Tigers 9, Twins 4 – Miguel Cabrera is pretty good

The Moment: The Tigers relentlessly pounded Tyler Duffey in his three innings of work. Justin Upton’s 3 run home run to cap off the third and double the Tigers total was the mark that tipped it entirely in the favor of the Motor City Kitties.

The Hero: Miguel Cabrera, as noted above, is pretty good. He had 4 hits, two of them were doubles and a home run in the first inning. Quite impressive.

The Condolences: Tyler Duffey came into this game with an ERA over 6, and he didn’t get any better. Cabrera and Upton homered off of him, and he was done after 3 innings. Perhaps done for longer. Free Adalberto!

Were Ryan and Kyle in a highlight? YES

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The Soundtrack – The Wheel- PJ Harvey – There is absolutely no relation to Steve Harvey.

The Story – Not any fun, this game. I mean, it was dollar dog night, which was OK, but I’m not even sure the dogs I got were worth that dollar, if I’m being totally honest. The party was over pretty quickly after those dogs started doing their damage (they move fast). Cabrera homered in the first inning, and while Minnesota tied it back up in the bottom half of the inning, the race was on, and it wasn’t one that the Twins were going to win.

They did get a good outing from most of their bullpen. Pat Light continues to be an encouraging addition, while the better Ryan was definitely O’Rourke tonight, as he went 2 solid innings, while Pressly watched the lead expand.

Also some fun news: Brian Dozier became the first player since Josh Willingham to reach 30 homers in a season since Josh Willingham. There is still more than a month of the season left. He’s going to hit 35!

So that was enthusiastic, but yes, the Twins up and lost today.

Tigers 8, Twins 3 – No, of course this couldn’t be a rain delay

The Moment: Despite the way this score looks, it wasn’t really put out of reach until the 6th inning. The Twins and Tigers were tied to begin the 6th and had a pair of runners on base by the time Cameron Maybin came up. He drove both in with a single before getting thrown out himself. Always find your cutoff man!

The Hero: Maybin gave the Tigers two different leads, the first on a bases loaded walk in the second, and that single to put them in front that I mentioned above.

The Condolences: Kyle Gibson was pedestrian, at best. He didn’t deserve this. Well, maybe he did. 5 runs allowed in 6 innings is a pretty surefire way to los.

The Soundtrack: I’m listening to Scott Ferrall on CBS Sports Radio. They are talking about the Washington football team. I am turning off Scott Ferrall on CBS Sports Radio.

The Story: It seemed like the Twins were going to keep up with their nemeses from Detroit, with the game tied at 3-3. Brian Dozier hit a home run Joe Mauer had career RBI #800, and through the middle innings, Minnesota had even briefly held a lead.

Then Cameron Maybin came in and ruined it all with his RBI single in the 6th. Then Michael Tonkin came in and ruined it with his pitching. The Tigers got two homers, from newbie Erick Aybar and oldie Victor Martinez.

On the other hand, we did get to see one Mr. Patrick Light take the mound. He finished off the 7th after Tonkin gave up oh so many home runs, and struck out 1 with a hit. Not bad!

Royals 2, Twins 1 – All your good times are over

The Moment: The game was a 1-1 tie until the 6th inning when, with two outs, Loreno Cain chopped an infield single, followed by Eric Hosmer’s double over Eddie Rosario’s head, scoring Cain. That was it. That was all the Royals needed.

The Hero: Danny Duffy had one of those games that was probably not as good as the final score indicated. He allowed 8 hits and 2 walks in 6 2/3 innings of work, compared to Ervin Santana’s 5 hits and 10 k’s in 7 full innings. Alas, Duffy “pitched to the score” (got lucky” so he gets plaudits for his heroics.

The Condolences: Eddie Rosario compiled an 0-4 game with three strikeouts. Yikes.

The Soundtrack: Sometimes, I turn on the Weather Radio if I am having trouble focusing and need the monotonous robotic vote of the National Weather Service to drown everything else out.

The Story: For the first time all series, the Twins actually got a good starting pitching performance. Ervin Santana is beginning to win me over, inasmuch as I will happily say that, yes, he can pitch, and he’s doing very well. Oh, he should DEFINITELY be traded this offseason, but he’s great this year.

The Twins issue today, though, was execution. It wasn’t apparent, really, when they lost 10-0 last night, for example, that they couldn’t push a run across the plate, because we were too focused on the exorbitant run total scored against them. But yeah. Not great.

The Twins will come home for some games against the Tigers, who they have also been pretty bad against this year. The good news is, they don’t have to play tomorrow.

What to do with Jorge Polanco

Jun 10, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco (11) fields and throws to first for the out during the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Jorge Polanco, in his short MLB career has compiled a career average of .314, with an OBP of .368 and a SLG of .455. Those are all solid numbers. They aren’t necessarily that far off from what we should expect, either. His average seems buoyed by a high BABIP, but the ability to draw walks and hit for power are legitimate. He had 9 homers in Rochester in his time there this season.

He’s also proven himself adept in the field, contributing 3.2 defensive runs saved above average while occupying second, third and short. Polanco is an underrated prospect, and short of Max Kepler, is the most productive rookie the Twins have had this year. Like Kepler, the Twins seemed loathe to find a spot for him on the Major League roster, until he batted his way into position.

Polanco may even be more surprising than Kepler. Kepler played a lot of outfield in the minors, and is still playing in right field, no matter what the orientation of other outfielders. Polanco only played second and third in Rochester, as Patrick Reusse pointed out a few days ago. He has hit so well that he is now playing short every day in the wake of Eduardo Nunez’ trade to San Fancisco.

Still, I don’t know that anyone has outwardly proclaimed Polanco the shortstop of the future. People seem to speculate about Polanco’s future as it relates to Brian Dozier. There is no spot for Polanco at second if a guy with 35 HR potential is still there, I don’t care how good Polanco is. They won’t put him at third, either. The Twins seem intent on getting Miguel Sano over there, if and when they ever get rid of Trevor Plouffe.

So why NOT pencil Polanco in at short next year? There aren’t any shortstops around the corner for the Twins. Nick Gordon is as close as it gets right now, and he is still a few years away. The only reason not to, I would guess, is if the plan is to trade Dozier or Polanco in the offseason. That can’t possibly be the plan, though, simply because there is no GM.

In retrospect, it appears as though Polanco’s skills as a shortstop were either not developed in his minor league career, or were kept under wraps. Now, without the guidance of Terry Ryan, Paul Molitor can just use him where he is needed. Jorge Polanco can use the time to prove he belongs at short.

 

Royals 10, Twins 0 – HECTOR SANTIAGO IS NOT BETTER THAN RICKY NOLASCO

The Moment: The end came early for this game. The Royals had a pair of runners on, and Cheslor Cuthbert (stellar name) hit a double that only scored 1, but also set the Royals up for two more. Not that it really mattered, of course. The Royals only needed that one.

The Hero: Ian Kennedy had a pretty great game. He worked 8 scoreless innings with 6 strikeouts while allowing only 4 hits. Only one hit to someone not named Ed.

The Condolences: Rob Antony and anyone else who sill thinks trading for Hector Santiago was a good move.

The Soundtrack: Take on Me – Reel Big Fish. You guys remember 1998? Wow, that was great.

The Story: I guess there really isn’t much of a background story to this one. There is no hidden message within the story line. The Twins were exceptionally bad in this game.

They were first held in check by Ian Kennedy, which is a little embarassing. They also saw Hector Santiago get lit up again, which has happened every time he has donned a Twins uniform. Eduardo Escobar had two hits, which I guess is pretty great.

One fun thing about this game, though, was that Adalberto Mejia was called up and put in a couple of innings of work. That’s pretty sweet, watching the pitcher the Twins acquired who might actually be good down the road. It was a rocky appearance, though no earned runs were allowed. He was sent back to Rochester immediately after the game, and speculation is that another player the Twins acquired at the deadline, Pat Light, could be up next.

Royals 5, Twins 4 – The game that refused to end

The Moment: This game went until past 2AM. The moment HAD to be the one that ended it. Eric Hosmer mercifully ended the affair with an 11th inning single.

The Hero: This game was interrupted twice. The Twins recovered from a 4-1 deficit in the top of 5th, and then it started to rain. Ryan Pressly came in and held the Royals in check for a pair of harrowing innings. Then, the lights went out. Chien Ming Wang came in to pitch a pair of innings after they came back on, both coming well after midnight. Pressly and Wang tied for the top spot, for prolonging this nightmare of a game.

The Condolences: JT Chargois gave up the game winner, but in a game like this, it’s more heroic than anything.

The Soundtrack: Hay Girl – OAR. Tru story: OAR has 3 songs, and they just rerelease them every 6 months.

The Story: There were so many storylines in this game that need addressing. First, there was the start from Jose Berrios. He has AAA all figured out, but to date, he’s been dreadful in the Majors. The most troubling aspect last night was his lack of command of the strike zone. He walked in two runs in his 4 innings of work. That’s not a good thing for someone who needs to get strikeouts. How can you do that if nobody feels the need to swing?

Then there is Brian Dozier. He hit his 28th home run of the season, and appears well on his way to a number in the mid 30s on the season. Even more remarkable, this was his 7th game against the Royals in a row where he homered. He was the 1 run before the Twins completed their comeback in the 5th. The Twins tied it up for the next 7 hours or so when Jorge Polanco had a 2 RBI hit in the 4th.

And then the delays. A massive rain storm moved through with the game tied at 4 in the 5th, causing delays that some thought the game wouldn’t come back from. They did. Then the lights went out after the 1145 restart. It was still in the 8th inning at 1AM. Of course, this was the game that had to go to extra frames. By the end of the game, there were about 6 people left, in the stadium, and that includes Dick ‘n’ Bert.

For some reason, these same two teams play again tonight.

Royals 8, Twins 1 – I miss Mike Sweeney. Does anyone else miss Mike Sweeney?

The Moment: Do you know a great way to really change the momentum of a game? You hit a grand slam. That pretty much takes care of things. Alex Gordon had his in the 4th, and it was all over.

The Hero: There was some competition – No I’m just kidding, it was the guy who hit the grand slam, Alex Gordon.

The Condolences: Conversel, the condolences go to Tyler Duffey who not only gave up the grand slam, but also loaded the bases to set it up. Oops!

The Soundtrack: Lose Yourself – Eminem – I mean, the Twins have lost essentially everything else this season.

The Story: There was a great deal of discussion before the game began about just how bizarre the lineup construction was tonight. Joe Mauer was DHing, with Plouffe at 1st and Sano at 3rd. Odd, but that’s one way to get everyone in the lineup. But then, they were batting 3rd, 4th and 6th, respectively. That was weird. Why stick with the staid lineup construction of last year when it’s clear that Plouffe isn’t anywhere near the hitter that Sano is?

Well, fortunately Tyler Duffey, Alex Gordon and the Kansas City Royals were able to take our minds off of this wonky lineup! Duffey came unglued in the 4th, and he Royals responded by beating the ever loving snot out of the Twins. Consider that Minnesota’s only run was a lead off homer from Brian Dozier. If the game started over immediately after that point, then the Royals won 8-0 and the Twins had 4 hits and struck out 9 times.

For KC, Dillon Gee showed Twins fans what a real pitcher does, striking out 7 of those 9. Yep, this is where I’m at. I’m envious of the team because they have Dillon Gee. Woof.

Twins 10, Braves 3 – Gibby goes the distance

The Moment: The Twins put together an early lead, with a 2 run first inning. The Braves quickly and suddenly changed that, as Freddie Freeman clobbered a 2 run homer in the bottom of the third inning. Things would eventually turn back the way of the Twins, but for a moment, it seemed like things were going the Braves’ way.

The Hero: The rest of this team let him down, but Freddie Freeman came through whenever there was an occasion to do so. He walked twice and had that big home run, only being retired late in the game, long after things were over.

The Condolences: Eric O’Flaherty came in for only one inning of work, but that inning was the 6th, in which the Twins reclaimed the lead for good.

The Soundtrack: All Falls Down – Kanye West. This came from before Kanye decided that his music was no longer a form of artistic expression.

The Story: The night after winning their first ever game in the state of Georgia, the Twins went ahead and swept the series. Not only that, but they were clearly the better team. This wasn’t a fluke!

Kyle Gibson wasn’t great, if we’re being honest, allowing a pair of home runs and 3 runs, but he was always in control, and his complete game was vital, not only to this game, but the rest of the games this week. The bullpen has been heavily taxed all season, and it’s nice to give them a break, and it was nice that Gibby didn’t wear himself out.

Of course, a vital component to Gibson being able to pitch all 9 innings was his offensive support. If the game was closer, I have to believe there would have been some fresh blood thrown into the game late. Sure, Juan Centeno doubled home the go ahead run, but I would venture to say that the Twins’ three run 7th was more beneficial to the rest of their week than anything else that occurred in this game.

Juan Centeno and Brian Dozier ended with a pair of RBI each, and Trevor Plouffe continues to prove his worth, tacking on 3 more of his own.

Twins 4, Braves 2 – The first win in Atlanta… ever

The Moment: The Twins jumped out ahead of the Braves, but could never pull away from Atlanta. They finally scored 2 more in the 8th inning to make it 3-1, but Matt Kemp struck a double with two on to drive in Atlanta’s run and put the tying run in scoring position. The Twins would get out of it, however, and get a little insurance in the 9th.

The Hero: Erv went 7 innings, scattering 4 hits and striking out 6. When he is good, Santana can be extremely effective.

The Condolences: I will say this much for Adonis Garcia: He has a brilliant name. On the other hand, though, he always seemed to come to the plate and derail any momentum that his Braves had.

The Soundtrack: Thank You – Led Zeppelin – I really appreciate a good, polite song.

The Story: The Twins had never won a game in the state of Georgia. It didn’t matter in the World Series, but in this garbage season, it definitely did. The Twins just need whatever small victories they can get, so yes. This felt good.

Joe Mauer has quietly been on fire of late, and scored the Twins’ first two runs, the second coming on his 10th home run of the season. The Twins added a pair of runs later, on a second Plouffe RBI (He drove Mauer in the first time) and an RBI single from Kurt Suzuki.

Now that I think about it, this was really only a good game if you were a Twins player in their 30s. Ervin Santana was the real catalyst for victory, thanks to his 7 innings of shutout ball. So much for the youth movement.

Royals 11, Twins 4 – Minnesota is still an unapologetic baseball wasteland

The Moment: It was already 2-1 in the 4th inning when the Royals put two aboard for Alcides Escobar. He doubled the Royals’ run total, and set them up for more by hitting a triple on Kansas City’s way to a 6 run inning.

The Hero: Escobar’s big hit was the last blow while the game was still up in the air. Paulo Orlando also had a three run homer but Escobar’s three hits and clutch triple tilted the balance a bit more strongly than Orlando’s big hits.

The Condolences: I need you all to fully understand that Hector Santiago is not a good pitcher and the Ricky Nolasco trade was not good at all.

The Soundtrack: La Vie En Rose – Louis Armstrong. I fully believe that you can’t really appreciate modern music until you appreciate it’s forebears. Louis Armstrong was known, perhaps mostly for his trumpet skills, but when all was said and done, he could put together a beautiful work of art.

The Story: I was on vacation over the weekend, so a special thank you to Kyle Blume for helping out while I was away. It’s a crying shame that he had to be stuck with such a crap series though, as the Twns vs the Royals. While there was no doubt the Twins did pretty good on Saturday, the rest of the weekend was pretty unwatchable. So I wasn’t watching. Sorry.

It’s pretty easy to see what happened though. Hector Santiago struck out only two, while allowing way too much hard contact. The good news was that there were only 7 earned runs allowed. The bad news, on the other hand, was that there were also 4 errors, which led to 4 more runs when all was said and done. Yikes. As if Hector needed the reminder, this isn’t Mike Trout behind him.

Offensively, the Twins were a hair better. Not saying a lot, granted, given how bad they were defensively and on the mound. Brian Dozier started the scoring with a home run, and Joe Mauer had a pair of hits and an RBI. They are off tonight, which is good news for everyone. We all need a night off from this crap.