Wednesday, May 11, 2011
V-Mart on fire, Twins collapse again
By David Schoenfield
Crazy game this afternoon in Minnesota. The Tigers build a 5-2 lead as the red-hot Victor Martinez goes 3-for-3, including a home run off Scott Baker. Twins take a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the seventh when Jason Kubel launches a long three-run blast off Daniel Schlereth. But Jonny Peralta's two-run homer in the top of the eighth off Matt Capps puts the Tigers back on top ... only to see the Twins tie it. The big play came came in ninth when Brandon Inge lofted a fly ball to deep right-center with a runner aboard. Denard Span tracked it down, but might have hesitated as he sensed the wall. Should have been caught, but it fell for a triple and the Tigers win 9-7.
The Tigers have now won five in a row, the Twins have lost five in a row. Martinez has led the surge for Detroit, as he's hitting 571 (12-for-21) over those five games, with two home runs, five doubles and 13 RBIs. Suddenly, the Detroit lineup looks a little scarier than it did when Martinez was on the DL. With catcher Alex Avila hitting .280 and slugging .549, and second baseman Scott Sizemore posting .395 OBP in nine games since his recall from Triple-A, Detroit is finally scoring runs like many projected before the season.
The pitching has been better of late as well, with Max Scherzer undefeated at 6-0, with a 3.20 ERA. He hasn't been as good as the record indicates -- he's still walking four batters per nine innings and he's allowed eight home runs -- but he's developing into a solid No. 2 behind Justin Verlander. I still believe Rick Porcello is the key to this team, and after allowing 10 runs his first two starts, he's allowed two or fewer in each of his past five.
In other words, don't hand the AL Central to the Indians just yet.
As for the Twins, there is no delicate way to put this: It's a bad team right now, and until and unless Joe Mauer returns and Justin Morneau starts hitting, they can forget about 2011.
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