The Twins lost their second straight game to the Cleveland Indians on Thursday, as they continue to struggle with runners in scoring position. In the past two games, the Twins are 0-20 with runners in scoring position, including a 0-13 mark Thursday. RHP Nick Blackburn was fantastic on Thursday, allowing two runs in 6.1 innings of work, but he got no support.
”I battled myself a bit today,” said Blackburn. “I just wasn’t finding my release point. The results were better today because I do think my legs were a little bit more underneath me, but still not exactly where I want to be.”
The team got a great all-around effort from Michael Cuddyer, as the outfielder went 2-3 in the game. Cuddyer also had an outfield assist, doubled, stole a base, and scored a run. Orlando Cabrera had two hits, extending his hitting streak to 16 games, and is now 10-20 since joining the Twins. With his 2-3 effort on Thursday, he raised his average to .290.
Off the field, Cabrera has also proven invaluable, as he has really taken to CF Carlos Gomez. Gomez said that Cabrera has been giving him advice on fielding and hitting, and Manager Ron Gardenhire has taken notice.
”Orland said if you can remember all the handshakes, how can you not remember all of the signs?” Gardenhire said, laughing. “If that’s what you’re talking about, Orlando’s having a great influence on him. That’s what he said in the dugout last night. So I like Orlando.”
In other team news, SP Francisco Liriano might be moved to the bullpen, after the former phenom lost his 11th game of the season. Liriano’s struggles have been well documented, and when he returns to the team on Monday, he may not have a spot in the rotation. Gardenhire will see how the rest of the rotation does before making a decision.
”I think it comes down to how the rest of the rotation does here. Perkins is not exactly lighting it up, and if he goes and doesn’t get us deep in the game, are we going to skip him too? You just cant skip everybody. You have to kind of wait and see where we’re at with everybody else,” Gardenhire said.
On Friday, the Twins picked up Carl Pavano from the Cleveland Indians, acquiring the veteran right-hander for a player to be named later. This season, Pavano is 9-8 for the Indians, which matches his win total from 2005-08 with the New York Yankees. He will slide into the rotation, possibly leaving Liriano as the odd man out.
One move the Twins could make to bolster the bullpen would be to go to the organization, with relief prospects Robert Delaney and Anthony Slama waiting in the wings. Delaney is currently the closer in Rochester, and has done a great job for really the past three seasons. Slama has been dominant in New Britain, but he has been erratic at times. He also is not on the 40-man roster, and the team does not believe he is ready for the big leagues.