Surrounded by a Twins' staff that amassed an American League-worst 5.32 ERA for July and the continued dominance of closer Joe Nathan (9-for-10 July saves), reliever Matty Guerrier had himself a wholly brilliant July - when opportunity afforded . . .
While the frustrating mediocrity of this 2009 campaign continued last month with a 12-12 July (which has bled into an 0-2 August), Guerrier has firmly huddled himself among the "Have's" of the club's polarizing roster of production.
Guerrier appeared in a team-high 13 ballgames in July, and has pitched in 52 games this year - good for second in the A.L. The July 31st solo shot Guerrier surrendered to Angels' catcher Mike Napoli marked the first and lone earned run the late-reliever would allow in the entire month. All spoken: Guerrier accrued a 0.55 ERA for July, held batters to a .138 on-base percentage, and struck out nine while walking only one. He pitched multiple innings on four occasions and - as the above numbers portend - allowed zero of his seven July inherited runners to score. Dating back to late-May, Guerrier has allowed just three earned runs in his last 31 games. Solid.
Last season, based on Guerrier's late-summer meltdown (his August ERA ultimately amounted to 10.12), I penned an 8/18 column entitled "Matt Guerrier: Pulling out hair." Over the course of the last six seasons, the pitcher had donned myriad caps for the Twins, but today he has firmly crushed his now-crowned role of 8th inning stopper and set-up guy for Nathan.
Unofficially: Guerrier leads the A.L. with 22 holds, as the salient stat remains curiously unclaimed by MLB numbers brass. Officially: the painful inconsistency of the Twins' starting staff needs to give both Guerrier and the Bread Basket something to hold on to if this club is ever going to make an earnest Central Division run.
For earning his keep and giving the Twins' an-again prominent left hook to Joe Nathan's uppercut right, Matt Guerrier is your July Twin of the Month. For his efforts, Matt will receive a few handfuls of Billy Blanks DVD's that I keep getting despite canceling my order in the latter-half of 2007.
2009 Twins of the Month:
April - Jason Kubel
May - Joe Mauer
June - Brendan Harris
July- Matt Guerrier