Thursday, May 3, 2007

Not Good

The Twins wrapped up their season series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays tonight. They lost 6-4 giving the Devil Rays the season series 4 games to 3. They are now 15-13 on the year and 3.5 games behind division leading Cleveland.

The Devil Rays? The Devil Rays? for a team that is supposed to be contending for a World Series title this year, losing the season series to the Rays is not a good omen. The Twins should have taken at least, at least, 5 games.

Tonight's game was particularly painful. With the bases loaded, batting champion Joe Mauer struck out swinging and then MVP Justin Morneau grounded into an inning-ending double play. Ouch!

The Twins big question mark heading into the season was the starting pitching following Johan Santana. So far, the staff has held up pretty well. Boof Bonser is 0-1 with a 4.55 ERA. He has 32 strikeouts and 20 walks. Those are pretty weak numbers for being a month into the season but the Twins are 3-3 when he starts. Boof needs to regain his control and go deeper into ballgames. His longest outing of the season is only 6 innings.

Ramon Ortiz has been a very pleasant surprise. He is 3-2 with a 3.23 ERA. He won his first three starts in dominating fashion and has been a victim of poor run support in his last three outings, giving up 3 runs over 7 innings in a loss at the Royals on April 22, 2 runs over 6 innings in a no decision at the Tigers on April 27 - a game which the Twins won, and 4 runs over 7 innings tonight against the Devil Rays. The Twins need to get this guy some more runs. He has pitched well enough to be at least 4-1 thus far.

Carlos Silva has bounced back well from last season's 11-15, 5.94 ERA. This season he is 2-1 with a 3.10 ERA. Once again the Twins have a winning record when Silva starts; they are 3-2. Last season Silva struggled because he allowed a lot of base runners and made the problem worse by surrendering a lot of home runs. This season, the command Silva showed in 2005 has returned - he has allowed only 7 walks in 5 starts and has a WHIP of 1.52. More encouraging is the fact that Silva has given up only 2 homers so far this season. Silva needs to continue to keep the ball down in the zone and he will be a very effective starter for the Twins. We'll see Silva again tomorrow night at home against the Boston Red Sox.

What can you say about Sidney Ponson? He's awful!!! He's 2-3 with a 6.67 ERA. His last start Tuesday at the Devil Rays when he went 7 innings giving up only 1 run but he has been tagged by the Yankees and the Royals. We'll see Ponson on Sunday against the Red Sox. I believed at the beginning of the season that the Twins would give Ponson 1 month to prove himself. Its now May and Ponson is still in the rotation. I don't think it will be long until we see Glen Perkins, 11.1 innings 3.18 ERA out of the bullpen (in 1 bad outing against the Devil Rays Perkins gave up 3 runs on a homer, otherwise he has allowed only 1 run) or Matt Garza - 1-1, 2.88 ERA, 27 K in 25 innings at AAA Rochester, make a start in place of Ponson.

But the pitching is not the problem. Despite good overall numbers, the Twins hitters are failing in the clutch where they excelled last year. They are not 'Smelling the RBIs' like the did last year and the Piranhas aren't biting like they did last year.

The pitching staff has done its part, now its time to wake up the bats and start hitting.

Here's hoping the Twins fare better against the Red Sox this weekend, than they did against the Devil Rays!

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