Chicago takes care of business.
There are loads of excuses that come to mind after watching this afternoon's game. The offense couldn't get anything going; the defense crapped its pants; the bullpen couldn't keep it close. Sadly, the easy answer to all of these problems has nothing to do with the Twins, and everything to do with the White Sox.
This series encompassed three blowouts, and two of them were won by Chicago. Sunday's game was just as frustrating to watch as Saturday's game, because a lot of the same pieces were played. In the end, the one common theme was that Minnesota was outplayed by the White Sox...and while I have no problems admitting that, it doesn't mean I like saying it.
Them's sour apples.
I still believe that over the course of the season, the Twins will prove themselves to be the better and more complete ballclub. And I know that this was just one series, and that games in early April are rarely as representative of the true nature of a team as games played later in the season, but still...as a Twins fan, these last two days weren't much fun.
Nick Blackburn pitched a pretty decent game this afternoon. He limited damage in the fifth, and even after allowing a two-run shot at the hands of Jim Thome in the sixth (and did you hear it, because that's what dead red contact sounds like) the Twins were only down 3-1. Blackburn pitched to one batter in the seventh before being lifted, and considering what kind of performances we've been getting from our starters, this was a good night.
Minnesota's only run came off of a Delmon Young homer in the top of the second inning, a shot that just cleared the left-center field fence.
The biggest question for Ron Gardenhire to answer about Sunday was his defensive selections. In an apparent effort to A) fit all of his hitters with "success" against Mark Buehrle (who dominated the Twins today) into the lineup and B) to give Justin Morneau a quasi day off, Jason Kubel was benched and Michael Cuddyer was moved to first base. On most occasions, because they don't happen very often, this kind of a move wouldn't play into the game's outcome. Unfortunatey for the Twins, this decision had an impact on the pivotal fifth inning, when Minnesota led 1-0.
With two out and Paul Konerko on third base, Chris Getz chopped a grounder up the first base line. Cuddyer came on to make the play but booted the ball, and instead of holding it still tried to make a play at first base. An off-balance throw was uncatchable and behind Blackburn, who was running to cover first; Konerko scored, Dewayne Wise advanced to third and Getz to second. It would have been a close play, but a cleanly fielded ball by Cuddyer in this situation probably keeps the game at 1-0.
It was a long end to the weekend. Tomorrow morning I want to have forgotten all about this.