For those who couldn't make it yesterday to the blogger/fan get-together at Park Tavern, things went pretty well in all areas. The Twins won, the conversation was good, and we all got a break from the inane jabber that is essential to FSN North telecasts these days. The crowd included Aaron Gleeman, Howard Sinker, SBG (and Baby SBG!), Jen from Lipgloss & Baseball, and Jesse and Adam (and his dad) from Twinkie Town. Topics ranged from Aaron's comment section dilemma to Sinker's scoring of a Kubel "double" a few games ago to ESPN's awful player rating system. It was, in shorter words, a fun, eventful, and interesting get-together and hopefully, we can do it something similar before the end of the season.
As for the game, it was mainly marked by another outstanding showing from the Twins offense, featuring plenty of patience and extra-base hits and a not-so-dazzling pitching performance and win for Kevin Slowey. The Twins managed to get only nine hits for their eight runs, but six went for extra bases, including a three-run homer from Michael Cuddyer off of young Detroit phenom Andrew Miller and a two-run blast from Lew Ford.
For the offense, Jason Bartlett was a particular standout. In the game, he went 2-for-5 with a stolen base and an RBI double. Many might not have noticed, but Bartlett has been on a 11-game hitting streak, moving his batting average up 20 points to .262 and going 15-for-43 (.349) while picking up seven stolen bases to put him amongst league leaders with 16.
Cuddyer, of course, was also good, picking up a walk and a triple in addition to his home run.
As for pitching, Slowey was once again shaky as previously mentioned. He managed to pick up his third win and has not lost yet, but his 5.13 ERA is nothing pretty. Slowey once again allowed too many base-runners, giving up nine hits and a walk in his six innings of work. A 1.56 WHIP and .308 BAA are ugly stats, but what stands out more is the amount of home runs Slowey continues to give up. Slowey gave up two yesterday, tallying his total for the year to 11 in only 33 1/3 innings per work.
Since Slowey only works five or six innings, that amounts to about two home runs a game, which is a very high and unmanageable rate. Slowey has looked calm on the mound, he has picked up three wins, and he has shown fairly consistent command since coming, but in order to have continued success, he'll have to start limiting his flyballs by learning to incorporate more pitches to offset his fastball.
So far, the series has been quite interesting, as both Friday's and yesterday's game seemed like hard victories for the Twins. In each game, they faced a young phenom starting pitcher, but both times they scored enough runs, were patient, and got a big hit (Mauer's grand slam, Cuddyer's three-run job) to get to the Tiger's vulnerable bullpen. In the series thus far, the Twins have scored a total of 19 runs and have allowed only six. A sweep would be a perfect way to leave Mo-Town and although Jeremy Bonderman is yet another good, young Detroit pitcher, the Twins have had past success against. Hopefully the cards are right again and another young Twins pitcher -- Scott Baker -- manages to continue his recent success while the offense manages to continue cruising as well.
The monthly recap for June will be up tomorrow.