Quick injury updates: Orlando Hudson is nearly done with his stint on the DL – he’ll be elligible to play on Sunday.
Morneau is actually showing genuine signs of improvement!! He’s had three good workouts in a row and is starting to step up the nature of the workout. Gardy mentioned that if this continues, he’ll take workouts with the team in Chicago as a test. If THAT goes well, he’ll begin a rehab assignment. I really hope for the best with Justin and can’t imagine how frustrating this experience must have been for him.
Rauch is available to pitch tonight but they are planning to give Crain and Capps the night off.
Joe Mauer is STILL having some shoulder pain and they don’t expect him to catch again until Sunday so it will be interesting to see how long Butera goes before they give Morales a shot at catching and give Butera a day off.
Since I know my team so well, I don’t get toooooooo excited about series against teams with losing records – [insert comment about 'any given sunday' here] – BUT I am still hopefull that this is one chance to gain a little ground on Chicago. This is just not the same Indians team that I thought I we would see this year. But that being said, this isn’t exactly the Twins team I thought we would see this year either.
After two EXCELLENT starts from Baker and Slowey, I’m really looking forward to what Liriano can bring tonight. Right now, he’s working on a 21 inning scoreless streak. His longest is 23 scoreless innings this season so it would be great if he could beat that tonight. According to Joe C. at the Strib, “He might be the hottest pitcher in baseball, at 4-0 with a 0.63 ERA and 33 strikeouts in his past four starts.” I also hope that the offense remembers to give him support like they did the other guys – never know what might happen if/when we hit the bullpen right now – we could end up needing more runs than we thought. Let’s see what happens!
|Span, CF||Brantley, CF|
|Casilla, A, 2B||Cabrera, A, SS|
|Mauer, DH||Choo, RF|
|Young, D, LF||Duncan, S, DH|
|Kubel, RF||LaPorta, 1B|
|Cuddyer, 1B||Nix, J, 3B|
|Valencia, 3B||Crowe, LF|
|Hardy, SS||Donald, 2B|
|Butera, C||Marson, C|
|Liriano, P||Gomez, J, P|
This was one of those games that is REALLY hard to do a postgame wrap up for – crazy plays, maddening calls, uplifting timely hits, and depressing shots. It had them all.
It didn’t start well. Frankie just didn’t not have his usual stuff tonight – slider and changeup were working ok but he couldn’t locate the strike zone with his fast ball to save his life. But in Liriano’s defense, the strike zone had this tendency to .. move around. There is no way to say this nicely: the homeplate umpire sucked. Whether this is why or not, he was a replacement guy up from AAA and I sure hope he spends a little time reviewing his calls from tonight because it really helps a game progress much better if there is SOME sort of consistency in the balls & strikes calls.
All that being said, the Twins offense kept leaving men on base again. This is definitely a problem. The runs we did get always seemed to come from the bottom of the lineup and sometimes in ridiculous fashions. Drew Butera had two runs where he should have been out at home by a MILE and for some freak happenstance or another, he was safe. The first one, the left fielder threw the ball into home plate and hit Butera on the backside instead of his own catcher. The second time, the throw made it to the catcher but he dropped it when Butera came into home.
Drama was just the name of the game tonight. Top of the 9th, Twins are down by 2 with a runner at 2B and Jim Thome came up to the plate as a Pinch Hitter. He promptly hits one HIGH & DEEP – out to the OF fence where it manages to seek out the most difficult place to land somewhere in the vicinity of the yellow line and the railing and bounce back up and into the field of play. I’m still very firmly of the opinion that it was a Home run but after a lengthy review, the officiating team came back out and ruled it a double scoring only one. That, of course, meant Gardy was out for a little Showtime even though it’s definitely againt the rules to argue the call. But after the stupidity of the playcall even after review I’m sure the boys appreciated him standing up for them regardless. Although I will admit, this version of showtime was somewhat calmer than he’s pulled in the past but was greatly extended.
And then Alexi Casilla came to the rescue though (again) and managed to tie up the game with a fairly entertaining hit. Sadly, we couldn’t manage to get one more so it was up to the Indians… Yeah, Matt LaPorta launched one just past where Thome had off of Matt Guerrier and the game was done all of a sudden.
The Boxscore just can’t quite describe how things actually went tonight – hopefully the officiating improves for the rest of the series. If you want to understand what I mean about the Home Run botched call, Ben Collin did a good write up and it saves me the trouble: Simple Physics.