Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nick-picking: Is Blackburn back?

(But first: There is a downside to keeping your eye on the ball.)

A very nice job turned in Monday night by Nick Blackburn, better than I anticipated: Seven innings and three runs, eight baserunners allowed, five strikeouts.

Rich Harden deserves credit for his fine start for Texas — 6.2 no-hit innings — but had the Twins defense done its job, Harden wouldn't even have left with a lead.

Ron Gardenhire grumbled about Orlando Hudson playing Josh Hamilton too deep in the first inning, allowing an infield hit that set up Daniel Murphy's two-run triple. I thought Denard Span probably should have caught Murphy's deep fly. Either way, those runs were preventable. The third run on Blackburn came when J.J. Hardy bounced his throw to first base on what appeared to be an easy double play. (Hardy's throwing suggests that his wrist is a real hindrance.)

All the runs were earned, but they were preventable. Not that preventing them would have gotten the Twins a win.

That game might be about as well as Blackburn can pitch. He threw strikes, got ground balls, even struck out Vlad Guerrero looking. It would be a good time for him to go on one of his streaks of good starts. But then, it always is a good time to pitch well.

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