July 12, 2008.
Three Stars: Brendan Harris, Joe Mauer, Scott Baker. Harris had a big day, going 3-for-3 with four RBI and a home run that put the Twins up 3-2. Joe Mauer's 2-run shot in the same inning, his fifth of the year (like Harris), put the Twins on top 5-2. Scott Baker, while his final line of 7+ innings and four runs doesn't look the greatest, was great through seven. He was sent out for the eighth and didn't record an out (but did allow a 2-run Curtis Granderson mega-blast), prior to Jesse Crain and Dennys Reyes allowing another runner to score.
Rough Patch: The bullpen, again. Crain's now appeared in three straight games; Reyes four times in the last five games. Brian Bass was used reluctantly, but closed out the eighth inning just fine. Thankfully, there was Joe Nathan at the end to shut it down, even though he allowed a pair of baserunners. With Matt Guerrier having thrown in six of the eight games after their last off-day, he was unavailable tonight. The Twins need to find another relief pitcher they can count on. Having said that, the Tigers are due plenty of credit on their own merits. Matt Joyce had a homer early on against Baker, and even through it was a wild pitch by Reyes that allowed a run to score, the Detroit lineup boasts a number of good hitters. It's hard to count them out.
Turn-About-Is-Fair-Play Award: Joe Mauer. He reclaims his team lead in batting average at .324, as Justin Morneau falls all the way to .323.
Good-Game-But-We-Wanted-More Award: Delmon Young. Claiming a pair of hits and scoring a run, the Twins had bases loaded in the top of the ninth inning while leading six to five. While it wasn't dire, after the Tigers had scored a trio of runs in the bottom of the eighth, an insurance run would have practically secured a victory with Nathan taking the moung. Nathan converted the save for the win, but it did get hairy for a minute.
Hope for Tomorrow: I hope Carlos Gomez gets the day off. He did get a hit tonight, and didn't strike out, but you can tell he's pressing and that isn't helping him or the team. I'm sure the Twins are already evaluating how they'll be utilizing him after the All-Star break.