Thursday, June 22, 2006

Astros 5, Twins 3

The Twins' winning streak finally came to an end last night as they fell 5-3 to the Astros. The Twins held a lead for much of the game before giving it up in the eighth inning, which made it a tough loss to swallow, but they were bound to lose eventually. A smattering of notes on last night's game as well as a few other subjects:

* Ron Gardenhire's decision to take out Dennys Reyes in favor of Kyle Lohse in the eighth inning after Reyes had retired the first two batters of the inning on two pitches was a terrible blunder. Taking out a guy with a 1.62 ERA and replacing him with a guy with an 8.46 ERA in a tie ballgame solely for the purpose of getting a righty-on-righty matchup at the plate is beyond stupid. Predictably, Lohse gave up the lead and came out of the game without recording an out.

* Gardenhire continues to hold Jason Kubel out of the lineup against left-handed pitchers, despite the fact that Kubel is hitting a solid .263/.300/.579 against southpaws. Lew Ford had a pretty good game in his stead, but I would like to see Kubel in the lineup just about every day at this point.

* Torii Hunter is not getting the job done in the middle of the order for the Twins. In 62 at-bats this month, he has a total of three extra-base hits and four RBI.

* Jason Bartlett, on the other hand, has been getting the job done bigtime. He went 1-for-3 to stretch his hitting streak to seven games. For reference, Juan Castro's longest hitting streak was five games, and that was when he singled once apiece in each of the first five games of the season.

* Terry Ryan has said that he is not interested in trading for a third baseman right now, but I still have trouble believing that is the case. I like Nick Punto as a short-term fix, but I think at some point the Twins are going to need to lock down a legitimate starter at the hot corner for the next several years.

The Dodgers have moved Cesar Izturis to third base, leading some to speculate that they might be showcasing him for a trade. Izturis is a good defensive player and could be a decent backup, but with a career .261/.295/.338 line, he's not much of an offensive force. I do, however, believe that if the Twins choose to make a deal at the deadline, it will be with one of the LA teams.

Some Twins fans are holding strong to the belief that the Twins could somehow acquire Florida third baseman Miguel Cabrera. If you ask me, there's absolutely no chance of that happening. I think people tend to underrate how much the Marlins would demand in return for Cabrera, who is currently hitting .344/.440/.567 at age 23. I can't see the Marlins parting with Cabrera for anything less than Johan Santana or Francisco Liriano, and I certainly don't see the Twins letting either of those guys go.

* The Indians traded Jason Johnson, he of the 5.96 ERA, to the Red Sox yesterday in return for a player to be named later and cash. That Johnson has struggled this year is no surprise to me, and his departure makes room for Jeremy Sowers, who was 9-1 with a 1.39 ERA for the Tribe's Triple-A affiliate.

---

Tonight the Twins and Stros meet in the rubber match of the series, with Francisco Liriano and Roger Clemens facing off. A win would put the Twins back above .500 as they return home to face the Cubs this weekend, but it won't come easy.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I usually never make a comment, but I think Gardenhire is a stupid ass for bringing in the majors worst $4M pitcher into a game in the bottom of the 8th when the game is tied. Lohse is terrible, and I guess it is not his fault, except that he is an ass, but Gardenhire is the real fool here. What a stupid move. Lohse lost our last game, and now Gardenhire lets him lost our next. Hey STUPID put him in when we are winning 8-0, not in a tied game.

If Terry Ryan doesn't want to go after a 3rd baseman, that's fine for now. He should help the team out by getting rid of Gardenhire. I can see that giving the Twins an extra 10-15 games a year. There has to be better managers that would do Less STUPID Moves.

Todd said...

The fact that Gardenfire brought in Lohse maybe the worst decision since Britney Spears decideing to have a baby.

Besides the fact that Lohse can't pitch he has never shown himself to be able to get righthanders out any better than he can lefthanders out. He has pretty equal split over the last few years.

Also, Wilson is a better hitter against righthanders.

Nick M. said...

It was the stupidest move I've ever seen him make. Just ridiculous. Bring in anyone else. The guy has a 8.46 ERA. I ask, as I often do, does this guy actually want to win? This team was on a winning streak and had their confidence up. What a way to kill it.

Greg S. said...

Why is bartlett not leading off? The biggest problem for the twins lately has been the inability of the top of the order to get on base.

Nick M. said...

Having Bartlett leadoff would probably be a bad idea. Castillo has been doing awful lately, but you don't want to pressure Bartlett. Not with Gardy managing. The low pressure position he is in suits him fine. Gardy's lineup issues are beyond that. The real question is what Nick Punto is doing in the number two spot. Gardy's ridiculous notion that infielders have to be there is just beyond me. Last night, Kubel should be in the lineup anyways at the two spot. But in that case, put Bartlett there and move Punto to the 8th spot. At least you play your hot hand at the top of the lineup.

TheBentKangaroo said...

At least Punto's OBP is still decent.

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