Happy vacation, Twayn!
It's the Return of the Gentleman Masher! Jimbo's last game in a Twins uniform was against the O's. How coincidental that his
first second current return-trip to the Bullseye should be in an O's uniform.
Anyway, I know what I'm rooting for tonight: jacked dongers.
Of course, there WOULD be a lefty on the mound for the Twins in Scott Diamond, so maybe Jim will si
sit instead of start tonight. That would be absolute Boo.
In Diamond's last three starts, he has gone 7, 8 and 8, respectively, while allowing 2, 2, and 3 runs, respectively. He has emerged as the Koufax* of the staff, with a 2.62 ERA, 3.85/3.53 FIP/xFIP, and 45:12 K:BB in 79 innings.
His opposing number tonight will be Chris Tillman. In his only other appearance this season, July 4 against Seattle, Tillman went 8 2/3 of 2-hit ball, striking out 7 and giving up two runs. The big right-hander throws a mid-90s fastball, curve, and changeup. Tillman was part of the package, with CFer Adam Jones, for Erik Bedard back in 2008. He has had several cups of coffee since but struggled to put his game together in the minors (5.58 ERA, 5.31 FIP in 36 starts over three seasons prior to this year).
From the fangraphs piece by Jack Moore on July 5:
Tillman appeared to figure something out in Triple-A this year, striking out over a batter per inning again after dropping to under 7.0 per nine innings in 2010 and 2011. According to StatCorner, he drew 11.4% swinging strikes after marks below 10% in both 2010 and 2011.
Just a look at the radar gun readings shows what happened: Tillman’s fastball is back. He touched 97.2 MPH in the ninth inning — twice — after averaging just 89.5 MPH on his fastball last season. Tillman averaged 95.0 MPH on the fastball Wednesday, and every pitch saw an uptick in velocity — the cutter up to 93.0 from 84.2, the curve up to 77.4 from 75.2, the changeup up to 83.2 from 78.7 (a massive 12 MPH difference from the fastball).
Hopefully, he'll give Consuela and Morneau a couple of belt-high fastballs each tonight.
*Diamond is in his age-25 season. At age 25, Koufax went 18-13 with a 3.52 ERA and led the NL with 269 Ks in 255 2/3 innings while earning his first A-S appearance. So, umm, yea, it could happen.