What Lineup Problems?

Well hello Mr. Morneau.

Last night the Twins went on to win their second game in a row by a score of 6-5 thanks in large part to Justin Morneau’s bat. Morneau came to bat in the 3rd inning with two men on. The previous night he came to bat with the exact same situation and struck out which mirrored how his season went last year. But Tuesday night after striking out, the next batter Tony Batista lifted Morneau and the rest of the Twins with a 3-run homer.

This quote from the Twins first baseman Justin Morneau after last night’s victory sums up last year vs. this year very well:

“That was big for me last night to see that,” Morneau said regarding Batista’s home run. “He hits that home run and all of a sudden we’re up, and it gives everyone a lift. It gave me a lift too. I wasn’t feeling like I let everyone down. Instead, you forget about it, and I’m just happy that we’re ahead. When people around you are swinging the bat like that, it makes it a lot easier on you.”

I think that pretty much says it all. So last night when he came up with two on he had a different result as he deposited a pitch deep over the wall in right for his 4th homer of the year and second in the past two nights.

This season Morneau already has 4 home runs which I believe is largely due to the fact that others in the lineup are hitting the ball. With Batista starting to pick things up behind Morneau in the lineup, Morneau is feeling less pressure and is taking advantage of quality pitches.

The lineup has come to life at a good time as the Twins pitching staff is still stumbling. After the second consecutive rough start by a Twins pitcher, Carlos Silva would eventually calm down after giving up three runs in the second inning and would go on to pitch 7 gritty innings. After that Twins setup man Juan Rincon held the A’s in the 8th and once again Joe Nathan came on and slammed the door in the 9th to pick up his second save of the year.

It’s great to see this lineup start to show life, especially Morneau and Batista, but the pitching staff has to right itself fast as the New York Yankees wander into the Metrodome this Friday for a three game series. As good as the A’s lineup is, it’s nothing like the top to bottom lineup the hated Yankees have. And if its one thing the Twins don’t want its to get in a slug fest with the Yanks.

This afternoon the A’s and Twins match up one last time as the Twins try to sweep Oakland after they themselves were swept in Cleveland the series before. A sweep is just the boost they need going into a very difficult series this weekend.

GAME RECAP
Oakland 5, Minnesota 6
W: Silva (1-1)
L: Loaiza (0-2)
S: Nathan (2)
HR: Morneau (4), Hunter (2)

TODAY’S GAME
Oakland A’s (5-4) vs. Minnesota Twins (3-5)
Thursday April 13 @ 12:10 PM CST
Blanton (1-0, 0.00) vs. Lohse (0-1, 15.43)
Radio: WCCO 830

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