It was a good game for the Twins, resulting in a 2-0 win at Comerica Park, their first shutout since August 31st against the Royals and eighth of the season. If the Twins win tomorrow, they will officially eliminate the Tigers from the playoff race, but that is all but a formality at this point. Still, it would add a little something to a victory tomorrow. Carlos Silva had a brilliant start, giving up just six hits and no runs in 7 2/3 innings, his fourth time this season not allowing a single run. Silva has now allowed three earned runs or less in ten of his last eleven outings, although in one of them he left after three innings. Other than those two starts, though, he has pitched at least six innings in all of those games. Obviously, his performance has an effect on his market price and the ability and/or willingness of the Twins to re-sign him. He has one start left this season, presumably coming on September 29th against the Boston Red Sox.
Afterwards, Glen Perkins came in in relief of Silva to get the last out of the eighth with a man on second. Yet again, Perkins was successful, meaning he has not allowed a run or any inherited runners to score in his five appearances since his recent call-up. To be fair, that selection of time is very small (3 2/3 innings), but he has come into some tough situations, and I think his performance is very promising. I definitely look at him as clearly a better solution than either Dennys Reyes or Carmen Cali in the bullpen or even possibly as a starter sometime in the future.
Joe Nathan picked up his 35th save in the game, which brings him within one of last year's total of 36. It was also his 7th save of the month, bringing him within one of his monthly high this season. The offense was not good in the game, but being as the pitching was so good, I'm willing to look past that at this point of the season. I know the Twins don't really have any other options, but having Matthew LeCroy in the lineup is a disappointment. And I also know he is apparently a great guy, but he just isn't a major league caliber player anymore. When Torii Hunter and Justin Morneau singled, and Michael Cuddyer walked in the third inning with two outs, it seemed like something big could happen. But then I became aware of the fact that LeCroy was coming up next, and subsequently lost hope very quickly. Not to my surprise, he popped out to end the inning. The Tigers also took advantage of his poor defense, stealing four bases, something that almost certainly wouldn't have happened had Joe Mauer or Mike Redmond been healthy enough to play. Or probably even if Chris Heintz were playing.
On a note completely unrelated to the Twins, I want to make sure everyone heard what happened to Milton Bradley, when he suffered one of the strangest injuries I have ever heard of. First base umpire Mike Winters apparently said something that really didn't sit well with Bradley, and a heated argument ensued. Padres manager Bud Black then ran out to hold him back. As Bradley struggled with Black, he fell to the ground clutching his knee. Later, he learned he had a torn ACL, and will be out for the season with the Padres sitting a 1/2 game ahead in the National League Wild Card. For the complete story, click here.
In tomorrow's game, Matt Garza (4-6, 3.72) will face righthander Yorman Bazardo (1-1, 3.24). This is the second time in less than a week the Twins are up against the rookie Bazardo, who has now pitched 18 1/3 big league innings, and has made just the one start. In that start, he did not pitch terribly, but also did not stay in for the requisite five innings needed to pick up the win. Although lefties have had only 32 at bats against him and righties just 31, there is a very distinct difference in his numbers to each side. Righthanded batters have hit a paltry .097/.194/.161, while lefthanded batters have hit .313/.333/.594. Again, the sample size is small, but a difference that big indicates that, although the gap will close, lefties hit Bazardo much better. This will definately help Gardy, as he is incapable of looking at splits, and these splits go along with the traditional logic of playing lefthanded batters versus righthanded pitchers.
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