GameChat – Indians @ Twins #3, 7:10pm

Wow, I thought sitting through YESTERDAY’s games was a hot deal.  It’s like some little blond girl is staring at a dopplar screen and saying “it’s baaaa-aack.” We’re looking at temps around 95 degrees for game start time and given the ridiculous levels of humidity, the heat index says 117 degrees. Yeah, that’s even worse than it was yesterday.  At least they are only playing one game today – too bad it’s after the last three. At least the evening looks clear for any more storms so we shouldn’t have to deal with any rain delays.

After yesterday’s performances though, I have to say that as long as Liriano holds it together for more than 5 innings, the problem is going to be OFFENSE. We simply have to see more guys hitting more often with men on base. Gotta start getting runs before the last inning of the game.. first rule in the baseball primer is: you win when you score more often than the other guys. If we’re able to win tonight and tomorrow, we’re at least back to where we started in relation to Cleveland. We fought pretty hard to get to the point where we were in striking distance. I would hate to see all that dissipate in a single series.

At any rate, thinking positively, I think we can do this. Win Twins!

Cleveland

@

Minnesota
Carrera, CF Revere, CF
Cabrera, O, 2B Casilla, A, 2B
Cabrera, A, SS Mauer, 1B
Santana, C, 1B Cuddyer, RF
LaPorta, DH Thome, DH
Kearns, RF Valencia, 3B
Hannahan, 3B Young, D, LF
Marson, C Nishioka, SS
Buck, T, LF Butera, C
  Masterson, P   Liriano, P
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Cleveland 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 1
Minnesota 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 6 0

I have to say that game didn’t exactly come with the offensive outburst I think many of us have been hoping to see, but a win is a win and the guys certainly came through with a big ninth-inning come-from-behind walk-off win over the ‘Toons.

Frankie wasn’t exactly efficient, but he survived six innings of 1-run pitching and the bullpen arms of Dumatrait, Capps and Perkins were just about perfect, so can’t give anything but praise to the pitching staff tonight. They also got some excellent defense from their team mates behind them, as well.

But at the end, when it was needed the most, Michael Cuddyer doubled and then read Danny Valencia’s game-winning base hit perfectly to score from second base behind Joe Mauer. So Cuddy and Danny V are our co-BODs tonight! – JC

Danny Valencia

Michael Cuddyer

Looking For The Big O

No… not THAT “Big O”. This is a baseball blog, get your mind out of the gutter!

(Image: Declan Burke)

Although, that said, the Twins and their fans could certainly use a little tension release right now. You can feel the stress building already. All it took was that doubleheader loss on Monday to the ‘Toons and all of a sudden, blood pressures are elevated all over Twinsville.

Everyone wants to know who’s to blame. Scott Baker for not giving the team enough advance notice that his elbow remained sore? The bullpen for giving up a few runs? Anthony Swarzak and Scott Diamond for not shutting down the Tribe hitters? Or do we just fall back on the “first rule of leadership” and declare it to all be Gardy’s fault?

For me, it’s “none of the above”. I’m looking straight at the Twins’ hitters and I’m concerned that we aren’t seeing the offense we’re going to need to see to keep the momentum that’s been built up over the past several weeks.

During the first half of July, leading up to the AllStar Break, the Twins won seven of 10 games. During that stretch, they outscored opponents 60-45, which thankfully makes doing the math easy. They averaged 6 runs each game. In fact, there were only two games in which they scored fewer than five runs (and they won one of those games).

After the break, it looked like the Twins would pick up right where they left off, beating the Royals 8-4 on Thursday. In the five games since that night, however, the assbats have apparently returned.

In the past five games, Twins hitters have a combined .231 batting average and an on-base percentage of just .272. That’s not good. But what’s even worse is that they have hit just .121 with runners in scoring position. Looking at that, it’s hardly a surprise that the Twins have not put up five runs on the board in any of those five games. Given that Joe Mauer seems to be coming back to form and hitting the ball well, I’m afraid to even look at what happens to those stats if you pull his numbers out.

Almost everything I’ve read lately has been about the state of the Twins’ pitching. The closer situation. Possible trade targets for bullpen help. Whether Slowey should be brought back to the rotation. How seriously is Baker hurt? Should Gibson get his shot? That’s all fine, friends, go ahead and fret about the bullpen and by all means, worry about Scott Baker’s elbow and the inconsistency of the rest of the rotation.

But the guys with the sticks need to start doing their jobs again or nothing else will matter.

- JC