MINNEAPOLIS — The rain was falling and fans were leaving; an all too familiar scene in 2011 at Target Field. The Twins, despite being 6-2 in June, couldn’t fully break the bad habits and ugly style of baseball they have been putting on the field this year.
It was the same old, same old for the Twins and another unfortunate case of terrible starting pitching they forced upon the fans that fought off the cool breeze and the eventual rain. Brian Duensing (3-6, 4.98 ERA) lasted just 2 innings a night after Nick Blackburn went 8 strong innings before leaving. Duensing actually had a great first inning but his night sprinted to Hell in the second when he got shelled for 7 runs. He eventually got out of the inning before being asked to take a seat. Anthony Swarzak was asked to step in and pick up the slack and in yet another Twins 2011 oddity, he threw over 100 pitches in relief.
The Rangers sent 11 men to the plate in the long, frustrating second inning.
Swarzak was the second of three pitchers for the Twins but he lasted the longest and without Duensing’s atrocious second inning, he would have gotten the win. Swarzak went six full innings and gave up just two runs; one in the fourth and one in the sixth. Instead, Swarzak merely chalked up relief innings as Duensing was tagged with the loss. But before anyone takes the knee jerk reactions to send Duensing to either the bullpen or AAA Rochester, remember he went eight shutout innings in his last appearance. Before anyone jumps down Duensing’s throat for being inconsistent, lets not forget that’s a badge of honor to be a member of the Twins starting rotation.
Just like the pitching went back to bad habits, so did the bats. A lot of this has to be credited to Rangers’ starter C.J Wilson who, in stark contrast to Duensing’s night, went 7 innings and allowed just three runs. Matt Tolbert, Micheal Cuddyer and Drew Butera all had RBI’s but the Twins success against Wilson was limited to that. Alexi Casilla went liquid nitrogen, going 0-5 at the plate tonight. Ben Revere, Luke Hughes and Danny Valencia also all went hit-less although Valencia drew a walk.
The Twins still have the weekend to end the series with the Rangers with Scott Baker (3-4, 3.86 ERA) set to go tomorrow. The highlight of the night is news that Joe Mauer will return to the Twins on Tuesday to kick off a series against the White Sox. But the question will be which Twins team shows up: a revitalized one that is reminiscent of last night’s team or more like the one we saw tonight and for the majority of the season.
Sat. 6/10 – vs. Texas (Baker, 3-4 vs. Lewis, 5-6)
Sun. 6/11 – vs. Texas (Liriano, 3-6 vs. Harrison, 5-5)
Tue. 6/13 – vs. ChiSox (Pavano, 3-5 vs. Floyd, 6-5)