Kevin Slowey had another five-and-fly start Monday in Toronto. Four or five weeks ago, this would probably mean Brian Duensing in the sixth; two weeks ago, probably Jesse Crain.
But Duensing is working later in the games now, and Crain has been ineffective. With a three-run lead, Alex Burnett (pictured) got the ball.
It wasn't brilliant — two innings, two hits, one walk, no strikeouts — but he got six outs and allowed no runs. It was his first major league "hold," and may there be many more.
Burnett reminds me of Juan Rincon, who had a nice little run as a top-grade set-up man for the Twins: Short righty (Burnett is listed at 6-feet, Rincon at 5-11) with a low-90s fastball and a good slider.
Burnett was followed in the eighth by Matt Guerrier with a five-run lead. I assume this was because when he started warming up it was still a "save situation" — Justin Morneau's two-run homer came with two outs. He was warmed, so they used him.
And Crain did get an inning, the ninth, with a comfy five-run cushion.
So Burnett appears to be ahead of Crain in the bullpen pecking order right now. But this can change. The discontent Ron Gardenhire voiced about Crain during the weekend was couched in terms of needing him turned around. Given that neither Pat Neshek nor Clay Condrey appear to have begun pitching in rehab assignments, Crain may be a long way from exhausting his chances.
My silly little TV poll Monday got the results I expected: 13 responses, 11 of who said they'd watch the Twins-Jays, one the NBA and one a dark screen.
Me? Twins-Jays, mostly, with occasional look-ins at Mythbusters (hey, I like watching Jamie and Adam blow stuff up). A bit of time pulling dandelions in the backyard with the radio (I decided to stick with it through the end of the top of the fourth; the Jays killed a lot of dandelions with their sloppy play). And after the Twins game ended, I saw the last two or three innings of the four-hour Yankees-Red Sox game.