Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Good to be Home

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.

10 comments:

Twins Fix said...

I'm curious. I've tried to start a discussion about this on my blog, but either nobody is reading or nobody cares.

What are your views on Gomez's lack of stolen bases? I think it is a huge black mark against the the organization, namely Gardy. I doubt Gomez can make the call whether or not to steal by himself, and those calls are not coming from the dugout.

Why waste Gomez's speed.

Nick M. said...

Well since stolen bases are Gomez's only real offensive value at this point, its a good question. But I'm not sure that Gardy has reigned Gomez in and decided that he should not steal bases. Maybe that is part of it, but I think there is simply just a lot of confusion over Gomez's recent lack of stolen bases. Perhaps he simply lost confidence or the impetus to steal and is now getting back. Either way, Gardy does need to encourage him to put the speed on and bring some offensive value to the table.

Anonymous said...

Span scoring from second on that infield hit by Morneau was very disappointing because it took away the save opportunity for Joe N.

rob said...

Hopefully the coaching staff is trying to teach Gomez to read the pitcher better. It's possible that the powers that be want him to just be able to observe without the pressure of trying to steal.

the frenchman said...

Isn't part of the reason Gomez has so few SBs that he rarely gets on base? Also, it seems like a lot of the times he does get on aren't really stealing situations.

Anonymous said...

Funny what a new day brings- that's why baseball's the tops. Ride the wave. What will Everett do tonight? ...

Judd
C.P. Twins Blogger

Nick N. said...

Re: Gomez's SB drop-off.

I think it mostly has to do with the fact that he now has Span hitting behind him, and before that Casilla. These are the types of players that Gardenhire likes to bunt with, so apparently the preference is to move him to second base with a sacrifice rather than a steal. I find this rather stupid since it wastes an out when Gomez cau usually move into scoring position on his own since he is a highly efficient base-stealer against right-handed pitchers, but it's just Gardenhire's mindset.

toby said...

It's good he's not stealing. He needs to be in the minors learning how to steal. Getting caught stealing has a much higher negative run expectancy vs. successfully stealing second and Gomez's success rate hasn't even begun to cutt the mustard since the opposition started paying attention in May. *sigh* It's sad that the Twins can't see how GOOD the minors would be for the kid right now.

The sac bunting behind him is, of course, absurd, but I'm already on record questioning Gardy's literacy, so understanding a run expectancy table is gonna be WAY beyond him.

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