Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Late night: Twins 4, Angels 3

Ryan Doumit breaks up a double play that would have
ended the second inning without a run. The Twins
wound up scoring twice in the frame.

Box score here

Game story here

On his pregame radio show Monday, Ron Gardenhire twice described Angels starter Joe Blanton as "a contact guy." This was in explaining why minor-league veteran Doug Bernier was in the lineup instead of Jamey Carroll.

Joe Blanton is having a lousy year, and it didn't get any better Monday; the Twins knocked him out in the fourth inning and drove his ERA up to 5.66.

But Blanton entered the game with 93 strikeouts in 112.1 innings, a K/9 rate of 7.5, just 0.1 off the league average. (None of the nine men who have started games for the Twins this season  is above 5.1 K/9.)

I have to admit, I'm baffled by how horrible Blanton's season has been. He has a league average strikeout rate; he has a very low walk rate. On Monday, he walked two in 3.6 innings, but one of those was intentional, and he struck out four. He has 3.35 strikeouts for each walk on the season, and it's almost impossible to have that good a ratio and still have bad results.

But Blanton is doing just that. One problem, obviously, is the long ball -- Blanton served up his 24th gopher ball Monday night. Another, if Monday night is any indication, is the sloppy defense behind him. The play shown in the photo above, for example; if the Angels had turned that double play, Blanton gets out of the inning unscathed. Instead, the inning was extended, and the Twins scored twice.

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