After a sloppy weekend series against the Royals, embodied by the very weak play of both Adam Everett and Nick Punto, the Twins garnered a very solid victory over the Yankees yesterday. Rather than discuss Everett's self-admittedly fluke home run that barely made the stands, the aspects of this game that deserve analysis are Glen Perkins' awesome start, the hustle of Denard Span and the overall play of the team. It would seem that Everett's homer comes as a timely slap in the face to my colleague who ripped on the shortstop in this space yesterday, but I am not ready to get too excited about a guy with a .213/.276/.351 hitting line.
Perkins didn't display outstanding control (70 strikes to 37 balls, three walks), but he only allowed four hits in eight innings while striking out four and picking up his ninth win, giving him a 9-3 record. Nothing in his numbers screams dominance, as he's allowed 129 hits in 110 2/3 innings with only 56 strikeouts against 29 walks. It feels like his success isn't terribly sustainable, given that he's a fly ball pitcher (0.90 groundball-to-flyball ratio) who doesn't rack up strikeouts, but to his credit last night's terrific start ended a short slump and brought his ERA back down to 4.07.
Span was probably the brightest offensive star, showing great hustle on the basepaths and scoring two of the Twins runs to help secure a victory. In the sixth inning, Span doubled, moved over on a Punto sacrifice, and scored on a Joe Mauer sacrifice fly. More impressive, though, was scoring from second on a infield hit by Justin Morneau in the eighth inning, adding a run that all but sealed the victory. Otherwise, the Twins didn't do too much against Sidney Ponson, but at least they finally scored a victory against the former Twins hurler.
In the end, though its disappointing that the Twins are a much more solid, fundamentally sound team at home while being a frustrating enigma on the road, at least they seem to be getting the job done against all comers -- including potent squads like the Yankees -- in their home stadium.
That home cooking will be put to the test tonight with Mike Mussina, a career Twins-killer, on the hill against Nick Blackburn.