Today, the Twins complete their 2007 home schedule, as they try to avoid being swept by the White Sox. The Twins home record currently stands exactly at .500 (40-40), so let's hope they can finish the home schedule with a win and subsequently a winning home record. The undefeated Kevin Slowey (3-0, 5.00) takes the hill against the lefty Gavin Floyd (1-4, 5.65), as he tries to push his streak to start his career to 12 straight appearances (10 starts) without a loss. Slowey has done well since being recalled at the beginning of the month, posting a 3.18 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 8.47 K/9 in 17 innings thus far. With a lefty starting for the Sox, we can assume that Brian Buscher will be able to find a spot on the bench pretty easily. After all his struggles against lefties have been well-documented so far this year: he is only 2-8 with one walk. In all seriousness, if Nick Punto and his .176/.245/.243 line against lefties this year and Luis Rodriguez, who has hit only .229 with just 2 doubles against lefties in his career (including 6 singles in 29 at bats this year), play over Buscher and Alexi Casilla (.295/.309/.346 vs. lefties), I will be frustrated and upset once again, but not at all surprised. Obviously, Buscher and Casilla should be playing for more reasons beyond just their splits against lefties, but it seems that all Gardy uses in his decisions are that young players aren't worth playing and that you never play lefties against a southpaw hurler. I would certainly be happy to eat my words and have Gardy play the two youngsters, especially after checking on Floyd's splits and seeing that lefties have actually had an advantage against him this year (but then again Gardy didn't notice that about Buerhle):
vs. RH .299/.345/.535
vs. LH .315/.383/.537
On another note, today's game may very well be the last time that we see Torii Hunter trot out to centerfield in the Metrodome with a Twins uniform on. Torii first appeared in a Twins uni in 1997, as he got into a game but did not get an at bat that year. After getting 17 at bats in 1998, Hunter was handed the full-time job in 1999, and succeeded in hitting .255/.309/.380 in his rookie season. Since then, he's been one of the most popular Twins players, and though maybe younger players like Joe Mauer have succeeded him by this point, he remains a charismatic player who's popular among the fan base. If he does indeed leave the Twins via free agency this season, it will certainly be a sad day, and I hope he does well in what might be his final Twins home game today.