Posted at 12:46 PM on May 12, 2008
by Chris Dall
Last night's nail-biting win over the Red Sox should be encouraging to Twins fans. Even if they lose tonight's game, they've shown they can be competitive with the elite teams of the American League. A competent performance by Nick Blackburn, who worked his way out of a few jams, and some rare, unexpected power were the main highlights of a really entertaining game.
Craig Monroe's 2 home-run night has me thinking he should be getting a few more at-bats, especially when you look at Jason Kubel's performance as of late. The former 2004 Minor League Player of the Year is now batting .222/.238/.359, which means he's not getting on base and he's not slugging. And remarkably, he has fewer walks than the ever-patient Carlos Gomez. I'm just not sure what's going on with this guy.
The DH situation, and the team's offensive woes, makes me think that this may be a year where Gardy will have to go with whoever is hot. When Kubel is cold, play Monroe. When Lamb is not hitting, try Tolbert or Punto (once his hamstring heals) at third. Ditto shortstop and second base. This Twins team simply doesn't have enough players with established track records to allow guys to play their way through slumps. Which, of course, also means that maybe Delmon Young should see more time on the bench if he doesn't start to get it going.
In other words, this team is a long way from being the Red Sox. As I watched last night's near comeback, I couldn't help but think how much this Red Sox team is starting to look like the Yankees teams of the late '90s and early part of this decade, especially offensively. It's not just that they can pound the ball. Like those Yankees teams, it's their patience at the plate that just wears teams down. They work the count and they foul off tons of pitches until they get the pitch they want. That's why it was hard to feel comfortable last night, even when the Twins had a 7-1 lead.
But given that they don't have the offensive talent of the Red Sox, and help doesn't appear to be on the way, what's you're suggestion for the Twins offense?
Posted at 10:40 AM on May 12, 2008
by Than Tibbetts
The Twins will try to take three of four from the Red Sox tonight, which would give the Twins their first back-to-back wins since Chicago ended a five-game winning streak. While they've managed to maintain their spot atop the Central Division, the Twins lost more players to injury.
Gleeman dissects what Pat Neshek's arm injury means for the Twins. While Neshek's numbers so far this season suggested he had lost some of his brilliance, it will be a tough transition to settle on someone who can gobble up 50+ innings in critical, late-inning situations as consistently as Neshek has.
Meanwhile, over at MNTwinsTalk.com, Drew says the Twins have found their DH in Craig Monroe. A two-dinger day makes for a nice day at the plate, but without the pink bat, Monroe has as many home runs as he now does without the pretty lumber. With Jason Kubel hitting a paltry .222, it's hard to see who else might fit in those shoes, but being that the Twins are the team that penciled "Jason Tyner" next to "DH" on the lineup card. By the way, how's that Free Jason Kubel movement coming?
Despite making great strides in Minnesota's quest to make the Santana deal look better, Carlos Gomez's cringe-inducing misplay of J.D. Drew's double still reinforces the fact that there will be many "learning opportunities" ahead.
To be fair, the Metrodome roof is a fly ball's best friend and with the Twins winning the game it will be overlooked, but the fact that Gomez didn't even get leather on the ball with his cross-footed, and clumsy stab shows how poorly he played it. It's not the first time he's taken bad lines, and hopefully we'll see him steadily improve as the season progresses. (I'm also fairly certain I heard someone -- Joe Mauer, perhaps? -- yell "BACK!" as soon as the ball left the bat.)
And, if you're in the mood for a Monday morning chuckle, Howard Sinker stumbled upon the diaries of a few Twins players.
"Joe Nathan: Dear Diary, I know I gave up two runs tonight, but Manny Ramirez never had a flippin' chance."
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)