allows a ton of runs again, the front office and the manager won't be able to close their ears to the deafening roar of the masses begging for a replacement. If Brian Duensing is sent to Rochester after this game, that's pretty much it.
On the other hand, if Blackburn has a good start today (and we all know he's due), we can hope that a little break has helped him restore his confidence. We know he's not an ace. But we also know he's not a guy who deserves a 6.40 ERA, either. If he can find a way for his offspeed stuff to work today, that's the key. Throw the changeup low and inside for strikes, toss in a couple of breaking balls and then he's in business.
Time to rock, Blackburn.
|2010 - Freddy Garcia||9-3||16||16||0||0||0||0||97.0||100||49||47||13||29||60||4.36||1.33|
2007 and 2008 were lost for Garcia. He came back a bit last year, but there was no velocity and it had to have been a mild concern for the Sox. But now, as a 34-year old, he's having his best season in four years. It's almost like the guy who won 106 games between 1999 and 2006.
His success starts and ends with his changeup. There's only an average of 6.9 mph difference between it and the fastball, but he can put it anywhere. The fastball, however, not so much.
What makes Garcia so frustrating is that he won't let you go. If he gets behind, he'll come after you. And when he doesn't get behind, he wants to finish you off as quickly as possible. Garcia pitches to contact. If the Twins can wait back on his stuff, they'll have their opportunities.
Lineups after the jump...