April 11, 2007

Game 8: New York Yankees

The Twins were able to avoid a sweep by the Yankees tonight with a late inning rally propelling them to a 5-1 win. The pitching was awesome, and nearly unstoppable. The hitting improved a lot from the last few games, and may have possibly broken out of a slump in the eighth inning. There are some things that were a little off tonight, and I'll talk about them below, but it was a fun night to watch Twins baseball.

Ramon Ortiz made his debut last week, and looked awesome. But coming into a game against the Yankees, a lineup that had already scored 18 runs on the Twins this series, a lot of people might not have had a lot of faith (I've had faith in him since Spring Training). But Ortiz went out and pitched arguably the best game of the season for the Twins. He went 8 innings giving up just three hits and one run while strikingout four. Ortiz was again pumped up smiling and pumping his fists when he liked a play. To me at least, Ortiz is becoming a favorite, both as a leader and a player.

The bullpen was obviously quiet tonight with Ortiz pitching eight innings. However the ninth had to go to someone, and that person was Joe Nathan. Nathan got into a little jam with runners on second and third. But he was able to get two fly outs to end the game with a scoreless ninth.

The offense missed a few clutch opportunities early in the game, but came through in the eighth. First, I'll start with some of the bad things that I noticed. In the third inning, the Twins had runners at first and second with no outs and Castillo popped out and then Punto hit a bloop fly ball that Jeter caught and proceeded to double Luis Rodriguez off of second base. The other time came in the fifth inning when Kubel was at first base. When Rodriguez hit a ball to rightfield, Kubel stayed at second even though he would have easily been safe at third. The next batter, Casilla, grounded out and Kubel would have scored.

Now, here are all of the good things that happened. Before I get started, here are some stats from the notable hitters.

Nick Punto: 1-3; Run
Joe Mauer: 1-3; Run and RBI
Michael Cuddyer: 2-4; Run and 2 RBI
Justin Morneau: 1-4; Run and RBI
Torii Hunter: 2-4; RBI
Jason Kubel: 1-4
Luis Rodriguez: 2-4
Alexi Casilla: 1-3

Tonight, the Twins started Rodriguez at designated hitter and he got singles in his first two at-bats. Casilla started at shortstop to give Bartlett a day off, and he singled in his first at-bat, and also got robbed of extra bases when Doug made a diving stop in the seventh inning. Speaking of being robbed, Kubel was also robbed of at least a double and RBI when Cano made a leaping catch. As I mentioned, four of the runs came off of a rally in the eight inning, which will hopefully put an end to the recent slump.

For more stats from the Twins, or the stats for the Yankees, check out the Box Score.

Santana Rumor:
SI.com reported that the Twins and Santana had broken off contract talks after the Twins offered a two-year extension for $18 million dollars each year. However, Santana said that was not true.

"I'm not closing the door," Santana said. "If I were to be closing doors, then I would have said, 'I want to be out of here.' I've never said anything like that, and I never will say anything like that, so it's always there. It's just I'm not the one who is going to knock at the door."

To read the rest of this story, go here.

Ballpark Design Unveiling:
Tomorrow, the Twins will unveil their final Ballpark Design, and I'll have a post here. They will have new pictures, and will hopefully have some new information. I'll bring you everything they release and possibly even my take on some of the information.

Perkins Called Up:
With Rincon gone a few days after the passing of his mother-in-law, and Jesse Crain getting a few days off after pitching so much in the last few days, the Twins have made a move. After the game yesterday, the Twins sent down catch Chris Heintz and called up left-hander Glen Perkins.

Next Game:
The Twins wont have a day off before their next series, as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays come to town tomorrow. The Twins will send out Carlos Silva (0-1; 1.80) to face off against Casey Fossum (0-1; 17.18). The game will begin at 7:10 and will be on FSN.

If you don't know, Silva's loss came in a 3-0 loss in Chicago in which Silva really impressed. As you can tell by his ERA, he gave up just one run. On the other hand, Fossum's loss wasn't pretty judging off of the 17.18 ERA.