Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Bats, Defense Come Alive to Support Santana

Just a few starts ago, Johan Santana gave up only two runs to the Indians, but still managed to take the loss despite his dominance and great pitching. Yesterday, Santana was not fantastic, but he was good enough against the White Sox. He went eight innings, giving up seven hits and four runs, while walking one and striking out seven and picking up the win.

As usual, Santana followed his normal problem by giving up a few home runs to increase his total to 12 already this year, which puts him on pace to equal the amount Carlos Silva gave up last year (38). Despite that, the Twins offense managed to support Santana plenty, putting up 10 runs against starter Jose Contreras and the White Sox bullpen.

For the Twins lineup, that's a very good sign, considering how badly Contreras dominated Twins hitters the last time they saw him, as he put together a five-hit shutout only a few weeks back. This time around, the Twins hitters managed to do significantly better, not only scoring seven runs on ten hits, but also walking three times.

Several hitters had important big games, including Nick Punto, Mike Redmond, and Torii Hunter. Punto, who has been nothing short of awful offensively since the beginning of the season, went 3-for-4 with two RBI, a walk, and a run scored. He also stole two bases. Though he had been struggling, he is now 5-for-13 in his last three games and hopefully is starting to put things together. Redmond, on the other hand, had a much bigger hit as he continues to be hot in Joe Mauer's absence.

Since taking over for Mauer regularly on May 5, Redmond is 25-for-64 (.391) with a .531 slugging percentage. He has only had 5 RBI in that time, but he had a huge hit last night, with a bases-clearing double in the sixth to give the Twins an 8-4 lead. Redmond clearly has been spectacular and has done as good of a job as anyone could expect with Mauer gone.

As for Hunter, he not only went 3-for-5 with an RBI to raise his average to .317, but also made a great catch in support of Santana. In the eighth inning, Jim Thome appeared to crush a home run to left-center, but Hunter climb the wall in the very famous section of the park to take the home run away from Thome. Hunter has not been nearly as good defensively as he has in the past, but he has certainly made a few memorable plays in recent weeks.

With 16 hits in 37 at-bats, the offense certainly seemed to come out of its funk. However, only three of those went for extra-bases. They'll face a bigger test today, as John Danks has been good against the Twins this year, going 1-1 with a 2.84 ERA. It's a good thing for the Twins Boof Bonser is taking the hill, as he has been fairly dominant as of late.

4 comments:

King Richard said...

Yeah Redmond has been great. I think he should stay catcher, and we should put Mauer in left field, or have him split time between DH and Catcher. Of course I'm saying this just after seeing Kubel hit a homerun, but hey Mauer is too big to be an everyday catcher.

Nick N. said...

Mauer is a very good defensive catcher; I wouldn't want to take him away from that position. There have been plenty of tall guys that have managed to catch for the majority of their careers.

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