In last night's game, one of the heroes in 9-1 Twins victory over the Devil Rays was Jason Tyner, who went 3-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. I admit, I'm not a very big fan of Tyner. I think there is good reason for that. He has a career .318 "slugging" percentage to go with patience Jacque Jones would be jealous of, with a .310 OBP. For a hitter with no power and no patience, he doesn't steal very many bases either, with just 56 over a span of 1100 at-bats, with 31 of those coming in his 2001 season.
He's also been a .319 hitter in 326 Minnesota at-bats. This year, he's been pretty solid, with a .346/.382/.442 line. Obviously it's quite unlikely that he'll keep up the average, but he has hit as many doubles this year (5) as he did all of last year. He also needs to show some more speed, as he has only stolen nine bases in his time in Minnesota.
However, if he continues to produce at a similar rate, he'll remain a good backup and even a decent option at DH. Consider the alternatives: right now, it's Jeff Cirillo, who has been hurt, and Josh Rabe, who has also has no power and does not hit anywhere near .300. If Jason Kubel isn't in the outfield, he remains a superior option and when Rondell White comes back, he'd remain the better option despite his overall poor numbers with the Twins.
Of course, Tyner wasn't the only story of last night, as Sidney Ponson had his best game in a Twins uniform. Ponson had a quality start, going seven innings, allowing only five hits, one run, and two walks while striking out five. However, the run he gave up was a home run to Delmon Young and Ponson gave up plenty of deep fly balls, allowing several warning track outs and posting a GB/FB ratio of 7/8. Getting lucky doesn't make me feel much better about Ponson and now he gets a longer lease in the rotation, as manager Ron Gardenhire was ecstatic about Ponson's start.
Gardenhire told reporters that, "As the game went along, (Ponson) made an adjustment. We talked to him about getting on top of the ball a little more and his last couple innings the ball was really diving. We were excited about that, his adjustment during the game more than anything else." I don't know that his ball was really diving that much if he gave up so many deep fly balls, but obviously Gardenhire is more than ready to put him out there again. Ponson's next start will come against the potent Boston offense and I have to imagine that isn't going to be too pretty.
The best news, though, is that the offense came out against the hapless Devil Ray pitching staff, as they scored nine runs on 17 hits, with Tyner, Luis Castillo and Joe Mauer collecting three hits apiece. Hopefully, the Twins can use this series against the Rays to heat up their bats before their weekend series against the Red Sox. However, the Twins did get some bad news, as Michael Cuddyer hurt himself on a baserunning tumble and now has a bruised back. Let's hope he gets back soon. If he misses a game, I'm all for Justin Morneau moving into the cleanup spot, as if that wasn't the obvious move.
Tonight, the Twins face the terrible Jae Seo and his 9.51 ERA. If the Twins play their cards right, maybe they can raise Seo's ERA to a Jeff Weaver level.