05/13/08 8:10 PM EDT
|Toronto Blue Jays||Minnesota Twins|
|Brad Wilkerson - RF||Carlos Gomez - CF|
|Aaron Hill - 2B||Brendan Harris - 2B|
|Alex Rios - CF||Joe Mauer - C|
|Scott Rolen - 3B||Justin Morneau - 1B|
|Matt Stairs - DH||Michael Cuddyer - RF|
|Lyle Overbay - 1B||Craig Monroe - DH|
|Shannon Stewart - LF||Delmon Young - LF|
|Gregg Zaun - C||Mike Lamb - 3B|
|Marco Scutaro - SS||Adam Everett - SS|
It's possible I'm making too much of yesterday's game, but when Lyle's hit back up the middle deflected off Rafael Betancourt's arm and allowed him to reach base and Stairs to reach 2nd, it seemed like the Jays finally got a break and that perhaps now things would be better. I guess today will give some indication as to whether that's true. Certainly until that play, it didn't seem like anything had changed. The Jays lost the first game 3-0, wasting a fine effort by A.J. Burnett and a 3-hit night by Matt Stairs. In the second game, things looked to be even worse. Between the unassisted triple play off Lyle's bat earlier in the game and the two fantastic defensive plays in the 9th off the bats of Alexis Rios and Kevin Mench, it looked like the Jays would surely squander another terrific start by Shaun Marcum. Marcum went 8, striking out 5, walking none (though hitting one), and yielding only 2 hits.
Then luck bounced the Jays way, and a Stewart sac fly, Aaron Hill 2-rbi single (1 of which was scored due to a heads up play by Brad Wilkerson to tag to 2nd on the sac fly), and Snakeface save later, the Jays had snapped their losing streak. B.J. Ryan got the win by pitching a fine 9th inning, though Marcum was the hero, lowering his ERA to 2.22.
Today, the Jays head to Minnesota to take on the Twins, who have surprised many by playing quite well so far. The Twins are coming off a series in which they took 3 of 4 from the Red Sox, and are scoring runs despite not hitting for much power. The Jays unique combination of lack of power and absolute putridity with runners in scoring position has really put a lot of pressure on their pitchers, but by and large they seem up to the task. Still, it'd be nice to score a few runs early for once.
Today's pitching matchup features two young arms: Jesse Litsch and Kevin Slowey. Litsch has been just fine so far, particularly of late, and is 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA over his last 3 starts. He has been going deeper into games and hasn't been walking anybody - in fact, he hasn't walked a batter since Gibbons inexplicably exploded on him - which is vital for a pitcher of his ilk. Slowey is a year older than Litsch and has only made two starts this season due to a biceps strain from which he recently returned. In limited action, Slowey's problem has been the long ball this season, and man would it be great for the Jays to hit a few homers.
I'm a big fan of the Twin Cities, the Twins have always been my favourite AL Central team and their music scene has produced some amazing bands, including the Replacements, Husker Du, and the Hold Steady (graciously supplying our title). And I am an even bigger fan of Bob Dylan (actually from Hibbing, Minn. but his musical career began in Minneapolis in large part) and Prince.
I'll be around for the game, but will also be writing a little piece about Stewart, who's apparently not a happy camper, during the game. Let's go Jays!