Raul Ibanez is absolutely killing the Twins so far in this three-game series. He's gone 6-for-10 with two home runs and 11 RBI. That's right, ELEVEN RBI, my friends. And Matt Guerrier, who is simply not cut out for the set up role, has now given up eight runs in his past five outings. That's a sparkling 19.64 ERA over that stretch (3 2/3 IP). And it's not like the starting pitching has been any good either - Scott Baker(what happened?) and Glen Perkins combined to pitch 11 2/3 innings, giving up 11 runs on 21 hits and three walks. What the hell happened to our pitching on the trip out West? Add to it the fact that our bullpen has a four-run differential in its home/road ERA splits, and this seemingly powder-puff road trip to Seattle and KC could turn out disastrous.
The good news/silver lining in all of this is that the Twins' bats have actually been pretty good, providing 13 combined runs of support in the two losses. On Monday, J-Mo and Mauer each collected two hits, and Mike Lamb (3-for-6 in the series) even drove in a run. Tuesday was Kubel day, as Jason bashed his 15th and 16th homers of the season. Too bad it wasn't enough... it's like Guerrier is trying to keep it close or something. Unbelievable.
Nick Blackburn (8-6, 3.56 ERA) will try to salvage the Seattle series at 3:40 CST today... it's nice to have a day game after two late finishes. Blackburn has been the best starter of late, with a 2.21 ERA and sub 1.000 WHIP over his past six starts (including the NYY debacle!). He's probably our best chance outside of Liriano to stop the bleeding, and he'll face Jerrod Washburn (5-10, 4.77 ERA), who's been excellent in his own right lately before getting absolutely bombed for six runs and 13 combined base runners on August 1. I'll be listening at work... hope you all enjoy the game!
Last, it looks like Michael Cuddyer is going to be back next week (August 10 is likely) after a quick rehab stint in Rochester! Good news all around.
Let's talk Minor Leagues... it's been too long!
-- Daniel Valencia has kept hitting for AA New Britain, stroking three multi-hit games in his past four appearances - 7-for-18 (.388) over that period.
--Also in New Britain, David Winfree has turned up the heat of late, batting .389 over his past 10 games, bucking the trend of his .239 season average. He's got eight RBI, a homer and four multi-hit games during this productive streak.
--Looks like Jeff Manship is going to be chilling in Double-A for the rest of this season. He gave up another four runs on 10 hits with just two strikeouts last night for the Rock Cats. This, coming off a solid performance (6 IP, ER) in his last start.
--It's nice to see a catcher with power, and Wilson Ramos (A-Fort Myers) flashed the bat again Monday night, hammering his 12th home run of the season.
--Luke Hughes is batting .300 in 20 Triple-A at bats so far, and seems to be holding his own with two multi-hit games over his past four starts.
--Jason Pridie is officially on fire in Rochester as he now has an 11-game hit streak where he's batted .396 and driven in nine runs as the leadoff man. He stole his 20th and 21st bases over that stretch as well, and is looking like a sure-bet to be called up Sept. 1.
--Another recent call up to Triple-A, Anthony Swarzak, had himself a GREAT time Monday night, pitching seven solid innings to earn his second win with Rochester. Swarzak gave up just two runs and scattered eight hits and a walk while striking out five. That's now a 2.25 ERA over his first two starts... and the Twins keep pumping out pitching prospects...
--With five homers over his past 10 games and a current .326/.387.582 hitting line for Elizabethton so far this season (44 games), it's pretty obvious that Jonathan Waltenbury is going to get a promotion at some point. He's been tearing up the league and pounded out two home runs last night, his seventh and eighth on the season.
--Last, Cole Devries bounced back in a big way for Fort Myers this past Saturday, going six innings and striking out nine batters for his eighth win of the year. Devries allowed eight base runners and gave up two runs, but it was a far cry from his previous outing where he let five men cross the plate.
Thanks for reading - have a great day!