Yesterday was the first day of the MLB first-year player draft, and the Twins selected college pitchers with each of their four picks: righthander Kyle Gibson, lefty Matt Bashore, and righties Billy Bullock and Ben Tootle. Gibson, Bashore, and Tootle were starters in college, while Bullock was the closer for the University of Florida. Tootle, though, may end up a reliever at some point along with him, though Gibson and Bashore definitely project as starters.
I won't go any further into it because I honestly don't know much about them, so I'll direct you to Aaron Gleeman and Nick's Twins Blog for some good analysis of the picks.
In the meantime, the Twins were playing the Oakland Athletics, and were walloping them 10-0 through 8 1/2 innings. Then the bottom of the ninth rolled around, and Ron Gardenhire reasonably left Scott Baker in to go for the shutout. Baker was cruising, having thrown fewer than 100 pitches at the start of the inning, and the Twins had a seemingly comfortable 10-0 lead. It was disappointing that Baker wound up giving up 3 runs as his overall line did not end up looking so spectactular; through 8 innings, he had struck out 8 and surrendered just 2 hits. I know I'm too focused on stats, but his ERA would look a lot prettier if he'd pitched better in the last inning, or if the relievers had done any relieving at all.
With the bases loaded and no one out, Jesse Crain and then Jose Mijares came in to attempt to finish the game. Combined, they issued 3 walks and gave up one hit while only getting one out. Alexi Casilla didn't help them out by making an error, but they both really struggled last night and have been struggling recently. Mijares still has a nice ERA, but if he keeps pitching this way, that will eventually catch up to him too. Since May 15, Mijares has walked eight batters and given up nine hits in nine innings (11 games), while accumulating only 4 strikeouts--yet he's been charged with two earned runs in that span.
Of course, when the potential tying run stepped into the on-deck circle, the Twins called Joe Nathan into the game, and he promptly struck out two batters on 7 pitches, all of which were strikes. It's nice to have that insurance sitting in the bullpen.