Friday, June 4, 2010

One is the Loneliest Number

Twins 5, Mariners 4
Twins 1, Mariners 7
Twins 1, Mariners 2 (10 innings)
Twins 1, Mariners 4

Living in California, you'd think it'd be easier for me to follow the West Coast games in detail. Nope. Between eating dinner and getting the baby bathed and ready for bed, most of the time between 7-10 PM Pacific Time is already spoken for. So I was only able to give cursory attention to these games. Here's what struck me:
  • 6 of the 8 R the Twins scored in this series came on HR. The Mariners scored 6 R in the series on outs, wild pitches and IF H. Odd to see the Twins get so completely out small-balled. The Mariners made them look like the White Sox.
  • What does it say about Target Field that the Twins could come to a pitcher's park like Safeco and rip 5 HR in 3 games - more than they managed in 9 games on the last home stand?
  • Wednesday night's game was pivotal. The Mariners have been a disappointment this year, but not because they haven't delivered outstanding pitching and defense. With back-to-back games against Cy Young caliber pitchers like Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez, every run is crucial. Not just on the scoring side, but on the prevention side, as well. Obviously, the game ended on a bad call, and the Twins should have had an opportunity to win it with the top of the order coming up in the 11th. But they could have won it 1-0 in regulation had they not allowed Milton Bradley, who had 1 SB coming into the game, to steal 2nd and 3rd in the 5th inning. He came home on a SF, so all they had to do was keep a guy who isn't much of a base-stealing threat from running his way into scoring position and Slowey and the gang could have had a combined shutout. That was a bit of a mental letdown, and against a pitcher like Lee, those can be costly.
  • Great to see Slowey complete 7 IP, though. Now, do it again.
  • The Twins game wasn't the only one that ended on a missed call by the umpires. The Tigers' Armando Galarraga was robbed of a perfect game on a similar play in Detroit. I've never seen the harm in expanding instant replay. Some say it will lengthen the games, but the players and managers already waste a bunch of time arguing close calls, so I doubt getting an official ruling from the replay booth would add much to that. Especially if they add a 5th umpire to the crews so that the other guys wouldn't have to leave the field. I can think of 4 losses since last year's All-Star break that might have gone differently for the Twins with replay in effect. If it's implemented quickly, there would be some kinks to work out, but I bet the system would be running pretty smoothly by next year and routinely by 2012.
  • Michael Cuddyer finally got a day off because he needed to be with his wife's family after the passing of his father-in-law. Really, it will be four days off. I guess that means that, when he comes back, he'll be good until the All-Star break.
  • Danny Valencia was called up to replace Cuddyer on the roster. Like everyone else this year, he collected a H in his first PA.
It doesn't feel good to lose to a team with as crappy a record as the Mariners. But the Twins are without one of their primary table-setters in Orlando Hudson, while Denard Span is going through a cold spell. And they were facing some of the best pitching in the league. And they can say with some plausibility that, if it hadn't been for the umps, they might have walked away from Seattle with a split. Let's see how the offense does in Oakland against a similarly good pitching/weak hitting team. With a strong weekend, there's still time to make this into a good road trip.

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