Notebook Dump (5.17.08)
Game: Twinks 4, Rox 2
Place: 2nd, 0.5 back
* Nick Blackburn continues to show poise of a much more experienced pitcher, tossing seven innings at Coors and limiting the Rockies to six hits and two runs. Finishing with a Game Score of 63, Blackburn struck out five Rockies and did not allow anyone to reach on a walk. Blackburn also went 1-3 at the plate after slipping a chopper between third baseman Garrett Atkins and Clint Barmes.
* Delmon Young had his 13th multi-hit game of the season however this was the first time he has had a multi-extra base hit game all season after his two doubles. Going into the Colorado series, Young was batting .263/.309/.296. The 3-4 night lifted his numbers to .276/.319/.321. Over the last five games Young is 7-for-23, batting .304/.360/.391. Even without the power, it is hard to sit him. After committing a fatal base running gaff against Toronto when he rounded the base too hard only to be thrown out by Brad Wilkerson from mid-right field when catcher Greg Zaun trailed Young up the line. His overzealous basepath behavior ended up killing a potential rally. Friday Young made a wise decision, tagging up from second to third on a Mike Lamb flyball to the left-center gap. With Adam Everett up and Nick Blackburn in the hole with one-out Young had enough presence to realize that scoring from second would be difficult-to-impossible. Everett came into the game batting .190 and Blackburn just had his first at-bat since high school a few innings prior. When Everett lofted a deep flyball to left-fielder Ryan Spilborghs, Young trotted home resulting in the difference making run. "That was a good bit of baserunning," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He read it, got back, tagged up and got there."
* MEDIC! Matt Tolbert is the latest Twins causality with a torn ligament in his left thumb. Currently they have Tolbert on the 15-day DL but with that kind of trauma, it should be anticipated that Tolbert will miss more time then just the two weeks. As LaValle notes, the Twins system is depleted in middle infielders. Luke Hughes and Matt Macri are both recovering from injuries of their own while journeyman infielder Chris Basak isn't performing to snuff (.221/.309/.337 in 86 at-bats). Aside from reaching down to grab Hughes from New Britain, the Twins also had Trevor Plouffe and Steven Tolleson hitting .290/.338/.427 and .302/.408/.519 respectively. Tolleson had a rough stretch where he was batting .139 after a 0-for-19 mid-April slump. Since then he has raised his average to .302 and was named Eastern League player of the week (May 11th). Instead of taking a gamble on the 22-year-old and 24-year-old raw energy prospects at double-A, the Twins opted for the 34-year-old Howie Clark who is batting .240/.303/.354 while playing 26 games at second base. Clark is a career .282/.356/.402 minor league hitter and in 335 major league plate appearances, Clark has hit .262/.331/.354 with Toronto and Baltimore.
* Because the Twins recalled Alexi Casilla to replace the injured Nick Punto as the spare utility part, Rochester was so thin that the Twins picked up the 24-year-old Sergio Santos from the Toronto Blue Jays. Santos has spent his minor league career split between the Diamondbacks and Blue Jays organization. Santos played the majority of the 2008 season at triple-A Syracuse logging 224 innings at third base committing 5 errors (.906 fielding percentage) in that duration. Last year while with the double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, Santos hit 20 home runs in 479 at-bats and slugged .477. A career .249/.307/.396 minor league hitter, the logic behind acquiring Santos is strictly a roster-filler.
* Livan Hernandez, 2nd in the American League with 9 home runs surrendered, will have to work hard to keep the ball in the park at Coors. Over his career, Hernandez has tossed 74.1 innings and give up 11 home runs and has a 6.78 era there. Looking to continue providing the Twins with wins so long as the offense continues to provide it (6.63 runs per game), and Hernandez might be able to assist in that department. He is one of the few Twins pitchers that is novice with a bat. In 887 career plate appearances, Hernandez has hit 9 home runs with 73 rbis and maintains a career .232/.241/.314 batting line.
* Twins face the touted Gregory Reynolds, the Rockies 1st round draft pick in 2006. Armed with a 90.7 mph fastball and a 78 mph curve (a 12 mph difference) the 6'7", 220-lb Reynolds made a rapid climb from high-A ball in 2006 to triple-A to begin this season to being called up to the big club. Reynolds has only logged 133 innings in the minors carrying a 2.98 era and 1.20 whip. His peripheral numbers are not overwhelming as indicated by a 14.6% strike out rate but he throws strikes as highlighted by his low 5.8% walk rate.