Yankees 12, Twins 4
Yankees 8, Twins 2
Yankees 5, Twins 1
Another year, another debacle at Yankee Stadium. The Twins have had a lot of success over the last 7 years while falling on their faces in NY, so I'm content to write this off as more of the same. This year it could have been the timing as much as the locale: several Yankee players who had been marginal all season are suddenly red hot, collecting multi-hit games from the bottom of the lineup and providing quiet innings of middle relief.
In any event, not a situation into which you want to come and play crappy baseball, but that's what the Twins did. 4 errors led to 4 unearned runs, while an overthrow and a brain fart led to three more runs that shouldn't have been charged to the pitchers. Add to that a 4 for 33 effort from the 3-5 hitters, and you've got a miserable series on your hands.
Alexi Casilla was one of the few Twins to show up at the plate, going 6-12 with a double. But it wasn't enough to make up for his mishaps in the field. His low throw to the plate with the bases loaded early in the first game was the difference between Nick Blackburn finishing the 2nd down 3-2, and not finishing the second down 6-2. I think Gardy was a little quick with the hook there, considering all the unearned runs. A-Rod's single that chased Blackburn was just a grounder off Brian Buscher's glove at 3rd - not like he pounded one into the gap or anything. I wonder if Mr. Hernandez would have been pulled in the same situation. Hopefully Blackburn was just suffering the effects of a sinker-ball pitcher getting too much rest, and he'll be right back on track vs. Cleveland.
I thought the hook was a little quick for Kevin Slowey, too. He'd allowed just 2 H and 2 BB through 5 IP, yet was pulled just 4 batters into the 6th, 2 outs shy of a quality start. Dennys Reyes had a rare poor outing vs. lefty batters, allowing an inherited run to be charged to Slowey. Jesse Crain was then victimized somewhat by a couple of errors behind him in the 4-run 7th.
Glen Perkins should have been out of the 5th with no runs allowed, but Casilla forgot how many outs there were and failed to complete a potential inning-ending DP. The next batter doubled home two runs (on a grounder over the bag at 3rd, mind you, not a blast to the gap). The blast to the gap came from A-Rod in the next inning, and a poor throw to the plate enabled him to go to 3rd (though he didn't exactly haul ass out of the batter's box for his drive off the wall). The next batter drove him in with a SF. With better defense behind him, Perkins might have allowed just 2 ER in 6 IP, and at 80-odd pitches would have likely come out for the 7th.
So things aren't as bad as they seem for the rotation. However, Francisco Liriano put up his 5th gem in a row in Rochester: 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 10 K. That makes it 35 IP, 19 H, 1 R, 5 BB, 42 K over his last 5 starts. I don't really care who gets displaced at this point - that guy needs to be with the Twins right now.
One good thing that came from the series was the switch of Denard Span to leadoff and Carlos Gomez to 9th in the order. Span responded by going 2-7 with a BB. Gomez, his confidence shattered, went 2-6 with a double. Perhaps reason is finally having its day in the Twins' clubhouse.
I probably won't be able to say much about the next 2 series. I'm going on vacation to Wisconsin Dells, and the resort we're using has been, in my opinion, absurdly negligent about setting up Wi-fi/high-speed internet for its guests. If they've finally gotten around to it, I'm in business. But if they've been distracted by other things, we'll just have to wait until August.