Hanging In There
At the start of this season, Brendan Harris (acquired along with Delmon Young in sending Matt Garza to Tampa Bay) was slated to play second base on a regular basis. He struggled mightily with the defensive aspects of the position, and eventually lost his starting spot to Alexi Casilla.
He then moved to shortstop, a position that had been manned by Adam Everett and Matt Tolbert before both were injured early on in the season. Despite his better fielding, Harris’ offensive numbers then slumped, allowing Nick “The Human Web-Gem” Punto to take over SS.
Recently, Harris has even being getting some time at third base, but newcomer Brian Buscher (a lefty) seems to have a lock on that position, at least against right-handed batters. Essentially, Harris became a man without a position.
Today, however, Harris got the call at short when Punto was scratched due to a finger injury. He made the most of the opportunity:
In the second and fourth innings, singles from Harris gave the Twins a 2-0 lead. After a two-run dinger from Detroit’s Matt Joyce tied the game, Harris again put the Twins ahead…this time with a solo home run in the seventh inning.
From that point, the rest of the Twins lineup gave Harris a little help. Joe Mauer also homered in the seventh inning, while a rally in the eighth allowed Harris (who else?!) to bring in another run on a sacrifice fly.
Though the Tigers rallied for three runs of their own in the eighth inning, Joe Nathan slammed the door (striking out the side) on the 6-5 victory. The Twins clinched the four-game series win against the Tigers and, regardless of tomorrow’s outcome, dealt Detroit another setback in the AL Central division.
Final comment about Harris: Does he deserve a starting position? Probably not at this point. Buscher is still whacking the ball, Punto is supremely gifted in the field, and Casilla is hitting and fielding like an All-Star. It is nice, however, to see that Harris is still able to take advantage of opportunities when they come his when…you never know when someone may get hurt.
Preview (2nd, 53-41, 1.5 GB CWS): Nick Blackburn (7-4, 3.72) vs. Justin Verlander (6-9, 4.24). I’m smelling a sweep tomorrow. When Curtis Granderson is not on base or when they are not hitting long-balls, the Tigers look pallid and slow compared to the Twins’ fast-paced offense. Wouldn’t a sweep be nice heading into the break?!