Sunday, June 24, 2007

Minnesota-Florida Rubber Game

With Johan "Cy Young" Santana pitching the rubber game of this series against the Florida Marlins, the odds look pretty good for the Twins pulling of the series win. It could have been a series sweep had Juan Rincon not allowed that home run in the 8th inning on Friday. Some notes from today's game so far:

  • Santana, who struck out Paul LoDuca (who flipped out yesterday) in the 9th inning Friday for his first strikeout of the game, started a little earlier today. Santana struck out two hitters in the first inning of today's game. He has 5 strikeouts through 3 innings of work.
  • Joe Mauer flashed some power, with his second home run of the season in the first inning.
  • Santana, obviously not thrilled with the lack of run support in some of his outings this season, hit an RBI triple in the second inning, and later scored on a Jason Bartlett sacrifice fly. As a result, Santana has an early lead to work with.
  • Bartlett, hitting in the leadoff spot today, has looked great the last two games, with 5 RBI the last two days. Luis Castillo has the day off, so Bartlett slid into his spot in the batting order.
  • Another baserunning mistake by the Twins...well it was Santana, so it barely counts.
  • Cuddy and Gardy just got chucked. That puts Gardy one ejection closer to the John McGraw/Bobby Cox record. The worst part of this news is that Lew "I suck" Ford is now playing right field and hitting 4th.
Update - Mauer just clobbered his second home run of the game.

After watching Byung-Hyun Kim struggle in today's start, I can't help but think about Kim in the World Series a few years back with the Arizona Diamondbacks. His struggles in that game have affected him in a way that he has never truly been able to shake. Baseball, more than any sport, is a mental game. For pitchers, one swing of the bat can affect you for the rest of your career, as evidenced by Kim, and more recently, once formidable closer Brad Lidge. Honestly, if you get beaten by Albert Pujols, especially in a pressure situation, it should be no reason to hang your head. Lidge still hasn't recovered from that Pujols home run in the playoffs.

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