Who knows if the Twins will ever get a game with decent weather. They certainly didn't get a decent umpire for today, and we didn't get a decent announcer to do play-by-play, but they got a timely throwing error by Alexei Ramirez in the top of the 10th inning to plate the go-ahead run in a 2-1 win over the White Sox this afternoon.
From the very beginning, it was clear that home plate umpire CB Bucknor was going to have a large strike zone. In the bottom of the 1st, White Sox DH Adam Dunn struck out looking on a Vance Worley knuckle-curve that was definitely a couple inches outside. Hitter after hitter was sent back to the dugout shaking his head as 6 of the first 7 strikeouts and 9 of the first 11 were called by Bucknor. Oh, and those 11 strikeouts all occurred in the first 3 1/2 innings.
The generous strike zone definitely benefited starting pitchers Vance Worley and Jake Peavy. The two hurlers would each go 7 innings and combine to strike out 16 batters. Even when the hitters did put the ball in play, they weren't able to do much with those opportunities. Worley did allow a leadoff home run to Alejandro De Aza in the bottom of the 1st, but did not allow the White Sox to threaten again for the rest of his outing. As for Peavy, his only bad inning was the 3rd when Brian Dozier had a one-out single to left, followed by a Joe Mauer walk and then a single to center field by Josh Willingham that just eluded the reach of Alexei Ramirez.
From then on, the offenses could not muster anything. CB Bucknor did settle down on his generous strike zone as the game went on, but that could have also been due to the hitters finally adjusting that they had to swing at anything close to the plate. Along with both managers emptying their bullpen like this was Game 7 of the World Series, the hitters just couldn't accomplish anything with the bats.
That is, until the top of the 10th inning. Ryan Doumit, who didn't start the game but pinch-hit for Oswaldo Arcia in the 8th, hit a double into the left field corner off White Sox reliever Hector Santiago to start the inning. Aaron Hicks then attempted to bunt Doumit to 2nd base, but failed when he popped up his bunt to 1st baseman Jeff Keppinger, who had to slide over from 2nd base when Tyler Greene ran for starter Paul Konerko in the 9th. This brought up Eduardo Escobar, who entered as a defensive replacement in the 8th, and he dribbled a slow roller to Alexei Ramirez at shortstop. The ball was hit slowly enough that Doumit would have advanced to 3rd anyway, but Escobar's hustle down the line forced Ramirez to rush his throw, and he bounced it to Keppinger at 1st. The ball didn't get far from Keppinger, but an alert Doumit quickly popped up from his slide into 3rd and was able to scamper home with the go-ahead run.
With the lead going to the bottom of the 10th, the Twins turned to Glen Perkins, who did give up a walk to Tyler Flowers but retired the other three men he faced to shut the door on the Sox.
WP: Casey Fien (1-1)
LP: Hector Santiago (0-1)
S: Glen Perkins (4)
Vance Worley (7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 7 K), Twins bullpen (combined 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K), Joe Mauer (2 for 4, 2 BB), Ryan Doumit (1 for 1, 2B, BB, scored game-winning run with heads-up baserunning)
Trevor Plouffe (0 for 4, 2 K), Oswaldo Arcia (0 for 3, 2 K)
Player of the Game
Vance Worley (see stat line above) who didn't let a leadoff home run by Alejandro De Aza faze him as he held the White Sox to just 1 run in 7 innings.
As I mentioned earlier, the play-by-play guy was just awful today. Since the game was on FOX and not FSN, we were "treated" to Howard David, whose name I do not know, but I definitely have heard his voice before. That's because he's one of FOX's many football announcers that doubles as a baseball guy, but with these guys, it's always clear that baseball is not the first sport they covered. David was more of the same, as he kept bumbling up baseball phrases, mispronouncing names, saying redundant things, and failing to display a good baseball IQ throughout the game. Here are all the complaints I voiced during the game, thanks to my Twitter feed.
- When the White Sox defense was shown on the screen in the top of the 1st, he was not aware that Pedro Florimon was wrongfully listed as the starting shortstop and read his name anyway as being the double play partner with Jeff Keppinger.
- On a poor throw to 1st base by Keppinger that pulled Konerko off the bag, David nearly said the throw was "incomplete" before stopping himself and correcting himself by saying the throw was "not in time."
- He was absolutely giddy when Joe Mauer hit a groundball single between Konerko and Keppinger.
- I am unsure if FOX was having technical difficulties or if David was honestly being redundant by reading his sponsor sheets twice in a row. I started to believe the latter was true when FOX showed a clip of Fenway Park singing "Sweet Caroline" late in the game (not the live feed, but a recording they replayed later) and David said "That is Boston singing 'Sweet Caroline.' That is in Boston, and we are in Chicago..."
- When Vance Worley and Joe Mauer teamed up for a strikeout/caught-stealing double play, David said it was a "punch 'em out, knock 'em out" instead of a "strike 'em out, throw 'em out" double play.
- On a Chris Parmelee double, David did the reverse of Dick Bremer by originally calling the hit a "lazy fly ball" and then got excited when he realized that no one was going to catch it. The ball was hit into the right-center power alley, and never had a chance of being caught.
Not to be outdone, Bert, who joined David on the telecast today, had some gems himself.
- Bert, being the former pitcher he was, said "Gotta love CB Bucknor!" in response to him having a generous strike zone. Never mind that Bucknor is consistently rated as one of the worst umpires in MLB (2003, 2006, and 2010 he was voted as absolute worst).
- I missed it, but I saw someone on Twitter point out that Bert described Ryan Doumit as a "switch-hitting switch hitter."