The Twins lost two of the three games against the Kansas City Royals. Minnesota is now 12-13 and remains in 4th place 2 games behind the 1st place Kansas City Royals.
Matchup: Sidney Ponson vs. Kevin Slowey
Result: 7-5 Win
Slowey wasn’t great, but he was better than Sidney Ponson. In 5.0 innings he allowed 8 hits, 5 runs, and struck out 4. For one night the bullpen was lights out. Guerrier, Mijares, and Nathan combined for 4.0 innings of 2-hit shutout work. The offense was led by Mauer, Morneau, and Harris who each had 2 hits in the game. For the game the team hit .313 with 4 walks and 5 extra base hits.
Matchup: Brian Bannister vs. Glen Perkins
Result: 10-7 Loss
Glen Perkins allowed 5 runs, 10 hits and no walks in 6.0 innings. Despite the poor outing the Twins still had a 6-5 lead heading into the 7th inning. The defense and especially the bullpen cost the team a game they had several chances to win. The offense was even better than they were in game 1. As a team they hit .326, while Mauer had a 4 hit game. Young, Cuddyer, and Crede also chipped in with multi-hit games. Another foot of loft on Buscher’s 2B off the wall in the bottom of the 10th and the game would have ended as an 8-7 win. Instead the Twins couldn’t score Buscher from second base with no outs and Twins fans everywhere were subjected to a horrifying top of the 11th. Breslow and Dickey combined to give up 4 walks, 1 hit, and 3 runs.
Matchup: Gil Meche vs. Scott Baker
Result: 7-5 Loss
For 6.0 innings Scott Baker threw no-hit ball. That’s where the good news ended for the day. Baker started the 7th with a 4-0 lead and proceeded to give up 5 hits and 5 runs without recording an out. The offense hit .270 with 4 doubles while hitting 5-13 with RISP. Morneau and Cuddyer had multi-hit games, but it just wasn’t enough.
The starting rotation threw 17.0 innings with a 7.94 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, and 12 SO.
In 12.0 innings of work the bullpen posted a 4.50 ERA, 1.58 WHIP, and 6 SO.
For the series, the Twins hit .304 (34/112) while drawing 10 walks and striking out 17 times. They left 22 men on base while scoring 19 runs. In the series they hit 8 2B, 1 3B, and 2 HR. They hit .371 (13/35) with runners in scoring position.
The return of Joe Mauer sparked the offense to its best series of the season. The Twins averaged 6.33 runs per game while Mauer hit .700/.727/1.200 with 3 runs and 3 RBI. With Mauer’s presence, the Twins lineup looked completely different and they kept the team in every game. Unfortunately the pitching was not up to the task. The starters did not fare well at all in the series, but it was the bullpen that cost the Twins the final two games. It is becoming obvious that the Twins will go as far as the bullpen takes them. In game 1 the pen threw 4 scoreless innings and the Twins won the game. Games 2 and 3, the pen allowed 7 runs in 8.0 innings, not counting inherited runners that scored, and Minnesota lost both games. The bullpen is a mess right now with Joe Nathan and the recently called up Jose Mijares as the only reliable options. Matt Guerrier has also been solid this season outside of a 0.2 inning 4-run outing April 16th against Toronto.
The Twins head to Detroit for a 2-game series against the 13-11 Tigers. On the season the Tigers have scored 129 runs and allowed 119. The Twins have 112 RS and 138 RA. Jesse Crain returns to the team from his DL stint to, hopefully, help the bullpen. To make room for Crain, C-Jose Morales was sent to Triple-A.
5/4 Edwin Jackson (1-1, 2.25) vs. Francisco Liriano (0-4, 6.04)
5/5 Rick Porcello (1-3, 6.23) vs. Nick Blackburn (2-1, 4.02)