Thursday, April 10, 2008

Nostradamus Nick

I was feeling a good vibe yesterday. So, at 4:30 in the afternoon, I came on the blog and made the following comment: "Random prediction: the Twins are going to win in blowout fashion tonight." Well, the Twins ended up winning last night's game against the White Sox 12-5, proving my prediction accurate. And I felt like quite the prognosticator.

In fairness, my prediction wasn't based completely on a "good vibe." Basically, I didn't think much of the opposing starter, John Danks, and mostly I just felt like this offense was due for an explosion. It came in the form of a 12-run outburst, highlighted by Jason Kubel's six RBI (including a grand slam in the sixth inning.) Mike Lamb went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI, Brendan Harris collected three hits and is now batting .348 on the season, and while Carlos Gomez had only one hit in five at-bats, he hit a two-run double with the bases loaded in the third and also drew a walk to lead off the game.

And my suspicions about Danks proved accurate on this night. He got just five outs while surrendering seven earned runs on seven hits and three walks. The Twins showed good patience in the game, forcing Danks and reliever Nick Masset to throw a combined 140 pitches over the first six innings, taking 61 of those pitches for balls.

Scott Baker had a decent outing, going five innings while giving up three runs on three solo homers. Being that he's a fly ball pitcher, the home runs are going to come against Baker, but fortunately he was able to minimize the damage last night by keeping runners off the bases. Brian Bass earned a save by pitching four strong innings, allowing just one earned run on three hits. My guess it that Bass' solid outing earned him a chance to get the start on Sunday in place of Kevin Slowey, who has been scratched, although an extra starter may not be needed due to weather cancellations.

In the past, the Twins offense has had a tendency to score a bunch of runs in one game and then enter a drought. Let's hope that doesn't happen here. Frankly, I'm fairly optimistic about this team right now. The pitching has been better than I'd expected, the offense is showing signs of awakening, and the AL Central competition has been far from dazzling up to this point (although the Tigers did finally win their first game last night). There's a very good chance tonight's game will be canceled, but if the Twins and White Sox do indeed play, let's hope the Minnesota offense can pick up where it left off last night.

11 comments:

WWCD said...

Hopeful sign in Gardy's comments after the game about Kubel getting more at bats this year.

Anonymous said...

if you can predict things based on a hunch, you are one up on gardy. maybe you should be managing.

RM said...

Ten bucks says the Twins score like 5 runs in the next week.

David said...

I had the same thought about Danks. I imagine the Twins hitters were looking forward to that game.

It was fun to see Kubel hit that grand slam!

And rm, the Gomez-Mauer duo will produce at least 5 runs in the next week.

Halfchest said...

I think Scott Baker's homeruns were an effect of him attacking the strike zone more than normal given the big league. The fact that he had 7 K's to go with the 3 homers makes me feel a little bit better. If it had been a closer game or if there were people on base I bet he wouldn't have been quite as aggressive. Great game, I think we all needed to see the offense produce and now hope they can continue some of that success.

Super Terrific said...

The last time we faced Contreras we battered him for 13 hits and seven runs. The time before that ten hits and seven runs. Hopefully more of the same tonight. Granted Jason Rynet Tyner did drive in three runs the last time we faced him and we don't have his formidable stick in the lineup tonight.

sbg said...

Last year, GreekHouse wrote a piece at my site that showed how poor offenses are more likely to have a single game here and there of high output and a large number of games with pathetic output as opposed to a more even distribution of runs.

Anonymous said...

Aw man, sbg, what a way to try & suck the fun out of last night's win.

I was at the game that John Danks pitched at the Dome last May, and that one was sweet for the Twins too. I was hoping this one would be good.

Dick-n-Bert were hoping Kubel would hit one into the gap, but I knew he was going to do better than that.

Nick N. said...

Last year, GreekHouse wrote a piece at my site that showed how poor offenses are more likely to have a single game here and there of high output and a large number of games with pathetic output as opposed to a more even distribution of runs.

That makes sense, and certainly fits with what the Twins' offense did last year. I'm hoping that this year's unit can be a little more consistent since this offense doesn't contain as many black holes.

Dick-n-Bert were hoping Kubel would hit one into the gap, but I knew he was going to do better than that.

Kubel has been demonstrably unlucky in the big leagues. It seems like he has a lot of hard-hit line drives hit directly at fielders, and the statistics back that up -- he consistently posts high LD% numbers but his average doesn't seem to correspond.

Last year his LD% was 22.1; the only qualifying hitters who had higher percentages were Michael Young, Chone Figgins, Placido Polanco, Jack Cust and Jorge Posada. With the exceptions of Cust and Willits, none of those players hits below .315. And of course, Willits hit .293 as a rookie and Cust was one of the league's elite power hitters.

So yeah, bad luck for Kubel last year. That's a big reason why I've been hugely optimistic about him this year.

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