Amazing what a few quality starts can do for a ballclub, huh?! Sure, the final score (11-2) of Wednesday night’s game seems to indicate an offensive blowout victory for the Twins, but six of those runs were scored in the eighth inning. Through six innings, the score was 3-1 Minnesota, and very much a tight game. However, Slowey never let the Nationals get a foot in the door (unlike Boof, who would have had the door blown open!). Then, Crain had another nice outing, and even shaky Brian Bass pitched a scoreless inning before the game turned into a blowout. With pitching like that, the Twins will be able to hang in the division race for quite some time, as I believe that the White Sox will falter at some point down the line. The Twins just have to be ready.
Offensively, a lot of Twins upped their statistical lines tonight, but what really impressed me was Morneau’s continued ability to drive in runs. If there is a runner in scoring position when Justin comes to the plate, more often than not that runner will be touching home plate in no time. This is EXACTLY the kind of production the Twins have needed from their cleanup spot for, well, forever! His continued success is another key to keeping pace with the division leader.
The only negative portion of tonight’s game was the continued struggles of Boof Bonser. After failing to become a successful starting pitcher, Boof is now even struggling in what essentially is a mop-up role. With a young kid like Bobby Korecky in the minor leagues, I don’t know how much rope the Twins can continue to give Boof (ala Juan Rincon). However, this is a pretty minor concern at this point, but it IS something that should be monitored during Boof’s future outings.
Preview (36-36, 2nd, 4.5 GB CWS): Glen Perkins (2-2, 4.57) vs. Shawn Hill (1-3, 4.61). Perkins and Hill are essentially in the same situation…both young pitchers (although Perkins has more experience) trying to establish themselves in the major leagues. As bad as the Nats have been playing, if the Twins get decent pitching and don’t shoot themselves in the foot tomorrow, they should be able to complete the sweep.