The Bunny Hop
In the bottom of the fifth inning, when Alexi Casilla doubled and sent Denard Span and Carlos Gomez flying around the bases, Twins TV announcer Dick Bremer proclaimed that the “Rabbits” had struck again. Of course, he was referring to the Span-Gomez-Casilla combination in the batting order. On a night of numerous wasted opportunities, the “Rabbits” were the reason why the Twins were able to even the series with Detroit.
The game, however, actually started out quite un-rabbit like, with Craig Monroe homering to deep centerfield to give the Twins a 3-1 lead. Throughout the game, though, the Tigers were tormented by the speedsters, who went a combined 6-9 with four walks, two stolen bases, three runs, and one RBI. If not for some bad luck and a mental blunder, the rabbits might still be scampering around the bases.
Of course, in order for the speed game to be effective, the pitching needs to be stable, which it was again tonight. Baker turned in a quality start (6 IP, 3 ER), while the Bass-Reyes-Nathan combo held the lead against a tough Detroit offense. The way Nathan is closing out games, he could very well be asked to close out the All-Star game if the need arises.
Finally, why can’t Denard Span be a shortstop or something?! His presence in the ninth hole brings an interesting element to the lineup that will be sorely missed when Cuddyer returns in a few weeks.
Preview (46-38, 2nd, 2.5 GB CWS): Nick Blackburn (6-4, 4.05) vs. Eddie Bonine (2-0, 3.98). A series win in tomorrow’s afternoon contest would be a big boost, as the Tigers are tough to hold in check for three games. Bonine is very green, and facing his first AL team after three interleague starts, so the Twins should be able to whizz together a few runs. If Blackie can stay out of the big innings, we will have a series win.