For all the rants and raves we've had about Torii's miserable offense and defense so far this year, he certainly came through tonight in a big way. Torii had a career night, going 5 for 5 with a grand slam, two doubles, and all six of the Twins' RBIs for the night. And he brought all the runs in with the bases loaded, nonetheless. Of course, he had some along the way. His two-run double in the sixth was aided by the horrible play of Aaron Boone and Jody Gerut, who failed to catch his pop-fly down the left-field line. And a bad misplay by Ben Broussard in the third that should have been an error (it was easily a double-play ball off the bat of Justin Morneau, who had another bad night as he didn't deserve that single) set up Torii's grand-slam. What was surprising about both those hits is that they were first pitch knocks. He literally loaded up on Cliff Lee's breaking ball left up in the third, creaming it into the left field bleachers. Usually, when he is so impatient, the results aren't so good. Whats my point?
Torii did have a tremendous night, just crushing the ball on his way to raising his average to .258, his team-leading RBI total to 32, and making a spectacular play in the outfield that saved the Twins and Brad Radke from losing the lead. However, he did it hitting most the same way that hasn't worked all year. The idea is that it won't keep up even if he goes on a bit of streak. Torii still needs to adjust, the way Morneau does, to low outside breaking pitches and outside fastballs. (or in Torii's case, inside/high fastballs) When Torii is hitting good, he is taking the ball the other way. Its the same with Morneau, Jones, or even Mauer. The temptation to pull the ball all the time is a very bad habit and it all goes back to hitting coach Scott Ulger. Its still time to step it up and get these guys to hit the right way; the way Pujols or Bonds does. Its nice to see a outbreak, but what the Twins truely need is consistency.
Other than that, here's some other points about tonights game:
* Brad Radke was not outstanding, but his usual reliable-self. He did serve up a first inning 2-run bomb to Ben Broussard, but after that, he settled in and pitched seven good innings, giving up six hits and those two runs while walking none and striking out six, a good number for Radke. Being at the game, his change-up was looking good and Brad continues his unbelievable control, as he leads the walks per nine innings, hovering around .30, having given up three walks in 82 innings so far this year. Just simply great control and the best in the game right now. He's also been the workhorse, having gone at least six innings in all his starts this year
* Other than Hunter, the best Twin hitter was Lew Ford, who went 3 for 5 in the three-spot while scoring two runs. Although more moves should be made, Ford is doing well in the three-spot but it is still not enough.
* Struggling hitters Luis Rivas and Terry Tiffee were sent down and Michael Ryan and Brent Abernathy were called up. Well, not exactly. Rivas has been terrible at the plate so far, but he is having back problems, so he is actually on the DL, were is Tiffee is being sent to the minors. He deserves, as he has been lacking in the pinch-hitting role he has been given, not even getting a memorable hit in the past month. He needs to get that swing together. Ryan has been up before and he has a good swing, which should make him valuable of the bench and Abernathy seems to be a better hitter than Rivas, having had major league experience and of course, a much better attitude. Lets hope this move pays off, but no doubt we will see the same guys back up within a month or so.
* And on a personal note, during the break after the second inning, I was on TV during the FSN broadcast. How exciting, eh?