Not gonna lie, after the first inning, I switched over to the Indians-Nationals tilt. It’s rare when a game between two last-place teams is more compelling than one between two first-place ones, but the Twins apparently decided to forfeit the game befoer it even started, trotting out their F-squad lineup. Stephen Strasburg wasn’t quite as sharp against the Indians as he’d been against the Pirates, but there’s no question he has the stuff of an elite pitcher (he just needs to work on location and pitch selection a bit). Kevin Slowey failed to make it past the fifth inning for what seems like the hundredth time this season, but he also had the worst possible outfield defense behind him (Though to be fair, it’s impossible to defend against the home run. Stupid Troy Glaus). For Gardy’s detractors, this game was a microcosm of all his faults when it comes to lineup-construction: trotting out a Young-Cuddyer-Kubel outfield with an extreme flyball pitcher on the mound, insisting on batting a middle-infielder (Plouffe) second despite his buck-fifty OBP, batting Nick Punto lead-off, and insisting on sticking Drew Butera in the lineup for some reason (Why is Butera still on the roster? Isn’t Morales ready to come back?). It’s a miracle the Twins scored any runs at all with four, count ‘em four, automatic outs in the lineup.
Best hitter(s): Joe Mauer and Delmon Young, .006 WPA. These were the only hitters with a positive WPA. It was fun watching Man Muscles come to the plate with the bases empty every time.
Worst hitters: Everybody else.
Best pitcher: Brian Duesnsing, .025 WPA. Yeah, it was that kind of game.
Worst pitcher: Kevin Slowey, -.305 WPA. Slowey gave up five runs on nine hits in just 4.2 innings, but he also struck out six while walking only one. While he wasn’t exactly sharp, it’s clear he wasn’t getting any help from the defense behind him, either.
Most important play: Eric Hinske’s routine fly ball to right RBI double combined with Nick Punto’s throwing error in the first, which scored a pair of runs and set the tone for the rest of the game (2.01 WPA).