Sunday, July 10, 2005

Close Victory

Of all in the bullpen, Joe Nathan should be expected to hold up the best. But, in the five innings the bullpen pitched today, Nathan gave up the only run on a home run to Mike Sweeney. Sweeney tore the Twins up in the series, going 11 for his last 15 and hitting two home runs to provide the only offense for the Royals. Its not to say Nathan did poorly, but at least Crain, Romero, and Rincon managed to throw scoreless innings. Nathan actually looked good, reaching 98 on the radar gun and throwing nasty sliders, picking up four Ks in his two innings. His battle with Sweeney that ended in a long home run is the only blotch on a good performance by the bullpen. Jesse Crain, who has been atrocious as of late, pitched a scoreless 12th to pick up the save.

Lost in the long game was Carlos Silva's good start. Silva pitched seven innings, while giving up five hits and one run while striking out three and once again walking none. That means Silva has walked only five in 114 and a third innings. Silva has, for all intensive purposes, been the ace of the staff at the break. With a 7-3 record and a 3.53 ERA, Silva was close to being an All-Star. I believe he'll continue to pitch well, but now he just needs Radke and Santana to follow and pick up the slack.

More importantly was the offensive failure over the game. Although they had 15 hits, they managed only three runs, one unearned. In order to win, they needed rookie third baseman Mark Teahan to make a major error with two outs in the 12th, on a Torii Hunter grounder, to allow Nick Punto to score. Otherwise, the team left eleven baserunners on. Against KC, that's just not acceptable. That's pathetic. The standouts were Joe Mauer, who went 2 for 5 and ends the first half with a .305 average, and the two Luis', who both went 2 for 5 with an RBI. Basically, its the same old story. The Twins can't hit well with men on and fail when it comes to strike zone judgement. More on this tommorow, as the All-Star break starts.