Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Santana great; Kubel saves the day

First off, I kinda feel like a prophet, because I just wrote about Kubel Monday, and about how he was hitting the ball better and looking more comfortable at the plate. So what does he do Tuesday? Well, nothing but hit a walkoff GS in the bottom of the 12th inning, his 3rd HR of the year, after working the count to 3-2. Not too bad.

Of course, this was made possible by Julian Tavarez, my new favorite opposing pitcher. He managed to bean Mike Cuddyer, serve a meatball to Morneau for a ground-rule double, intentionally walk Hunter, and then give up the 3-2 GS to Kubel. So thanks Julian!

In the spirit of the blog, I have to mention that Joe Nathan pitched another shutout inning. It wasn't his prettiest outing of the year, as he gave up a hit and a BB in his one inning of work, but hey, he extended the game, lowering his ERA to 1.87. His fellow reliever, Juan Rincon pitched 2 great innings to lower his ERA to 1.60.

One good thing is that unlike last time, the Twins actually used their best relievers before they brought the junk (AKA Jesse Crain) into the game. Of course, Crain promptly broke the tie in the 12th, but he recovered for his first win of the year. Congrats Jesse! (note sarcasm)

As for great performances, I have to tip my cap to both starting pitchers. It was really a great battle between two great pitchers. But let's focus on Johan. 8 innings, 13 strikeouts, and only mistake (the HR to Varitek). Johan finally got the ERA under 3 now at 2.99 for the year, which puts him at #4 in the AL. This coming on the heels of Johan's last two years, which, according to Stick and Ball Guy's analysis which were the 5th best and best seasons ever in Twins pitching history.

And you can add on maybe the best Twins news of the day - Bartlett up, Batista out. It's about time the Twins got Bartlett up to the Majors and got Batista out. Quite frankly, Batista was a pretty bad signing from the get-go. Maybe the Twins will actually commit fully to the youth movement and get Kubel and Bartlett starts all year, which will only help for the future. I can hope.