Wow, this is early for baseball.. not that I’m complaining mind you but I can’t imagine how some of our west coast fans feel catching the first pitch with their morning coffee.. *snort*
Last night’s late game heroics (or failures from the Indians point of view) gives us a two game advantage in this series and yet another loss in a row for Cleveland. I would feel a little more pity for Cleveland fans if I didn’t know exactly how they felt after this Twins season – I’ve come to accept that baseball has its ups & downs and I’ll take what I get. Every victory we get right now – against division opponents especially – moves us closer to a reasonable finish this season rather than an embarrassing death in the box scores. We’re actually only 10 games back from the top and only 1 game back from the Indians. Today’s game is rather pivotal in us moving up a bit. We’re still a long ways from .500 which is where I think the team would like to get and where fans would be satisfied. Every game counts to achieve that.
I think Duensing is starting to settle into the starter role as opposed to relief. I don’t think it’s easy just to go back & forth between the two positions but I’m starting to have a lot more confidence when I see his name in the lineup. But as always, our pitchers can’t do it alone – especially not Pitch to Contact guys. They need offense. Let’s hope the guys are able to put both together again today.
|Span, CF||Kipnis, 2B|
|Revere, RF||Cabrera, A, SS|
|Mauer, 1B||Choo, RF|
|Willingham, LF||Santana, C, DH|
|Morneau, DH||Brantley, CF|
|Doumit, C||Duncan, LF|
|Nishioka, 2B||Marson, C|
|Dozier, SS||Kotchman, 1B|
|Casilla, A, 3B||Lillibridge, 3B|
|Duensing, P||Masterson, P|
Losing this game stings a little bit. There are still some items of note but all together, it is still a loss. Cleveland breaks their losing streak and make 2 games ahead of us in the standings. BUT like I said, there are still things to hold on to from this outing:
- Alexi Casilla hit is first home run since June 21st of LAST year which accounted for ALL the runs the Twins managed to score today. Given what appears to be a bit of a MI competition between him & Nishioka, that clearly puts him in the plus category.
- Span hit his 30th 2B of the season – the first time in his career that he has done so if I was hearing correctly.
- We have an off-day tomorrow.
- We won two series in a row and go home after a 5-2 road trip.
- Revere’s hitting streak is over. He went 0-fer today and can begin a new streak on Friday.
- Masterson clearly had it on our hitters today – they were just not able to make it happen.
- Poor fielding cost us more runs than actual hits from what I could see.
- Nishioka did NOT have a good day. I’m not going to add to the piling on that seems to be happening everywhere (with good reason & they aren’t wrong) but as a member of the team, this is his opportunity to show the rest of the team what he can do and it has to be hard on him that he’s not succeeding so far.
Hard to Call:
- Right now every game in the division counts so 2/3 is good but not going to help if we can’t make the most of every opportunity we get.
- Duensing went 7 innings and only 4 of the runs were earned runs. To be honest, he pitched better for most of the game than the score shows. He had a rough first two innings but managed to settle in and do the job after that. I think he is solid for maintaining his spot in the starting rotation but he’s got some work to do to continue improving. I’m sure he wants to give his team their best chance to win with every outing.
- Gardy refuses to comment on Nishioka’s standing given his lack of success with a bat AND a glove so far other than to say that he had a bad game. It’s a legitimate question but I’m glad our manager isn’t prepared to throw one of his guys under the bus – that is what he’s supposed to say until a final decision is made.
It’s a good time to go to a little break and come back home on Friday. The Twins have made a lot of progress in winning back a few fans by playing good baseball lately. I hope they are able to continue that when in Target Field.