"Let us go forth a while, and get better air in our lungs. Let us leave our closed rooms...
The game of ball is glorious."

--Walt Whitman

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

South Pause

In the twelfth inning, the seventh man to bat was the first to make an out. And that about sums up the last, pathetic chapter of a game that began with 11 innings of close, exciting baseball.

Up until the twelfth, the Twins managed to hang in there despite the departure of our starting pitcher after five innings and an injury-plagued lineup hitting erratically against a Cleveland club that was pitching well and smacking the ball all over the field. Silva was laboring from the beginning, throwing around 20 pitches an inning and, succumbing to those middle-inning jitters he gets when he's not given any run support, getting knocked out of the game by a three-run fifth inning which pushed him over 100 pitches on the night. And after that, it was an all-out Bullpen Revue for the Twins as Perkins cruised through a couple of innings, Rincón struggled through a scoreless inning-plus, Reyes walked the only batter he faced, Neshek did that voodoo that he do so well, Crain sailed through a 1-2-3 eleventh, and then...

Well. Let's just say Crain's 12th wasn't so uneventful. Nor was Nathan's.

Not that the Twins batters can be excused. Four of the nine went hitless on the night, and only one of those took a walk. Starter Jeremy Sowers did pitch well, I don't want to take anything away from him, but he's no Johan Santana. The Twins still have a rare knack for making average lefties look like minor demigods--they're hitting .245/.280/.638 against lefties this season. That .280, by the bye, is the worst OBP in the AL against lefties at the time of this writing.

It certainly hasn't helped that Luis Castillo has been out with a sore leg during this rash of lefty encounters (four of the last five games), seeing as he's pretty darn good against the southpaws. And there's nothing quite like your leadoff guy getting on base to give the rest of the lineup a little confidence.

Luckily, this spate of lefty starters is over and the Twins will only face one lefty in the next five games, KC's Odalis Perez on Wednesday against our very own Sir Sidney Ponson. I recommend drinking heavily before, and possibly during, that one. Unless you're Sidney Ponson.

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