Saturday, July 02, 2005

Lohse Rebounds

You can't fault him for having the Devil Rays as an opponent. You can only say that it was a great game and a confidence-booster for a young pitcher, Kyle Lohse. Lohse, who pitched a marvelous game, going eight innings, allowing four hits and a walk, while striking out six batters. No game for the Twins to pick up on the White Sox, who beat Oakland, but there were plenty of positives in the Twins 4-1 victory, as many young Twins had good games that should hopefully help jumpstart this team. Lohse most importantly, as he has not been strong as of late, gave the bullpen a rest and show the same stuff he showed earlier this year, with his strong two-seamer and slider that can easily make him a successful starter. Lohse is now 7-6 with a 4.26, which are strong numbers for a number 4 or 5 starter and for a guy who needs to break out and show the great stuff he has long possessed.

Other than Lohse, some other key Twins had good nights:

* Joe Nathan pitched a very quick 9th, only throwing seven pitches to pick up his 22nd save of the season. Nathan seems to be breaking out of his funk where he lost his control, and thus, his ability to pick up saves.

* Justin Morneau, who blasted some home runs against the Devil Rays early this year, hit a three-run blast in the second, as he is slowly trying to break out of a slump. Justin is hitting .269 with 11 HRs and 42 RBIs, which aren't by themselves bad numbers, but have only seemed so bad based on high expectations going into this year. However, you had to expect that Morneau would have to adjust as opposing pitchers caught on to him, as they did, and changed their strategies. Like Santana, who as of late has had troubles with control as hitters have somewhat caught on to him, Morneau needs the time to adjust, but the expectation and likeliness is that the numbers will be there. Morneau hasn't been a complete dissapointment like, say, Cuddyer, who has long arms and a power swing but has managed a meager 5 HRs and 22 RBI.

* Joe Mauer went 2 for 4 with a RBI, bringing his average to .293 for the year. Mauer, who is a possibility for the All-Star team, has also been seemingly subpar this year due to high expectations. But lets keep in mind that Mauer had a substantial injury and has actually been very healthy and productive this year. A .293 is good for any hitter and especially for a catcher and its pretty certain that will be higher by the end of the year.

* Jacque Jones and Lew Ford both had good nights, going 2 for 3 with a run scored each. Jones' bat seems to have awaken since his bases-clearing triple last night and that's a great sign for the Twins. Lets hope that the key players, from Mauer to Morneau to Jones, start hitting and make a little run before the All-Star break.