The bullpen really kept the Twins in the game tonight, especially Mr. Swarzak here.
Let's start with the good news tonight: Josh Willingham's wife had an adorable baby, Chris Parmelee doesn't look too hurt after being hit in the helmet by a Justin Thomas pitch (he was standing up and smiling in the dugout), and the Twins offense actually scored some runs. The bad news? Well, as usual, the starting pitching was subpar, with Liam Hendriks only going 4 innings. He gave up 9 hits (rough...), 7 earned runs (including 1 home run), walked 2, and struck out 3. Not, by any means, a great start. The Twins bullpen, however, definitely managed to keep the team in the game, going a combined 5 innings, giving up only one hit, and striking out 5 (3 of those were Glen Perkins strikeouts, which we'll talk more about later).
Full recap and tales of the offense and awesome bullpen work after the jump.
The Twins offense tonight actually produced, though it took a few innings for them to score some runs. Minnesota was held to just one run until the 6th inning, where they broke out and scored 5 more runs, making the game a much closer contest. Sean Burroughs was the first out of the inning, and then the next 8 batters reached base (it was also this inning where Danny Valencia was subbed in for an injured Chris Parmelee). Sean Burroughs came up again in the 6th with the bases loaded, and hit into a double play. Yeah, Burroughs made all three outs in the 6th. Cool. Oh, and for the record, the Twins again had bases loaded more than once in tonight's game and failed to capitalize on those opportunities.
Ben Revere, filling in for Josh Willingham, went 2-for-5 tonight, hustling himself to a double in the first, and getting another solid hit in the 6th. He also scored 2 of the Twins 6 runs. Not a bad night for the speedy guy. Joe Mauer, who is quietly having a pretty good stretch right now, also went 2-for-5, with 2 RBIs. Justin Morneau was another 2-for-5, and with a long hit to center field, had one RBI this evening. Denard Span, who ended the game striking out with bases loaded, was 2-for-6 with an RBI. Jamey Carroll, who plays like a guy much younger than he actually is, was 0-for-3, but took two walks. And the biggest offensive star of the evening? None other than our own beloved/hated (depending on who you talk to) Alexi Casilla. Casilla went 3-for-4 with an RBI. He had himself quite a night, which was very nice to see. Sean Burroughs and Trevor Plouffe were a little disappointing tonight, with 0 hits and 1 hit, respectively. And, as we remember, Burroughs had all three outs in the 6th inning. That's kind of impressive, no?
The bullpen definitely stepped up tonight, after Hendriks was beat up in his four innings. Anthony Swarzak came in as the long reliever, going 3 innings and only giving up one hit. Yeah, I know. He only struck out one, but he kept the Red Sox off the board--and bases--and that's the important thing. Glen Perkins came in for the 8th inning to make the Red Sox hitters look silly (especially that David Ortiz strikeout...just filthy. 97 mph fastball for strike three), striking out the side in the 8th. Seeing him pitch like that again was certainly a welcome sight. Jared Burton came in to pitch the ninth. He didn't allow any hits and he struck out one. Overall, really, an excellent night for the bullpen. If the Twins could get their starting pitching in order...well, the bullpen success would be a lot more enjoyable, wouldn't it?
-Alexi Casilla. Great night at the plate.
-The bullpen. Damn, do that again sometime.
-Chris Parmelee being okay. Please?
-The offense in general. Minus the whole leaving-the-bases-loaded thing. That really needs to change.
-Sean Burroughs. Ouch. Rough night.
-Trevor Plouffe. Ditto.
-Leaving the bases loaded. This is uncool.
-Liam Hendriks. Ouch. Again.
I was contemplating listing Justin Thomas as a dud for beaning Parmelee, but seriously, the look on his face as he sat in the dugout...I think he's probably going to be harder on himself for that than any of us could ever be.
Up Next: Kansas City Royals. Maybe we'll see a win! Go Twins!