Joe Mauer has very quietly put together another great season. .323 batting average and a .419 OBP.
There was a time in tonight's game that reminded me of the 2010 season. Alex Rios had doubled to open the inning, and Dayan Viciedo had walked. In between those two events, Fransisco Liriano had thrown a wild pitch to advance Rios to third. Alexi Ramirez came up to the plate, and a deep, deep sense of dread and despair occupied me for a moment.
The moment I was reminded me of from the 2010 season was September 14th, 2010. The Twins were in Chicago, and two men were on, and one was out. Jesse Crain came in from the bullpen, and struck out Paul Konerko and Manny Ramirez. They both went down swinging. Apart from the 1991 World Series and Carlos Gomez doing a belly slide to win the AL Central, Twins baseball has never filled me with such pure, unbridled joy as that moment. And for a moment, I thought I got to feel it again. I didn't. But I thought I was going to see something incredible. Which for these Twins is almost a story.
Tonight, Francisco Liriano was the Franchise. He was down right dominant. Of the 21 outs he got, 10 of them came on the groundball, and five of them were via the strikeout. Liriano did everything we've all said he has to do. Mainly, get out of his head. And he did that tonight. The only run he allowed came from a sacrifice fly in the 7th inning. It was the deepest Liriano had gone in a game since August of last year.
That's not to say that the offense was not great in it's own right. Because it was. They pounded out 14 hits, and Trevor Plouffe and Drew Butera were the only hitters to not reach base at least twice tonight. But, those 14 hits did only result in 4 runs.
Minnesota scored in the first inning courtesy of a Joe Mauer sac fly that scored Denard Span. In the second inning thanks to a throwing error from Alex Rios, and a single from Jamey Carroll, and once again in the 7th from Trevor Plouffe's sac fly.
Studs: Everyone. Absolutely everyone who played tonight.
Duds: Not tonight.
Notes: Joe Mauer has the highest OBP in the American League at .419, and has a higher WAR than Miguel Cabrera. And Ben Revere stole his 15th base in his 39th game this year. If given the chance, he could probably take 100.