It was an all-around good victory for the Twins tonight as they assured themselves a series victory in Kansas City by beating the Royals 9-4. The story of the game has to be the fact that with the bases loaded and no outs, the Twins actually managed to score. In fact, they scored all of them, as a wild pitch moved the runners up and then Jason Bartlett hit a 2-run triple. Bartlett would later score himself on a sac-fly from Joe Mauer. This is the situational hitting the Twins have been desperate for, and although I'd like to be seeing them do it against pitchers of higher caliber than Brian Anderson, I'll take it. Just a few bullet-points on tonight's game:
*While my associate, Mr. Mosvick, is not a big fan of Matthew LeCroy, but I tend to think he has decent value as a right-handed pinch hitter and backup. He has hit lefties well this year, and continued that tonight with a two-run homer in the fourth inning off of Anderson. Michael Cuddyer, on the other hand, whom this website is unanymously disgusted with, had another poor day. Although he did surprisingly manage to finally collect a hit, breaking an 0-18 streak, he still did not look good. While manager Ron Gardenhire continues to press that Cuddy must simply refine his strike zone judgment, Michael's at-bat in the fourth inning showed just how much attention he is paying to that critique, as he swung at everything Anderson threw at him and went down swinging at a pitch in the dirt. I realize that we've been driving the issue awfully hard, but Cuddyer is not justifying his spot in this starting lineup in any way and it is a constant frustration.
*Nick Punto is pushing for the starting job at second base. While Luis Rivas has been terrible at the plate this season, failing to hit the ball hard enough to get past first base, Punto is waking up at the plate now that he is getting some regular playing time. He got off to a slow start, but Nick went 3 for 4 tonight to raise his average to .267 on the year. He's also been playing some excellent defense.
*Joe Mays pitched pretty well. His sinking stuff was really working at times, as there were several occasions were batters swung at pitches that were literally at their ankles and grounded out. Unfortunately, he doesn't yet have all of his pitches doing what he wants them to, as a few of them hung and just got hammered, including the lin-drive 2-run homer by Ruben Gotay in the 6th that briefly tied the game. Give Joe time though, I think he is going to have a pretty good season.
*Joe Mauer and Torii Hunter are both pretty cold right now. Hunter is getting back into his old habit of falling behind in the count and getting stuck striking out on bad pitches, and Mauer isn't seeing pitches too well from southpaws. Both of them should come around though. Justin Morneau, who went 0/5, is hitting the ball hard but at fielders.
Tomorrow the Twins look to extend their season record against the Royals to 5-0 as Kyle Lohse faces off against Runelvys Hernandez at 1 o'clock. This weekend, the Twins return to the Dome to face the Anaheim Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Los Angeles in what could be an early season playoff preview.