According to all the advance media, it’s a bit warm down in Texas – like over 100 degrees warm – and it doesn’t look like it’s going to cool all that much over the course of the game so I hope the guys are well-hydrated!
And given the warmth of the air, I REALLY hope that Nick Blackburn really has that sinker working well in his return debut – otherwise we may be seeing a lot of long fly balls. You know the kind that are caught by fans instead of fielders? Yeah, I don’t like those so much when it’s not my team.
Quick bit of recommended reading for you: Surprise Hero by Twins Geek. I was very entertained to find out that the gut instincts that the majority of Knuckleballers seem to employ during GameChats seems to have an actual stat! You guys might like checking it out.
|Span, CF||Andrus, SS|
|Hudson, O, 2B||Young, M, 3B|
|Mauer, C||Hamilton, LF|
|Kubel, RF||Guerrero, DH|
|Cuddyer, 1B||Murphy, Dv, RF|
|Thome, DH||Treanor, C|
|Young, D, LF||Moreland, 1B|
|Valencia, 3B||Blanco, A, 2B|
|Hardy, SS||Borbon, CF|
|Blackburn, P||Harden, P|
Well, thank you Joe Mauer. A single hit in the 9th inning didn’t do anything to stop the shutout but at least it did put a fork in the “N0-No” discussion. I have to admit that I look askance as such discussions when a) it was a “combined” scenario betwee 4 pitchers and b) a total of 6 walks were issued. Yes, I know that is the difference between a no-hitter and a perfect game but still, there is a point at which nearly 1 walk per inning seems to fail the level of stellar pitching that I think I want to see under the category of “no hitter”.
Before you say “oh, but if it was your pitchers, you would say it differently,” let me assure you, that’s not accurate. A) I’m more likely congratulate Texas on a shutout (combined or no) and that is what I would congratulate my own pitchers for. B) Harden just didn’t have the stuff good enough to get a complete game no hitter and certainly gave up too many walks to be “stellar” and I said EXACTLY the same thing about Kevin Slowey when he was pulled last week. I just think sloppy-ish pitching isn’t stellar when your fielders are carrying that big a part of the load – or LUCK carrying the load as was true for Harden tonight.
The good news is that Blackburn actually looked good. Yes, there were runs that were given up – after a couple weird-ass, lucky bounce, grounder base-hits. Yes, I said grounders – remember this is the guy that want to see grounders from? We saw them. Unfornately, they also had eyes and got through. Blackburn also had 5 strikeouts and a quality start so that is a pretty darn good outting for his first time back. I think he can get better and I hope to see it – I also hope that the offense gives him a bit more run support next time.