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Game Report 05/02/07; Minnesota at RAYS

Minnesota at RAYS
7:10; FSN Florida


MIN RH Boof Bonser 25.2 5.26 10.52 5.61 1.88 8.77 .837 2.45 1.60 1.07 18.04
RAYS RH Jae Seo 23.2 9.51 4.56 3.04 1.50 16.35 1.074 1.90 2.15 0.98 17.83

Statistics from 2007 Season

RH Boof Bonser, Minnesota:

Overview-The Twins send St. Petersburg native Boof Bonser to the hill tonight as they attempt to win this week's series against the Rays, and Bonser looks to improve upon his rather poor start in tonight's game. Bonser, the Gibbs High School grad, was the 21st overall pick of the San Francisco Giants in the 2000 MLB draft. He advanced quickly through the San Francisco system in his first four professional seasons, ending up at Triple A Fresno by the end of 2003 before being dealt to Minnesota along with Joe Nathan and Francisco Liriano in the deal that brought A.J. Pierzynski to the Bay Area. He stalled somewhat over the last three years in the Minnesota system, making 27 starts for AA New Britain in 2004 and 42 the next two years in AAA Rochester. He was perfectly fine statistically in those years, but the backlog of pitchers in the major league ballclub's rotation kept Bonser at Triple A. He made 18 starts with the AL Central champion Twins last year towards the end of the campaign, bringing up the rear of the rotation with a respectable 4.22 ERA in slightly over 100 innings of work. This year has been somewhat of a struggle for Bonser, however. While his strikeout rate is over a batter an inning, he also has walked 16 batters in 25.2 innings of work and has given up seven home runs already this season. Further, while he has not been Jae Seo-bad on balls in play, he has done his best to replicate that type of pitching, having given up a .837 OPS to opposing hitters. If Bonser can keep the ball down, he solves a lot of his problems, as a lot of his opponents' home runs have come with men on base. To avoid this, he needs to stop shooting himself in the foot with walks.

Recent Starts-Looking strictly at the `R' column, Bonser's start last time out against the Kansas City Royals was his best of the season. He surrendered no runs on just three hits in five innings of work, while striking out eight. The problem? Seven walks, nearly half his season to date total, and 108 pitches over that time frame. Bonser's inability to put together long starts has been his undoing as well, as he has pitched six innings just once this season, with the bulk of his starts being five or less innings of work. Smaller sample sizes raise the stakes on runs allowed, and this has contributed to his rather high ERA. He has made two starts against Kansas City this season and three against the AL East, one of which was against the Rays at the Metrodome several weeks ago, yet has only picked up a decision in one of his outings this season; a loss to New York on April 10th in which he gave up seven runs (six earned) in 4.1 innings of work. The striking thing about Bonser's track record this season is his penchant for the long ball; of his first four starts, three were two homer games for opponents off of him, the other was a lone home run outing. He surrendered none against the Royals last week, the first time he has done so this season, but going into that start he had a 3.05 HR/9, even worse than his present total.

vs RAYS-Bonser has made two starts against his hometown team in his career, though there is a stark contrast between the results of those two outings. He last faced the team on April 15th, and ended up departing after five innings having surrendered four runs on six hits and three walks. His first and only start at Tropicana Field however was a far different story. In a Labor Day start last September 4th before lots of family and friends, Bonser shut Tampa Bay down, allowing just a solo home run and four other hits in 6.1 innings of work, striking out six while walking none. Surprisingly, however, a few Rays actually have success in limited ABs against Bonser, including Dioner Navarro, who hit that solo home run last September. Navarro also has two other hits against Bonser in four total at bats. Delmon Young and Brendan Harris each homered off of Bonser in his outing earlier this year, while Rocco Baldelli has three hits, including a double, off of Bonser in six total at bats. The team as a whole is hitting .282/.333/.538 off of the Twins' right-hander.


Overview-Though Rays manager Joe Maddon affirmed the security of Jae Seo in his quotes to the media heading into today's start, one must look at the right-hander's statistics and wonder exactly how much latitude he will be given heading into tonight's start against the Minnesota Twins. Powered by a horrible outing last time out against the Anaheim Angels in California, in which Seo failed to get out of the second inning, his ERA now stands at 9.51 through five starts. His strikeout rates are below average, his walk rates are far too high for someone who isn't a strikeout pitcher, and Seo is getting hit extremely hard on a nightly basis, as evidenced by his having allowed more than two baserunners an inning on average. If the batting line of opponents off of Seo were a real player, he would surely be an MVP candidate, as that player would be hitting .392/.444/.630 on the year. Simply put Seo has been an extremely weak starting pitcher this year, and judging by his track record and the number of prospects the Rays have down in AAA Durham waiting in the wings, one must wonder how long he can continue to struggle and remain in the starting rotation with players like Jason Hammel on call.

Recent Starts-Seo has allowed four or more runs in each start he has made this season, and that streak continued last time out in Anaheim against the Angels, despite the fact that Seo was yanked before he could retire five batters. He allowed six runs on seven hits in just 1.1 innings of work, and left after just 49 pitches. Strangely enough, his only half-decent outing this season came on the road against Minnesota several weeks ago, however that followed up an outing in which he surrendered ten runs, five unearned, in three innings against the Texas Rangers in Arlington. He allowed three home runs in that game, and if you take those away his rates are respectable for the season, however he has still not struck out more than four batters in a game. He has faced a pretty wide spectrum of opponents, including two teams each from the AL West and AL Central, and one outing against an AL East opponent. Tonight will mark his second outing of the year against Minnesota, and his third against the AL Central.

vs MIN-Seo had his most successful outing of the season the last time he faced the Twins. He went a season-high seven innings and surrendered a season-low four runs on nine hits, striking out a season high four batters and walking a season low none. Overall he has made three starts against the Twins during the course of his career, the other two coming last year when he had a 6.17 ERA against Minnesota in 11.2 innings of work. He has a 5.79 ERA against the Twins all-time, and did not face them in any capacity as a member of the National League. Several Twinkies have faced Seo on numerous occasions, however, the most successful of which being Rondell White. White is 7 for 11 with four doubles, two home runs, and a walk all-time against Seo, though he is injured. The rest of the Minnesota contingent has numerous players with equally successful numbers against the Rays' starter. The Twins unit as a whole has put up a .327/.371/.522 line against Seo in 113 career at bats.


2B Luis Castillo
3B Nick Punto
C Joe Mauer
1B Justin Morneau
CF Torii Hunter
LF Jason Kubel
DH Jeff Cirillo
RF Jason Tyner
SS Jason Bartlett
CF Rocco Baldelli
DH Elijah Dukes
LF Carl Crawford
3B Ty Wigginton
RF Delmon Young
2B B.J. Upton
1B Carlos Peña
SS Brendan Harris
C Josh Paul

GO RAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!