Weekend of good caution
- Blog Post by: Howard Sinker
- May 9, 2010 - 5:37 PM
I'm sure some of you imagined the Twins sweeping through the weekend series with the woeful Orioles and watching the home team's record improve from 19-9 to 23-9, currently known in baseball as Yankees and Rays Territory.
But the Twins pulled off two clunkers in the first half of the series -- losing plate discipline in Thursday's opener and having Francisco Liriano get too many pitches up in the first half of Saturday's doubleheader.
It was a good reminder that a bad major league baseball team isn't as bad as, say, a bad NFL team or a bad NBA team. You could watch the Wolves (you could because I usually didn't) and know that most opponents could pretty much name a margin of victory depending on what they needed to do or prove or whatever on a given night this season.
The Twins took care of Baltimore quite handily in the final two games.
Scott Baker pitched a game that was a joy to watch -- which we did from behind home plate, five rows up from the see-me-on-me-cellphone seats -- on Saturday night. Not a lot of lot of pitches (97 in 8 innings) and only one fly ball out, which meant he was keeping the ball typically low. Go back and look at his career stats and you'll see a dramatic predisposition for fly balls, which have a tendency to become home runs on days when he's a bit off.
In Saturday night's chill -- which wasn't bad at all, by the way -- he had most Orioles chopping routine grounders or striking out.
Sunday's Nick Blackburn was shutout good and the Twins showed much more of a clue at the plate than they did in the first two games. The game-breaking rally in the fourth was entirely the product of two-out hitting -- starting with Happy Harris and Alexi Casilla, doing fill-in work for the injured Hudson & Hardy. The backups allowed Justin Morneau to suffer through a 4-for-4 (in strikeouts) afternoon and keep all but the unhappiest souls from grumbling that Nick Punto was slipped into the No. 2 spot -- where he had two hits and a sacrifice fly.
Getting their game back means the Twins are now 5-2 on the homestand. Because of the way they came back from losses, I'm thinking it's better they lost two to Baltimore (which can be viewed as lapses from their A game) as opposed to losing two to Detroit (which could raise fears about the remaining dozen games between the teams).
Harris even had a cheerful postgame moment, when he explained on the radio that he didn't like the feel of the Mother's Day pink bat he using but, because he was lugging a .180 average, it was probably a good idea to change up something. Raising your average 42 points in a day can send the pouty face on hiatus.
One other weekend thought: Watching Drew Butera work behind the plate on Saturday night makes me wish that he can do something that would make him a .250 hitter. He works the game like a catcher well beyond his years, and it was cool to see him pick up that other catcher -- Mower or Mauer or Mauler or something -- with the two-run single that broke the game open after Mauer's strikeout in the eighth.
RBI: Butera 2, Ramos 1.
A day off and the 13-19 White Sox come to town. Don't get overconfident -- but it's OK to chuckle.
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