Monday, June 4, 2007
The west coast road trip just isn't that fun sometimes for someone that resides in the midwest or east coast. As a fan, you stay up late, ignoring the fact that you have to get up early the next morning for work. While that's fun, and a little mischievous, it always doesn't turn out to be the greatest. Just ask the Minnesota Twins and their fans about their current road trip to the west coast.
As I sit here, watching the Twins get beat in every aspect of the game by the Los Angeles Orange County Anaheim California Angels, it looks as if they're going to guarantee themselves a .500 road trip at best with a loss against the Angels tonight. After a very successful home stand in which the Twins went 5-1, the Twins now look like they've reverted to the team that struggled through the early part of May.
I was hoping to introduce this blog with a BOOF! Bonser victory...or at least while Bonser had given the Twins a solid outing; But, that won't be the case.
Bonser failed to complete 6 innings before being chased by the Angels. Before tonight's start, Bonser had gone 4-0 in his previous four starts, while averaging 7.25 strikeouts in those four starts. Bonser also allowed only one HR in those four starts, which helped immensely in the amount of success he had been having. However, tonight Bonser struggled to strike out the Angels hitters, who weren't allowing Bonser to get ahead of them on 0-2 and 1-2 counts, as he managed to strikeout only one hitter in the Angels Mike Napoli.
The other area that Bonser was having success in was not allowing home runs. Like the strikeout success, that also came to an end tonight as Bonser allowed 2 home runs in 5.1 innings which is the most he's allowed since his third start of the 2007 season against Kansas City. Bonser is going to give up his fair share of HR's as he's a neutral pitcher when it comes to ground balls and fly balls allowed.
However, this is where his ability to strikeout hitters should come into play. (As I say this, Jason Miller gives up a grand slam to Gary Matthews Jr...and another HR to Garrett Anderson.) As I mentioned before, Bonser only managed to K one hitter in his start tonight, which is largely due to the fact that the Angels swung early and often against Bonser, not allowing him to get into pitcher's counts. For Bonser to remain successful, he'll need to somehow continue to find the ability to remain tough on allowing HR's while striking out hitters at a rate in which he had previously been doing.
There isn't much else to write about when it comes to tonight's game. There was no offense (again), bad pitching by Bonser, Ramon Ortiz, and Jason Miller, and the defense was suspect as well. Missing the cut off man, short hoping throws to the catcher on potential plays at the plate, and atrocious range by the infield led to the Twins getting absolutely pummeled by the Angels...and it's still not over.
The one thing I do question tonight is the fact that manager Ron Gardenhire left reliever Jason Miller out there to take a horrendous beating. While I understand the idea of "saving your bullpen for the rest of the series," I don't always agree with it. When your team is limited on left handed relievers as it is, and you have two left handed relievers out in the pen, both of which have limited major league experience, you can't allow one of them to get hammered like Miller did, taking the chance that he loses all confidence in his ability to get major league hitters out. Not only did Miller's ERA get destroyed, but his confidence may not be far behind.
I've agreed with how Ron Gardenhire has used his bullpen arms in certain situations for the most part. Using closer Joe Nathan in a non save situation is a terrific idea, along with other bullpen related moves that Gardenhire has adopted. However, leaving Jason Miller in the game to give up 8 runs on 7 hits in a 1/3 of an inning is something that I think Gardy needs to reevaluate.
That's the great thing about baseball though. You can get your tail kicked one night, and you have the chance to redeem yourself by playing the very next day. The Angels just sent 12 batters to the plate in the bottom of the 8th with 8 of them meeting Mike Redmond at home plate on the wrong end if you're a Twins fan. Yes, the 8th inning just ended.
Ah well, there's always tomorrow in the grand world of baseball.