Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Back on Track

After that sky-is-falling road trip, the Twins have now won three straight, including the last two over the rival White Sox. That also means the Twins are just two games behind Detroit, who lost again to Texas, and are tied with the White Sox at 51-50.

It didn't start so well last night, as Mark Buehrle picked up right where he left off from his perfect game, retiring the first 17 Twins hitters of the game. With that he broke the all-time record for consecutive outs recorded, putting him at 45 (41 was the previous record). Buehrle, I noticed, works very quickly, and that was evidenced by the fact that the Twins were only batting for 22 minutes total for the first five innings. A game that moved that fast would be over in 1 hour and 19 minutes.

But then Alexi Casilla walked to take away the perfect game, Denard Span singled to break up the no-hitter, and Joe Mauer doubled--on a play Scott Podsednik probably should have made--to tie the game at one. They came back out for the seventh with more of the same: 3 singles, a hit batsmen, and a sac bunt chased Buehrle, and Octavio Dotel followed with 3 walks before he was able to finish the inning. By then it was 5-1 Twins and Jose Mijares was in line for his first Major League win.

That's not to say that everything was positive. Scott Baker again struggled with his pitch count, despite not having any control problems. Though he pitched very well, it took him 115 pitches to get through six innings, even with 82 of them (71.3) being for strikes. And Bobby Keppel struggled again, continuing a recent trend (last 4 games: 3.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 4 BB, 1 K) showing that he, and the long relievers in general, are not going to be sufficient plugs for the bullpen.

This division is emminently winnable and a deal for Freddy Sanchez, as discussed in the last post, or a reliever, as I'll discuss later today, will make it the Twins for the taking.

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