Even in the better seasons, when you play a club that is realistically your better winning two out of three at home is considered a good thing in the bigger picture. And that's what I'm going to focus on here. The bigger picture. The Twins took two our of three from the Indians this weekend, and Cleveland is again six games over .500 and still pretending to be in the hunt for the division.
Maybe if you're an Indians fan that sounds rude or dismissive, to say that the Indians are "pretending". But at least you can pretend.
Brian Dozier doubled in the seventh, ruining Justin Masterson's bid for a no-hitter with the ball diving and just scooting by center fielder Drew Stubbs. Dozier would double again in the ninth, giving him seventeen on the season, but those were all the hits that Minnesota managed all afternoon. Just the one off Masterson, and then the second double off of Chris Perez in the bottom of the ninth.
Joe Mauer picked up the home team's only RBI by scoring Dozier on a fielding error by Jason Kipnis. I assume that Mauer gets credit for the RBI since Dozier would have scored on a fielder's choice had Kipnis not botched the play.
Aaron Hicks made another highlight reel catch in the top of the fourth inning, moving into the left-center field gap and diving to take extra bases away from Stubbs. Caleb Thielbar, who we were told was unavailable due to "groin soreness", worked with Anthony Swarzak and Josh Roenicke for 3.1 scoreless innings. The magnificent work of the Twins bullpen came to an end in the top of the ninth, however, when Ryan Pressly gave up a meaningless run.
Today's biggest issue for Minnesota, apart from Masterson, was Scott Diamond. In just 4.2 innings, he allowed six runs (five earned) off of seven hits and a trio of walks. Diamond didn't record a single strikeout. It's always hard to write anybody off, but there was an opportunity for him to really solidify himself as a future part of the Twins' rotation and he really hasn't done that this season. At all.
Bullet Point Highlights
- Since the calendar flipped to July, Clete Thomas' magic has dissipated at what should be an expected rate. He's 6-for-41 (.146) this month with no extra-base hits, five walks, and 13 strikeouts. If Oswaldo Arcia doesn't earn a recall soon, somebody else will take Thomas' plate appearances for him. Because he's now on borrowed time.
- Brian Dozier isn't a Gold Glove second baseman, but apart from a mix-up with Pedro Florimon early in today's contest he turned in another fine performance. His offense seems to have settled in over the last couple of weeks, at least in terms of consistency. It does mean that he should be batting eighth instead of second, but hey. It's all relative.
- Doug Bernier got into the game today, taking over for Trevor Plouffe at third base in the top of the eighth and drawing a walk to lead off the bottom half of the inning.
- Today was Chris Herrmann's fourth start of the season, and his first where he didn't record a hit.
- Speaking of the new guys, Chris Colabello had the afternoon off after picking up a hit and RBI in Saturday's contest. Could he be the guy getting Clete's playing time?
- Minnesota's best starters right now are Samuel Deduno, Mike Pelfrey, and Kevin Correia. So. That's a thing.
- I can't say enough about how well the bullpen has done this season, particularly when it's in stark contrast to how awful the starting pitching has been as a whole. Thielbar has a sub-1.00 ERA. Perkins has a sub-2.00 ERA. Fien has a sub-3.00 ERA. Pressly, Swarzak, Burton, and Roenicke have sub-4.00 ERAs. ERA isn't everything, but it's certainly an indicator of how effective this year's bullpen has been in terms of run prevention.