Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Sixteen's a charm

It took over five hours to do it, but the Twins mustered a long-fight victory in a mighty fashion Tuesday night. After tying the game against Dustin Hermanson in the ninth with a Michael Cuddyer homer, it seemed the Twins were doomed to fade in the game, with poor executions of easy plays and the traditional inability to drive in runs. But, things changed with a new pitcher in the sixteenth inning, Jon Adkins, who came in and gave up a total of five runs to the Twins to secure a victory for our club. With a Shannon Stewart RBI single to start of the scoring, a Joe Mauer double (his third in seven trips to the plate) and a Terry Tiffee bases loaded single, the Twins had a victory easily secured by Joe Nathan, who struck out the side to close the game.

So, who do we owe this win to and who do we not? Lets start with the positives:

* Matt Guerrier - Guerrier, who has been left largely unused this year, came in to relieve Radke in the eight and ended up pitching four innings of scoreless relief for the Twins, keeping them in the came and shutting down the White Sox. Taking on four innings certainly took the burden off the rest of the bullpen.

* Joe Nathan - Well, Nathan didn't do that much, but he had such a strong 16th inning, showing great stuff and striking out the side, that its hard to leave him off. He's just a stud.

* Michael Cuddyer - Yes, Cuddyer made a terrible bunt in the 16th that almost ended the rally if not for Adkins delayed throw to second. But Cuddyer made an amazing play in extra innings to keep the game alive for the Twins and he did send it to extra-digits with his homer in the ninth. An impressive night for a not-so-impressive player.

* Justin Morneau - Its easy to come down on Morneau for lack of production, but for a 24-year old, he's putting up numbers similar to Nick Swisher, whom everyone swoons over. But Swisher has the lower average but the solid production, which Morneau has also done. With a two-run homer, he has 17 HRs and 58 RBIs this year. Its a sophmore slump, but he is certainly coming around.

* Joe Mauer - Three doubles in seven at-bats. Best hitter in this hobbled line-up. Nuff' said.

* Brent Abernathy - Props for two things: A solid night with two hits and for the walk that set up the rally in the 16th. A very good at-bat by a player who just got called back-up again with the Castro injry. Much better to see him than Ryan at the plate.

The ugly:

* Lew Ford - Yea, he had an RBI single in the 16th, but he is a symbol of the Twins inability to produce with men on and simple execution. His bunt "attempt" in the 12th was hideous and embarrasing. It was more like a pop-up and on a pitch up near his eyes. Come on Lew. Whats the deal?

* Michael Ryan - Yep, he homered off of Rich Harden and that deserves a pat on the back, but the .177 average and 1 for 8 night aren't going to cut it in the bigs. Lets just hope Shannon Stewart isn't hurt, or else Ryan will be playing more and likely starting. Lets just hope that leads to a Baker or Liriano call-up. (Fingers crossed come on Ryan)

* Brad Radke - Everett gulfed that change-up in the sixth and that wasn't Radke's fault, but he's on here simply for giving up four runs in six plus innings of work. Radke has been solid all year and of course, is the victim of bad, bad run production, so i give him the benefit of the doubt. A 3.78 ERA isn't too bad in the AL, I just needed another victim to charge.

But, overall, its nice to see this win that ensures two straight series wins on the road, one against their top rival in the Central. Way to go Twins. A definite positive and step in the right direction. Its good that Johan Santana, who has been on fire again in the second half, is starting tommorow. Lets see the sweep boys.