Sunday, June 20, 2010

Twins at Phillies -- Scoring, Styles, and Surprises


Friday -- Twins 5 - Phillies 9
Saturday -- Twins 13 - Phillies 10 (11)
Sunday -- Twins 4 - Phillies 1

Twins take series 2-1
Record: 40 - 29


I wasn't able to watch Friday's and Saturday's games, but I was able to listen on the radio. It's kind of too bad I couldn't see them, because I would have seen a whole bunch of things that surprised me. I also would have seen a whole bunch of runs, some from some unlikely sources.

It's kind of funny that even though a lot of people say that the Twins have a National League-style of play (that is, they usually have a "get on, get over, get in", or station-to-station, approach), they executed one near-comeback that fell short, one actual comeback win, and one straight up victory using a mostly American League style. That is, they hit a lot of homers.

There were so many surprising things that happened in this series, I found myself shaking my head often. And sometimes laughing.

  • The Twins starting pitching was a.w.f.u.l. for two games in a row. Both Blackie and Slowey have had their ups and downs, but to have such terrible starts in a row was very disconcerting. Blackie was so good in May, but his June has been a little shaky. On the flip side, Slowey was shaky earlier, but he got better and we all thought he had turned things around. But to see them both so bad during the same series was pretty surprising. I hope this was just a glitch for both of them, and they'll amend things soon. They need to address their consistency issues.
  • Speaking of starting pitching, I was quite pleasantly surprised with Carl's gem on Sunday. When the Twins re-signed him, I was pretty much ambivalent. I knew he would bring experience to the rotation and that he's a capable pitcher, but I never really regarded him as ace-like. I didn't have any great expectations for him facing Roy Halladay -- he would have to be ace-like because the Twins weren't going to get many runs. I couldn't be happier to be surprised. It must be the 'stache. If he thinks it makes him pitch better, I suppose I can live with looking at it.
  • How about those homers, huh? Now it's not terribly surprising that Morneau hit two during this series. It wasn't even all that surprising that Thome and Mauer each hit one, but it's been a while since they've done that and I had been wondering if they remembered how. Even Span's wasn't terribly surprising -- just nice. But Punto and Butera? Where did those come from? Especially Butera's because it was so important. Huge "no-way" factor with that one.
  • Speaking of homers, I was a little surprised to hear that some Philly fans gave Thome a standing-o when he hit his. Well, I must say I was more impressed than surprised. With that homer, Thome has now hit one against all 30 teams. So I thought it was pretty cool that the smart baseball fans recognized a great baseball moment. And shame on the Philly writers and talk-show hosts who are scolding those fans. I would have done the same thing if the situation was reversed.
  • Not only was I surprised that Justin was able to stretch a single into a double when Victorino tried to throw behind him as he rounded first and then Howard wound up hitting him in the back (not officially a double from a scorekeeper's perspective, but he did wind up on second base nonetheless), but I was also surprised that he actually planned that way (at least this article makes it sound like it). Really? Baserunners plan this kind of stuff? I thought it was dumb luck. Do they practice this? Do they have "get hit in the back while running to second" practice during spring training?
Oh, and finally, I really regret that I didn't get to see Jon Rauch batting, um...bunting, with two strikes, and succeeding.

1 comment:

thrylos98 said...

A few tidbits about the Saturday game from Citizens Bank Park, regarding to some of the things you are referring to:

- Indeed Thome got a big ovation from the Phillies' fans (the ones who were left, anyways- the stadium was 2/3 empty after the 8th; traffic there is a mess- and at the end there were about 10-1 Phillies' to Twins' fans left) when he came up to hit and an even bigger after the home run.

- I did not see Butera's HR life. We went for a bathroom break and while in the concourse I heard cheers and ah's. Found some Twins' fans and asked what was going on. They told me that Butera had just hit one out and we all were staring at each other with disbelief... (and at about that point I got a text message from Shawn, rubbing in my Nepo-Drew moniker for Butera)

-Frankly, Saturday's game was one of the best Twins' games I've seen in person (and I was in the dome for for '87 and '91 World Series games)