Thursday, July 14, 2005

Boone's Not-So-Great Debut

Bret Boone's coming to the Twins was filled with suspense: What will happen? Will he produce? Will he the 2001-Boone or the old, falling apart Boone. Thursday night was his big debut and everyone, including me, was excited to see the results. But they weren't so great. Boone went 0 for 4 in the three spot, striking out in his first RBI situation. And the rest of the Twins followed suit for the most part. The offense once again didn't do very much against Jarred Washburn. Two runs, one on a sac fly from Lew Ford, and only one player, Jacque Jones, with two hits. But they were far worse against the Angels big bullpen combo of Donnelly, Shields, and K-Rod. In three bullpen innings, the Twins managed no hits and struck out four times, including Michael Ryan in the last at-bat.

The young Twins hitters just looked pathetic, like they had absolutely no chance against Rodriguez or Shields. Ryan's face said it all, as he tried in desperation to hit K-Rod's filthy slider. Its just a reminder of how little experience and direction these young hitters have. No one seems to be teaching them what they need to do in those situations, how they can control the strike zone, and how to lay off those pitches and more importantly, protect the strike zone in 0-2 and 1-2 situations, something Ryan didn't do and something plenty of Twins miss nightly.

As for our pitching, it wasn't horrible. Kyle Lohse had a quality start, going 6 and 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits and three runs while walking three and striking out only two. The three walks are the most problematic stat, as Lohse continued again to get himself into jams. The bullpen did its job, but J.C. Romero continued to show the same control problems, walking two in 2/3 of an inning, while Jesse Crain and Juan Rincon pitched well in scoreless innings. Despite those problems, the pitchers can't be blamed, as they held the big bats of Vladimir Guerrero and Garret Anderson silent and gave the Twins a good chance to win. It once again comes down to those same offensive wooes and the inability to drive in runs. Hopefully Bret Boone's sophmore effort is far better.