Complaining about the umpires is usually a cop out -- and maybe to a degree it still is here. Minnesota cost itself in plenty of other areas, but it seemed the team had some legitimate gripes with how home plate umpire Brian Knight was calling the game.
Minnesota was left guessing pretty much the entire game as to how Knight was going to call things, which imapcted the team's approach. It went beyond obviously questionable calls, of which there were plenty to choose from.
On two separate occasions, Knight called questions inside strikes that contributed to the Twins offense falling silent for most of the game. It wasn't that Twins hitters were being actively stiffled by Knight, but it proved to be a bad combo with how bad things were already going at the plate.
All the offense needed was a little push to go completely out of whack.
It also seemed to impact Twins pitchers as well. Bailey Ober gave up a two-run homer in the third inning to Yordan Alvarez. It was the second pitch of the at-bat that Alvarez tattooed, but how the pitch right before it was called might have contributed to the snafu.
Knight called what appeared to be a strike that painted the bottom of the zone a ball. Ober's next pitch was higher in the zone, and it's possible that he was trying to feel out where the edges were so he could work Alvarez and the rest of the lineup that inning.
Ober's day was effectively over after that home run, as he was able to get out of the inning before being replaced by Kenta Maeda. If that home run isn't allowed, though, Ober might get out of the inning and has an otherwise respectable performance under his belt. He didn't pitch bad, but the Twins got absolutely zero breaks on calls which uncontainably shrunk an already small margin of error.
Then again, the Twins did plenty of things to bury themselves:
On a day like today, every call counts.