Friday, April 07, 2006

Out of Control

Last year, in 188 and 1/3 innings, Carlos Silva walked only nine batters. That added up to .43 BB/game, a modern record. Last night, Silva's control, which is essentially the only thing that keeps him from getting lit up each day he goes to the mound, was not anywhere in sight. Silva uncharacteristically walked two hitters in 5 and 2/3 innings, losing himself completely in the sixth inning. In addition to the walks, he threw only 56 strikes to 34 balls, which is a bad sign for Silva, and hit a batter. He was constantly falling behind hitters, as evidenced by his third inning, where he threw first-pitch balls to every batter but managed to escaped unharmed. In fairness, Silva didn't get a lot of innings in the World Baseball Classic and didn't have a great spring, and he's still working his way back into shape. With that in mind, you can't read too much into last night's performance. What I take from it is that it's a great example of just how much Silva needs his control to be successful.

Other observations:

With lefty Gustavo Chacin on the mound, the Twins had a different and significantly weaker lineup out against the Jays in their losing effort last night. Here's what happened:

* Shannon Stewart continued his hot streak. He was 2 for 4 with a run scored and a double. His average now sits at a sizzling .538 and he even got his first SB of the year. Like many others, I wonder why Stewart doesn't get moved back behind Luis Castillo, where his extra-base hits can actually drive someone in, especially in their line-up against lefties.

* The guy in the nine-hole last night, Nick Punto, did better than one may expect. He went 1 for 2 with an RBI and walk. However, it's still terribly annoying to watch him strike out looking because he can't protect the strike zone at all with two strikes. It's been three years and nothing -- NOTHING -- has changed there.

* Joe Nathan and Willie Eyre finally got work in, as they both pitched scoreless innings. All 25 players on the Twins roster have now seen game action.

* Tony Batista committed his first error of the season, but made up for it with a double and run scored. So far, compared to the guy he is replacing (Michael Cuddyer), I'm sufficiently satisfied. He plays sufficient defense, albeit with limited range, but he generally makes plays on the balls he gets to and he delivers extra-base hits, which is much more than you could say about Cuddyer. A few more hits, a boast to the average, and Twins fans should be happy with what they got. Of course, that's no small order for a guy who hasn't hit above .244 in the majors since 2000.

* Speaking of Cuddyer, who started in place of Jason Kubel in right, he had another typically awful April day at the plate. He went 0 for 4 in the five-spot. No better things could be said for Rondell White, who hit into a double-play and went hitless. He has one hit this season and it wasn't much of a hit.

* Joe Mauer's replacement, Mike Redmond, was solid as usual, going 2 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI. Obviously its early, but I am constantly happy with Redmond, as he is a great back-up to have for Mauer and the Twins. Unlike previous backups (Tom Prince, Henry Blanco) he can actually hit in additonal to being a good defender and solid clubhouse guy.

The Twins face the Indians at 2 this afternoon and we'll get our first look at Kyle Lohse.

4 comments:

carolinabbq said...

Why don't twins play redmond more at catcher and put Mauer as the DH? This way it's less taxing on Joe and redmond can get in there more, where he's nearly a 300 career hitter. Redmond is good defensively and deserves more playing time...heck, why not give him a few hacks at DH?

Nick N. said...

It wouldn't be wise to play Mauer at DH simply because he is such a great defensive player -- he's already one of the best defensive catchers in the league. I agree that Redmond is a quality player, and he does pretty well in his backup role, but I don't think he would necessarily post great numbers playing regularly. Also, while solid defensively, he's not as good as Mauer. I'm all for seeing Redmond start against almost every left-handed pitcher though.

Furthermore, the Twins have invested a decent chunk of change in Rondell White to be their DH, so as long as he's healthy, they'll be playing him in the DH spot as much as possible.

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