September 2007

Season finale: Twins/Red Sox

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

To all our readers, I just want to say thanks for a great season. We started these baseball blogs on Feb. 18, when we got to spring training, and as I’ve said before, we’re feeding off your energy now.

The good news is, we’re not going anywhere. The season ends today, but the offseason begins. La Velle, Howard and I will be staying right on top of the news and analysis. So keep checking back, as we get you geared up for spring training.

Twins lineup: Nick Punto SS, Brian Buscher 3B, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau DH, Michael Cuddyer RF, Garrett Jones 1B, Rondell White LF, Matthew LeCroy C, Alexi Casilla 2B. Starting pitcher: RH Matt Garza.

(Note: Gardy said he’s going to let Rondell have one or two at-bats, probably the last of his career, and then play Jason Kubel. Garza is expected to go five or six innings, and Scott Baker could pitch in relief.)

Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia 2B, Manny Ramirez LF, David Ortiz DH, Mike Lowell 3B, Kevin Youkilis 1B, Jason Varitek C, Coco Crisp CF, Jacoby Ellsbury RF, Julio Lugo SS.

Fenway Park. Scheduled first pitch: 1:05 (Central).

Postgame: Silva’s graceful finish

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

Carlos Silva took a no-decision tonight in what likely was his final start as a Twin. He’s about to cash in on a very nice free agent contract somewhere, and it’s not far-fetched to think he could get a three-year, $25 million deal. He finished the year 13-14 with a 4.19 ERA, with 89 strikeouts and 36 walks in 202 innings pitched. Afterward, he said:

“You guys know how much I love this team and how much I want to be here, but it’s exciting to be a free agent, too. There’s a lot of players who don’t get the opportunity to be a free agent.

“Everybody’s looking for starting pitcher. I’d love to be here, but my eyes are open. I know the Twins have very good starting pitchers. I know they are young, I know they have a lot to learn, but they WILL learn. For me, the Twins are in very good position with me or without me. … I’m very realistic. I know all the talent we have on this team, and in the future … I don’t know if it’s going to be next year, but man, in the future, I know the Twins are going to have five very good starting pitchers.”

Saturday: Twins/Red Sox

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

Joe Mauer is back in the lineup to catch Carlos Silva’s last start of the season. Mauer said it was important to him to be there for Silva, who is trying to even his record and surpass the 200-inning mark for the season.

One day after clinching the AL East title, the Red Sox look like they’re in spring training mode. They just announced that Julian Tavarez, not Curt Schilling, will pitch Sunday’s regular season finale.

Twins lineup: Jason Bartlett SS, Jason Tyner LF, Joe Mauer C, Torii Hunter CF, Justin Morneau 1B, Michael Cuddyer RF, Rondell White DH, Brian Buscher 3B, Luis Rodriguez 2B. Starting pitcher: RH Carlos Silva.

Red Sox lineup: Coco Crisp CF, Alex Cora 2B, Manny Ramirez DH, Mike Lowell 3B, J.D. Drew RF, Kevin Youkilis 1B, Jacoby Ellsbury LF, Doug Mirabelli C, Royce Clayton SS. Starting pitcher: RH Tim Wakefield.

Fenway Park. Scheduled first pitch: 6:05 p.m. (Central).

Friday pregame: Twins/Red Sox

Friday, September 28th, 2007

The Twins are going with the same lineup as last night. Hey, if it’s not broke … (hold your laughter). No, seriously, they played a good all-around game last night. Couple nice plays by Buscher at third. Garrett Jones lined a ball — not just hit a ball, lined a ball — into the center field seats.

And for all his struggles throwing, Matthew LeCroy continues to draw raves for how he calls a game. He’s behind the plate again, as Kevin Slowey gets his Fenway baptism.

Twins lineup: Jason Bartlett SS, Jason Kubel LF, Torii Hunter CF, Justin Morneau DH, Michael Cuddyer RF, Garrett Jones 1B, Matthew LeCroy C, Brian Buscher 3B, Nick Punto 2B. Starting pitcher: RH Kevin Slowey.

Red Sox lineup: Dustin Pedroia 2B, Manny Ramirez LF, David Ortiz DH, Mike Lowell 3B, J.D. Drew RF, Kevin Youkilis 1B, Jason Varitek C, Jacoby Ellsbury CF, Julio Lugo SS. Starting pitcher: RH Daisuke Matsuzaka.

Fenway Park. Scheduled first pitch: 6:05 p.m. (Central).

Postgame: Nathan puts in some overtime

Thursday, September 27th, 2007

Joe Nathan has 36 saves this season, and only three have required more than three outs. Tonight, Gardy turned to him for a four-out save, and he came up big, sealing the 5-4 victory.

This one came in the rain with Boston’s 385th consecutive sellout crowd on its feet, howling.

Afterward, Nathan said, “It seems like most of the games I’ve come in, in the eighth inning [for a save] have come against the Red Sox.”He remembered three times, and looking it up, he’s right. Nathan got a four-out save against Boston on May 5 at the Metrodome. On June 15, 2006, he got a six-out save against Boston.

By my unofficial count tonight, I have him with nine saves of more than three outs since he became the Twins closer in 2004. That includes the three this year, two last year, one in 2005 and three in 2004. And three of the nine have come against the Red Sox.