Twins 10, Tigers 4
Juan Castro subs for Jason Bartlett at shortstop, so he hits second. Matthew LeCroy subs for Justin Morneau at first base, so he hits cleanup. Lew Ford subs for Torii Hunter in center field, so he hits fifth. Someone really should tell Ron Gardenhire that it's the player who should determine where they bat in the order, not the position they are playing. At least he resisted batting Mike Redmond third. And yes, I realize I keep commenting on this every couple games. However, in my defense, Gardenhire keeps doing it.
It was great to see Ford break out of his early season slump with a big game. As I noted here, he hit the ball very well in the first two games of the Detroit series, but couldn't get anything to fall for hits. They finally did last night, as he went 3-for-5 with a walk, a double, and a three-run homer. Ford went from hitting .214/.290/.250 to hitting .267/.333/.433 in one night, which tells you how worried people should be about early struggles from good players.
LeCroy continued to do a nice job replacing Morneau's bat in the lineup, going 2-for-4 with an RBI single to raise his season line to .304/.385/.478. He also had a homer taken away by Craig Monroe. Jacque Jones also kept up his hot hitting, collecting three hits in four at-bats to raise his batting average to .407 on the year. He even went 2-for-3 against lefty Nate Robertson, which will keep his strongest supporters e-mailing me for another few weeks (until his numbers against southpaws fall back to more typical levels).
After failing to draw a single walk in his first eight games of the season, Michael Cuddyer drew not one, not two, but three free passes last night. Of course, he also struck out twice in two at-bats to drop his batting average to .188, but I'm calling it a very good night anyway.
On the opposite end of the hitting spectrum is Luis Rivas, who went 1-for-3 to raise his batting average to the emptiest .316 in baseball history. He has zero extra-base hits and has yet to draw a single walk, which when combined with his sacrifice last night gives him an on-base percentage that is actually lower than his batting average. In other words, he's an 0-for-3 night away from having a .500 OPS.
How Kyle Farnsworth gives up four runs all season, let alone in the same inning, is beyond me. Seeing him get knocked around after looking at him and watching him throw in the bullpen is really jarring. Farnsworth now has a 5.40 ERA this year after having a 4.73 ERA last season. That would be like if you sat in awe as Albert Pujols took batting practice before each game, watched him strut to the plate before each at-bat, and then saw him hit .220 with 11 homers on the year. I guess that's the difference between pitching and hitting.
That's it from me for this game. It's late, I'm tired, and there's no sense basking in the glory of sweeping the Tigers when the Twins are on the way to Cleveland as I write this. Oh, by the way, Dmitri Young appears to be better at hitting a baseball than he is at handicapping division races.
Today at The Hardball Times:
- Maniacally In-Klined (by John Brattain)
Today's Picks (12-7, +$580):
Houston (Oswalt) -110 over Cincinnati (Wilson)