In a reversal of roles, the Tigers dominated the Twins on Tuesday night in the process of winning 8-0, the fourteenth time this year they have not scored a run over the course of a ballgame. The Twins didn't really do anything well in this game, with the possible exception of turning three double plays (although that really is negated by the fact that they grounded into three double plays themselves). Michael Cuddyer and Garrett Jones notched two hits apiece, and Jones had his first career stolen base. Matt Garza had a poor performance, and Julio DePaula was no better in relief. Of course, Juan Rincon was able to pitch 2/3 of an inning without allowing any runners to get on base.
It looks as if Joe Mauer will play just one more game this year, possibly two. Gardenhire has said he will definitely catch for Johan Santana in tomorrow's game, but that may be it. After a season where he has been hindered by a myriad of injuries, and now may need surgery for a possible hernia, the time off is well-deserved. With the Twins out of the playoff picture long ago, this is a good move which will hopefully aid in getting (and keeping) Mauer healthy for next year. In addition, I found Aaron Gleeman's article regarding Mauer very interesting, especially the last paragraph, where Gleeman compares him to Derek Jeter. I have always thought Derek Jeter is incredibly overrated, and I found the evidence he presents to be very enticing.
Alexi Casilla went 0-3 in today's game, bringing his average on the year down to .228. In the month of September, he has batted just .222/.222/.250. He has not drawn a walk since August 26th and he has not gotten an extra base hit since September 1st. In his last six games, he is 1-20 (.050) with five strikeouts. Why do I bring up these statistics? While I do think he should playing right now, with thoughts of October erased long ago, I don't know if Casilla is ready to be the everyday second baseman in 2008. When the Twins traded Luis Castillo, Casilla was supposed to replace him relatively seamlessly; but that has not happened. Although he has been a threat to steal once on base, the rest of his numbers are not good. I think the Twins should be gunning for at least a division title next year, which puts Casilla in an odd position. While it seems he needs time to develop, the Twins do not (or at least should not) have time for that next year. But at the same time, there is no easy answer to who else there is to play second base. This is one of many things the organization will have to take a long, hard look at in the offseason.
As I finished this entry, the Yankees fell 7-6 in the tenth inning to the Devil Rays, meaning the Tigers have not yet been eliminated from playoff contention. The Twins now get another crack at doing just that tomorrow!