Denard Span reached base all five times he came to the plate yesterday, collecting 4 hits and a walk. His speed was of particular importance, as 2 of his 4 hits did not leave the infield. And his perfect OBP in the game displayed exactly why on base skills are coveted in leadoff hitters, and why this makes Span a valuable player. In the first inning, he singled to center and advanced to second and then third on two wild pitches. In his second at bat (third inning), he hit an infield single, stole second, and advanced to third on a throwing error on the play. He followed that with another infield single in the fourth, and again advanced to second and third on two wild pitches. In his fourth at bat, he singled again, moved to second on Joe Mauer's single, and took third on another wild pitch. In his fifth at bat, he walked to load the bases, meaning he couldn't advance any bases.
Obviously, part of that is the wildness of the Red Sox pitchers last night, as Daisuke Matsuzaka threw four wild pitches and the relievers added two more; but it shows the value of having somebody on base when that occurs. He got on base five times, and in the four times where there was no one in front of him he advanced to third every time with the total aid of one single. Only in two instances did Span score, but giving the mashers behind him a chance to drive him in, especially from scoring position, is invaluable.
A few other notes from Wednesday's game:
==>Delmon Young picked up his first two hits since rejoining the Twins. It seems as if Carlos Gomez has immediately returned to being the odd man out with Delmon back.
==>Jason Kubel had a very good game, accruing 2 hits and 2 walks, including an RBI double.
==>Michael Cuddyer came to the plate with the bases loaded in the sixth inning 0-3 with 3 strikeouts. So what does Justin Masterson do? He hits him--a nice way to help someone out who's having a terrible game. Cuddyer would later double, though.
==>The pitching was very good again. Kevin Slowey started it off with six solid innings, allowing six hits and a walk. The bullpen trio of Jose Mijares, Matt Guerrier, and Joe Nathan then held the Red Sox hitless over the final three innings.