Scott Baker actually had a pretty good game, allowing just 2 runs through 5 innings. He gave up 5 hits which included two doubles and the biggest hit, a two-run homer in the third inning. He walked one and struck out 3 and needed 99 pitches to do so. 72 of them were strikes, though, which indicates that he had decent-to-good command.
Remember how I said whenever Brian Bass or Juan Rincon come into the game, the small lead an opposing team has seems to get larger because of them? Well, Bass relieved Baker and, to his credit, had a scoreless inning (the 6th) before giving up a solo homer in the 7th. That run would prove to be the winning run because the final was 3-2. But he’s out of options and the team doesn’t want to risk losing a pitcher with a career 4.32 ERA in 843 and 1/3 minor league innings. God forbid they let Bobby Korecky actually pitch on a regular basis. Actually, screw that idea. It’d be better if they risked losing Rincon through waivers because of his salary which, he were picked up from waivers, would have to be paid by the team selecting him and taking the Twins off the hook for (give or take) $2 million. And we all know how much owner Carl Pohlad loves to pinch his pennies.
Alright, enough about fish (get it? Bass?), pitching and pinching. Onto highlights from yesterday’s game:
- Mike Redmond, predictably starting the day game after a night game, collected 3 hits including an RBI double. That was just his 10th start of the season yet his 4th double and his 4th RBI.
- Alexi Casilla picked up Carlos Gomez‘s 1-5 day with three hits of his own, including his 5th double of the year. He scored once and also drove in a run.
- Nick Punto was 2-3 with his third and fourth doubles of the year, while drawing a walk and also scoring. The bad news is that after the game he was put back on the Disabled List with a strained hamstring. Just one day after being sent down to make room for Baker, Matt Macri was called back up. There’s a rumor floating around that Macri was actually flying back to Rochester on a Pohlad-owned airline and Ron Gardenhire just had Ol’ Carl tell the pilot to turn the plane around and head for Minnesota, but nobody has confirmed it yet.
- Gardy had to get creative in the 8th inning, pinch-running for Redmond after he got his final hit. But it was Kevin Slowey to come in and run, not one of the other hitters on the bench. Why? Well, Jason Kubel pinch-hit for Craig Monroe who got the start at DH (and Kubel got a single, by the way) while Joe Mauer pinch-hit for Delmon Young. That leaves just Brendan Harris on the bench and Gardy knew that if the game went into extras and Harris had already pinch-ran, the team might get screwed pretty badly with no bench players left.
- One of the rules I hate is the pinch-hitting for the DH spot rules. Mind you, I don’t know the specifics of it, but let me outline the situation in the game for you. Kubel pinch-hit as a DH for Monroe, but Mauer batted for Delmon, the left fielder. And Red Dog was pinch-hit for, leaving the catcher’s spot open. Obviously Mauer shifts to catcher while Kubel goes to left because Young is out of the game now. Why can’t the manager bring in somebody to play DH? That is illegal but Kubel could’ve stayed as the DH and Harris could have played left and that would be totally fine.
- Those situations are another reason why carrying 13 pitchers is irrational. As bad as Rincon and Bass are, Craig Breslow has been really solid (getting two outs in yesterday’s game with 12 pitches) and although Dennys Reyes doesn’t pitch that much, he’s been reliable when he’s on the mound. Jesse Crain‘s ERA is 3.28 and it’s possible that he’s finally regained his pre-injury form. Joe Nathan rarely pitches in games that aren’t save opportunities and he’s never thrown more than 26 pitches in an outing this year (and coupled with that, he hasn’t even gone more than an inning yet.) Matt Guerrier has slid into Pat Neshek‘s “shut-’em-down” role very well and Boof Bonser is our new long reliever. The way I see it is, Reyes can go more than an out at a time, even if he does have to face one or two righties. Breslow’s gone more than an inning in two of his three appearances with the team this year, and even went two innings back in April while still with the Indians. Guerrier can go an inning, if not more, and Boof should be able to go 2-3 innings every three days or 1-2 innings every other day, if not more. Am I the only Twins fan that thinks the team would be just fine with 12 pitchers? Please comment to let me know whether or not I’m going insane here.
The team is now in Chicago for a 4-game series with start times of (all in Central) 7:11, 6:05, 1:05, and 1:05.
Also make note that the MLB draft (well, the first part anyway) was held yesterday with the Twins making 3 selections in the first 31 picks. The second half continues today and either later on tonight or coupled with tomorrow’s recap of tonight’s game, you’ll see some information on a few of the newest Minnesota Twins.