Saturday, July 21, 2007

Quid Pro Quo

The last three posts on this site -- and for many across the blogosphere in the last few days -- have consisted of breaking down and analyzing the failing and fluttering offense of the Minnesota Twins. Naturally, as Newton's Laws would have it, our actions and words required a response. The response came in the form of a Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel-fueled offense beating out John Lackey and the Los Angeles Angels of Hollywood of Los Angeles of California in a 7-5 victory last night to end three straight games of offensive tragedy.

Morneau was an obvious candidate for an offensive standout, as he continues to be an MVP force in the middle of the lineup for the Twins. Morneau went 2-for-4 with three RBI, with an RBI single in the second and a big two-run blast that gave the Twins the lead for good in the the third. However, Kubel is probably more important to discuss. Before the last two games for Kubel, he had been on a hitless streak for 15 at-bats, culminating in the ugliest at-bat of the year in Wednesday's punishing loss to Detroit.

He finally broke it at 16 at-bats Thursday and in that game and last night's victory, Kubel was 6-for-7. Yesterday, he had hits in all three at-bats, drove in two runs, walked, and stole his third base of the year while raising his season line to .257/.310/.424. After what was likely the worst week or so of his career offensively, there is once again hope Kubel has pulled out of his slump. Of course, for many Twins fans, it became hard not to write Kubel off after he stared at three straight strikes down the middle on Wednesday. However, his power numbers really aren't that bad, as he is on pace for 31 doubles, 15 home runs, and 74 RBI. Kubel needs to show more patience and learn more consistency, but the talent still seems to be there and as hard as it is at times, fans should continue to show patience. It should be noted that despite his awful slump, due to the last two games and his performance in the double-header against Chicago earlier this month, Kubel is hitting .310/.367/.595 in July with 3 home runs and 13 RBI.

It's interesting that after facing two great pitchers from Detroit in Andrew Miller and Jeremy Bonderman and largely flailing away, the Twins offense broke out against John Lackey, who came into the game with a 12-5 record and as one of the major Cy Young candidates in the league. As much as Lackey was shelled, the Twins' Carlos Silva didn't fare too much better and the defense for both teams added to their starting pitchers' troubles, as three of the twelve runs allowed by the two starters were unearned. While Silva was largely ineffective, the Twins once again show what an asset their bullpen is, as Dennys Reyes, Juan Rincon, and Joe Nathan combined for 2 1/3 scoreless innings to end the game.

Today's matchup should prove interesting for fans and Twins hitters alike, as young Angels phenom Jered Weaver takes on Boof Bonser. Let's once again hope that there is even a figment of consistency in this offense. Better yet, let's hope that Jason Tyner and Garrett Jones aren't in the outfield at the same time.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh Nickies' slow(l)ey you 'both together' have become one of the best Twinslogs there is.. Keep on nickin'!

Nick N. said...

Haha, thank you. Much appreciated!

Dan said...

I agree that people should be patient with Kubel. The guy has a lot of talent; I remember him tearing it up with a .343 AVG and 16 HR for the Red Wings before being called up and hitting .300 for the Twins.

I wonder why they didn't give him a little more time in the minors when he came back from his knee injury? It was pretty clear he wasn't back to form yet (hitting "only" .283).

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