Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Relievers Need Relief

The Twins need a lot from Boof Bonser tonight. Not just another performance like the one he supplied last weekend in Baltimore, when he broke his 12-start winless streak, and not just a critical pennant-race victory.

They also need a little relief. From the starter.

The bullpen is stretched thin, Ron Gardenhire made clear before Tuesday’s game. Too many short starts, a situation made worse by Carlos Silva’s 3 2/3 outing on Monday. Scott Baker lasted six innings on Sunday, and Matt Garza only five innings on Saturday.

That’s why Carmen Cali and Juan Rincon have worked two of the past three nights, and Julio DePaula has pitched in three straight.

“If we have to go out there early, I’m not sure what we’ll do,” Gardenhire said. “We need some help from the starter.”

Nick Punto is at second base tonight, mostly because of his .375 lifetime average (in just 16 at-bats, of course) against Jake Westbrook. Brian Buscher returns to third base, with Alexi Casilla getting the night off.

Tonight’s lineups:

Tyner lf
Bartlett ss
Hunter cf
Morneau 1b
Cuddyer rf
Kubel dh
Redmond c
Buscher 3b
Punto 2b

Bonser p

Sizemore cf
Cabrera 2b
Hafner dh
Martinez c
Garko 1b
Peralta ss
Lofton lf
Nixon rf
Blake 3b
Westbrook p