Twins 6, Rangers 0
Twins 14, Rangers 2
Rangers 1, Twins 0
Oh, so tired.
Baby crying. All night crying. Why is she crying?
Is she hungry? Does she need change? Is she gassy?
Or maybe she's upset that the Twins outscored the #1 offensive team in the Majors 20-3 over three games (allowing just 11 hits!), yet failed to earn a sweep. That certainly upset her daddy. You know I have a hard time losing well-pitched games, but when it's a first-rate pitcher like CC Sabathia or Dice-K, I can swallow it. For me, Vicente Padilla does not qualify, yet he's shut out the Twins twice this season. Argh!
Poor Scott Baker. Yesterday was the 3rd time in his last 8 starts that he went 7 or more IP allowing 1 or fewer runs and the Twins didn't win. With even a pittance of run support, his record could be 9-1 right now. What a drag to lose your perfect game/no-hitter/shutout all at once to a kid who's only been called up for the weekend. Still, what a marvelous season Baker's having: ERA of 3.26, WHIP of 1.09, 5 K for every BB. I guessed before the season began that he would prove to be the Twins' ace, and he's certainly filling that role (until an antsy LHP is recalled from AAA, anyway).
Little things matter so much in 1-0 games. The play that really bugged me (other than letting the count get to 3-2 on Taylor Teagarden) came in the bottom of the 6th. Denard Span led off with a walk, and Carlos Gomez was, sensibly, asked to bunt him over to 2nd. He popped the bunt up to the catcher, and Alexi Casilla followed with a sharp grounder right on the first base line that was fielded at the bag to start an inning-ending DP. Had Gomez successfully sacrificed, I suspect the first baseman would have been playing in (protecting against a possible bunt from Casilla), but a few steps off the line. With that defensive positioning, the exact same ground ball from Casilla likely would have found its way into the RF corner, easily scoring Span to tie the game and putting Casilla in scoring position for Mauer and Morneau.
My agent was about to file a grievance with the blogger's union to investigate the irrational continued use of Livan Hernandez in the rotation, Brian Bass in the bullpen and Gomez at the top of the lineup. Then Saturday night came along and turned my world upside down. Livan had allowed 12 ER on 19 H and 3 BB in just 8 IP over his first 2 starts vs. the Rangers, but he shut them down this weekend, allowing just 2 ER on 5 H and 1 BB in 7 IP. I couldn't have asked any more from Francisco Liriano (except quite a few more strikeouts, perhaps). Bass relieved him and had a 1-2-3 8th inning with a strikeout. And Gomez went 2-4 with a walk, using his amazing wheels to turn a slow chopper off the third baseman's glove into a double.
All of that is just one game. Unfortunately, the folks who set the roster and the lineup will use it as evidence that everything is hunky-dory as is. It seems like one good game can overrule 5 bad ones. But the team is winning, for now. Hopefully, Blackburn and Slowey will pick up the baton from Baker and shut down the Yankees. And I hope the Rangers, on their way to Chicago, will remember that they are awesome at scoring runs and blow the White Sox to bits.