I mean, all in all, this series was not bad. On the road, the Twins took 2 of 4 from a playoff contender. But this last game was horrid, and the same problem reared its head throughout the series. Francisco Liriano went 2 innings, Carl Pavano pitched 4 innings, and Scott Baker and Anthony Swarzak each lasted 5 1/3 frames. The bullpen also imploded in the final game after pitching very well in the first three games of the series.
Swarzak closed out the series by giving up 6 runs on 4 homers in his start, putting the totals for Twins starters' in the four game set as follows: 16.2 IP, 31 hits, 22 runs (all earned), and 9 walks. Bobby Keppel then performed just as I said he might, giving up hard-hit doubles to all three batters he faced, and Jeff Manship struggled in his third appearance since his call-up from AAA. Phil Humber pitched a scoreless eighth and was the only Twins pitcher to not allow a run.
The bats were uneventful despite accumulating 10 hits, as they managed just one run on Delmon Young's eighth home run of the year. That was the sole extra base hit, though, and Joe Crede ended the Twins' only real chance to get back into the game when he squandered a bases-loaded opportunity by grounding into a double play in the sixth. Denard Span added three hits on the night to raise his average to .304, its highest point since June 4th.
In Joe Mauer news, Joe Mauer went 1-4 and dropped his average to .378 and his OPS to 1.089. I really can tolerate watching an 11-1 loss at this point in the season, but when Mauer only gets one hit and it's a single, the game becomes much tougher to tolerate. The only thing keeping me interested in the season is Mauer's attempt to have one of the best seasons ever by a catcher, so when the Twins are both down big and he's not adding to that profile, I have the urge to turn off the game (but I didn't do that tonight).
I do want to reiterate something I said in the comments section the other day about Mauer: while it's okay to get swept up in all the excitement because of his most recent hot streak (and ridiculous season overall), remember that there are still 41 games remaining. That number would represent 30% of his season if he plays in all of them, meaning there's a lot of time left for things to happen. Consider, for example, Carlos Quentin's MVP candidacy at this time last season, and where he ended up at the end of 2008.
My point is simply to temper your expectations, so you're not disappointed if he winds up hitting around (dear God!) .350--he'd still have to hit about .300 for the rest of the year to be there. And while that seems to be a given right now, it most certainly is not.
Gleeman and The Geek #318: Cleveland, Rocked
2 days ago