Scott Baker was able to go 7 strong innings, allowing just  one run on 8 Cleveland hits. 7 were singles, and the double was hit by the runner that ended up scoring. Scott threw a total of 95 pitches but just 59 were strikes. Still, he only had one walk and he also had just a strikeout. He falls to 2-1 on the season, but file this one under the Tough Loss column. Funny, Johan Santana has 3 Tough Losses on the season, but so do Boof Bonser and Nick Blackburn. Maybe Santana doesn’t have it that great over in NY after all. By the way, a Tough Loss is the compliment to a Quality Start; a starting pitcher goes at least 6 innings while giving up 3 earned runs or less, but gets a loss on their record.

 

The team squandered their best scoring chance, in the first, with a poor baserunning move by Carlos Gomez. Unfortunately I turned the game on for the first time in the top of the second, so I personally didn’t see the play, but apparently he was doubled off of second. According to the mlb.com wrap for the game, he thought Justin Morneau‘s ball was going to land in the gap and didn’t go half-way to third and watch, instead he just ran full speed and had no chance to get back to second base. He also made a poor fielding play that led to the only run scored by either team. He overran the ball and had to backtrack a few steps to get it, allowing the runner to score. I’m not sure that the runner would’ve been out for sure even if Gomez did field it cleanly, but there at least would’ve been a play at the plate.

After imploding in his last appearance, Matt Guerrier needed just 12 pitches to pitch the 8th inning, allowing a single but nothing more.

 

Really, all the talk has been about C.C. Sabathia and his complete game shutout. He allowed 5 hits but all of them were singles, not to mention he didn’t walk anybody and struck out 5. Including in those 5 was a rare strikeout of Joe Mauer, who chased the high heat for just his 16th strikeout on the year. For comparison, Michael Cuddyer has played in 10 less games than Mauer but has exactly double the amount of strikeouts.

 

Gomez as well as Alexi Casilla got hits (just one apiece), extending both of their hitting streaks.

 

More questionable managing by Ron Gardenhire: Mike Redmond was the DH (which is fine with me, I understand the need to swap players every now and then) and led off the 8th inning. Jason Kubel and Craig Monroe, second and tied for third on the team in homers, respectively, sat on the bench. Red Dog was gone on a pitch, it took Delmon Young just 3 to fly out, and Brendan Harris struck out on 4. Young could’ve been pinch-hit for, but the same cannot be said for Harris with no backup infielder on the bench. And still, with Mike Lamb on the bench, Matt Macri stayed in there for the 9th. He was one of just 5 Twins with a hit in the game, but it seems to me that Gardy usually loves doing all of the “managerial things” in the late innings, such as pinch-hitting, substituting defensive wizards into the game. Except he loves doing them when they make no baseball sense, at all, and refuses to make smart, logical moves.

 

The team will definitely be going down to 12 pitchers and 13 position players by Friday when they travel to Milwaukee to face the Brew Crew. It might be interesting to see which pitcher to get rid of. Many of us are calling for Juan Rincon‘s head, but I’m a bigger fan of big game on the wall, not an ex-steroid user. I guess this depends on how much Gardy really wants that 13th pitcher, because I know he likes Brian Bass and the Pohlad family may not allow Rincon to be dropped and money to be wasted. But it’s possible to send Nick Blackburn down, who still has options, just for the Milwaukee series, because he won’t have to pitch during that series. Interleague play continues after that but with a 6-game homestand. The team has the next two Mondays off, which would allow an extra day of rest for the pitchers and, in my opinion, make it feasible to fluctuate the young pitchers around enough to make things work. Nobody would want to be yanked around like that, but they would understand that it isn’t necessarily a demotion, just a making-space move. And I just remembered that I think there’s a rule where a player who was sent down cannot be called up until after a 10-day period is over. Hmm, so much for my genius player-fluctuation plan.

 

The team has signed a total of 6 of their recent draft picks, but the big three (Aaron Hicks, Carlos Gutierrez, and Shooter Hunt) remain unsigned. They did nab their second-rounder, Tyler Ladendorf, though.

Blackburn pitches tonight with a start time of 6:05.

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