Thursday, April 13, 2006

Loving the Three-Run Jack

The last two Twins games have been won in a way we may have never expected last year: clutch three-run home runs. Tuesday night, Tony Batista was the hero with the big blast. Last night, it was Justin Morneau. Morneau came up after Joe Mauer singled, Rondell White flew out (he was hitting hard, but he just can't do very much at all right now), and Torii Hunter walked, with two outs in the inning. Justin came up and blasted an Estaban Loaiza pitch over the baggie in right.

Now, to be fair, I figured the Twins could knock Loaiza around because he looks awful so far this year. However, that doesn't take away from the fact that these kinds of comebacks and big homers just didn't come up last year. Morneau hit half his home runs last year with the bases empty, after all.

The point is, it's very exciting to actually have that kind of power to come back, even if it means having Tony Batista in the lineup. That's a lot more power than you can say for Michael "Takes-Lots-of-Pitches-to-Try-to-Walk-But-Strikes-Out-Anyways" Cuddyer.

Other observations:

* I was actually at the game last night and some things came to mind while watching. For one, Joe Nathan looks just great. Definitely a top-three closer in this league. Hard fastball, nasty breaking stuff, goes right at hitters. It's all there.

* I have to wonder if there was a reason Tony Batista tried to steal third base in the third inning. He has no speed at all! Seems like he saw a shot to get over there, but its too bad he looks slower than Bengie Molina. Worse yet, why was Joe Kennedy trying so hard to keep him at first in the seventh, despite the fact that he was only about a foot off the bag?

* Good to see Juan Rincon out for the eighth instead of Jesse Crain. Strikeout and a double-play grounder. Looks like Juan is coming back.

* Juan Castro did have a good day at the plate and in the field, making plenty of good defensive plays while going 2-for-4 at the plate. Still, I'm missing Bartlett's offensive potential and hate seeing it go to waste in the minors...

* Speaking of Morneau, gotta love the walk he coaxed when the A's brought in lefty Brad Halsey. Ignoring that he struck out against Kennedy in his next at-bat, he was looking at lot better at the plate with plenty of patience. A good step, since now he has 4 HR and 9 RBIs.

* Can't forget Torii Hunter. He hit a high home run to left-center in the fifth that ended up being the difference in the game. The .258 average isn't great, but he's hitting with power again.

* Lastly, Carlos Silva didn't have much last night, showing signs of control issues still, as he hit Milton Bradley but didn't walk a man in seven innings. Thats a total of eight Minnesota starts without a quality start. Not a great sign at all and I don't know that the number will change any with Kyle Lohse facing Joe Blanton tommorow at noon.

6 comments:

Jeff A said...

Given the controversy over Batista, I want to make clear that this is not meant as a criticism, I just thought it was odd. When Batista was on first, every time the pitcher threw over, on his way back to first, Batista would put his right hand to the earhole of his helmet.

Does anyone know why? All I could think of was that he was afraid of getting hit by the ball, but if so, it seems like it would be better to duck, or to let it hit you in the helmet, than to take the chance of getting hit in the hand.

Again, no criticism is intended. It just seemed odd.

TheBentKangaroo said...

Yeah, I saw that too. Bizarre. You'd think if he was worried about getting hit, it wouldn't be a good idea to put your throwing hand in harm's way.

And it's not like the ball was whooshing by so fast it was hurting his eardrums.

Maybe it's a just a nervous habit.

Nick N. said...

Interesting observation. Perhaps his helmet was loose and he didn't want it to fall off. Or maybe it's just another one of his zany rituals.

Mike said...

Bastista was grabbing the headset in his helmet that the Twins use to remind him not to steal bases. (It shorted out in the third inning.)

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