It’s been a tough two games with decent pitching in the first and bad pitching in the second, and subpar hitting in both.
I didn’t watch the first game at all, as I was watching my hometown football team lose too. But, I’ll do the best I can to recap it.
The game was basically all Chicago as the score was 4-1 in favor of them going into the bottom of the 9th. You can’t say the Twins didn’t have chances in the 9th, though. With runners on first and second, Joe Mauer struck out. With a runner on second, Justin Morneau struck out. Before Justin struck out, though, Michael Cuddyer came through with a clutch two-RBI double. With the bases loaded and two outs, Phil Nevin came to the plate. It was his second at-bat of the game. The first pitch was a called strike down in the zone. The second pitch was a swinging strike in the dirt. The third pitch was a swinging strike in the dirt, strike 3 game over. Three different chances to at least tie the game (and possibly win it), but they couldn’t do it. Boof Bonser pitched a decent game, throwing just 5 innings (a pre-determined amount for him to get ready for the playoffs) and giving up 3 runs. He gave up 7 hits (including 2 solo homers) and struck out 3, but did not walk anybody. On a positive note, Glen Perkins pitched 3 and 2/3 amazing innings. He gave up just 1 hit (in the 9th), and it was a double. Manager Gardenhire pulled him immediately after that. He threw 48 pitches. Perkins also struck out 5 in that span. Dennys Reyes was brought in, gave up a single and the run scored, being charged to Perkins. Not surprisingly, Reyes was pulled after that and Jesse Crain finished the game.
On to game 2
Matt Garza didn’t pitch like himself. He got out of a couple early jams, which was good to see, but couldn’t get out of the biggest jam. In the third he retired a batter quickly, then gave up a double and a walk. After the Sox batted around, Garza was done after giving up 4 hits and 2 walks in the third inning alone. Also in the mix was an RBI groundout. The White Sox made him throw a lot of pitches early; 67 to 18 batters (which works out to 3.7 per batter, but the batters kept getting on base).
Matt Guerrier and Willie Eyre finished off the game for the Twins. Matt threw 4 and 1/3 innings, giving up 4 hits and 2 runs, including a solo homerun to Tadahito Iguchi. Willie pitched 2 shutout innings, giving up 2 hits and striking out 3.
The main thing for the Twins’ offense was that they weren’t making opposing pitcher Jon Garland throw anything. Taking out the 9th inning (the only inning they made Garland work in), he had thrown 86 pitches to 27 batters, or about 3.1 per batter.
Cuddyer had the only bit of offense worth talking about, a three-run homerun in the bottom of the 9th, to eliminate the possible shutout. If it would have been a shutout, I believe that would’ve been the 15th time this season the Twins would have gotten shut out. Between last night and this afternoon, Cuddyer seems to be one of the only ones not giving up. Torii Hunter, Mike Redmond, and Nick Punto each reached base in the 9th too. Torii and Mike through singles and Nick on a fielding error by the shortstop. Morneau swung at the first pitch he saw and grounded out to the third baseman, and Rondell White pinch-hit for Jason Kubel and grounded out to the first baseman.
Probably the best part, besides the bottom of the 9th, of my trip there was after the game outside of the Dome. 3-4 White Sox fans were chanting “Sweep! Sweep! Sweep!”. I turned around and said “Yeah, we’ll see you guys in the playoffs…oh, wait…I guess not…” and they never said anything after that. Oh, and I also picked up a Homer Hanky. Go to this link for a pic (it’s way too big to post here).