The series against the Chicago White Sox ended with the Twins dropping 2 out of 3. They now sit in 4th place with a 3-4 record. The Detroit Tigers currently lead the division at 4-3.
Friday’s game featured a dreadful pitching matchup of R.A. Dickey facing off against Jose Contreras. Dickey allowed 3 earned runs, 4 hits and 4 walks in his 5.0 innings of work. He did manage to strike out 4 en route to putting up a typical knuckleballer pitching line. Fortunately for Dickey it was the one game the Twins showed up to the ballpark with their bats. They pounded out 15 hits and despite leaving 10 men on base, sailed to a 12-5 victory. They scored at least 2 runs on each of the four White Sox pitchers who came into the game.
Francisco Liriano pitched Saturday’s game and was opposed by Bartolo Colon. In 4.2 IP, Liriano gave up 6 H, 5 ER, 4 BB and notched 3 SO. The bats again went silent and the Twins lost 8-0 while leaving 10 men on base. Philip Humber got demolished in his 0.2 innings of work. On a positive note Guerrier, Crain and Ayala held the Sox hitless in their 2.2 innings while striking out 5.
Sunday’s game was not much better than Saturday’s. Nick Blackburn faced off against Mark Buehrle. In his 6.0 innings, Blackburn gave up 6 hits, 4 runs, 3 earned runs, 1 walk, 1 home run and struck out 1. He was further betrayed by his defense as the Twins committed 3 errors in the game. It was a 6-1 loss with little to cheer for outside of Delmon Young’s solo shot in the 2nd inning.
The Twins starting rotation threw just 15.2 innings with a 6.32 ERA and 1.60 WHIP.
The bullpen as a whole did not fare any better than the starters. In 9.1 innings they had a 6.75 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. Despite their WHIP being 0.31 lower than their performance in the Mariners series, their ERA jumped 4.05.
For the series as a whole, the Twins hit .250 (26/104). In Saturday and Sunday’s games they hit .175 (11/63). Morneau hit in the 3rd slot in the lineup all 3 games in the series hitting .333 (4/12) with 1 HR and 4 RBI.
The catchers hit .200 (2/10) and are now hitting .182 (4/22) on the season. The good news is that Joe Mauer will begin running early in the week and if he can do so relatively pain free his return to the ML team should be drawing near.
Putting up a 6.48 ERA, 1.48 WHIP and .250 BA while also committing 5 errors in the series makes it awfully hard for any team to win games. This series does concern me a little, but I am taking solace in the fact that it was on the road against the White Sox and they are just 1 game out of 1st place. This team is better than what it has shown through seven games, and the team currently in 1st place (Detroit) does not strike me as a team that will finish the season above .500. The pitching staff will get a boost this week with Scott Baker expected to start Wednesday against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Michael Cuddyer has now played in every game and is tied for 2nd on the team with 26 at bats. I am growing increasingly frustrated with the amount of playing time they are giving an, at best, major league average player who is now 30 years old. On the season he is hitting .231/.310/.269 with 1 2B and 3 RBI. He also committed 2 errors in the game today in his start at 1B. Denard Span and Jason Kubel are both outperforming Cuddyer at the plate. Carlos Gomez should play everyday because of his speed and defense. Delmon Young will never get to prove what he can do without playing time this season and to only give him 15 at bats through 7 games is borderline ignorant. No matter what Cuddyer does this season he is not part of the future of this team and organization and should not be playing at the expense of guys who are.
The Twins will be back at home for a 3 game series against the Toronto Blue Jays. Hopefully this series goes a little more smoothly than the first 2. Based on the pitching matchups, the offense should be able to come to life and the Twins should be able to take 2 out of 3. With a little home cooking thrown in a series sweep is certainly possible.
4/13 Jesse Litsch vs. Kevin Slowey
4/14 Ricky Romero vs. Glen Perkins
4/15 Scott Richmond vs. Scott Baker