I love baseball. I'll watch any game, any time, and it doesn't really matter who's playing. And some of them are boring. This is one of those games.
The last time Justin Morneau had a day off, the Twins had this lineup:
Luis Castillo, 2B
Jason Bartlett, SS
Joe Mauer, DH
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Torii Hunter, CF
Jason Kubel, LF
Mike Redmond, C
Lew Ford, RF
Nick Punto, 3B
For all the turnover the Twins have had over the last two years, there are a lot of guys still on the roster in that batting order.
Back to today's game: all the action went down in the first two innings. Glen Perkins lasted seven innings, allowing four runs, three of them in the first inning. A good leadoff double, a grounder up the middle and a skin-of-your-teeth double down the third base line gave the 'Stros a 3-0 lead before the Twins even came to bat. From the second through the sixth Perk gave up just three hits and a walk, stringing together five goose eggs and giving his offense a chance.
Houston tacked on another one in the seventh and could have had a couple more if it weren't for an amazing grab by Carlos Gomez. With Jeff Keppinger on first, Carlos Lee launched a Perkins fastball deep to center field. Gomez had it all the way, and making it look rather routine made his leap at the wall. It was one of only two Twins highlights on the afternoon.
The first highlight came in the bottom of the second inning, when Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez left his first pitch of the inning a little too high, and Michael Cuddyer absolutely destroyed it. It looked like a line drive from where I was sitting, and it gave Cuddles his 11th homer of the year. Sadly, it was the only time the Twins could even come close to scorching Rodriguez, who gave up just two hits over his seven innings. Brian Buscher's single in the seventh was the only other hit on the afternoon, and scattering a trio of walks Rodriguez was the menace of the afternoon. He retired eight on strikes, and if he hadn't thrown 114 pitches by the end of the seventh frame there's no doubt he would have come back out and continued to mow down the Twins offense.
After the third inning, Jason Kubel left the game due to "illness". Hopefully it's just a headache or something innocuous, because with Denard Span not back until Thursday the last thing this offense needs is to have one of its top three hitters out of the lineup.
Today's fun fact that we discovered during the game thread: Minnesota's second basemen have combined to hit .197/.256/.261 this season. Yes, that's the worst in all of baseball, by a fairly significant margin, and off from the league-average OPS by more than 300 points.
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Stars of the Game
#3: Carlos Gomez (0-for-3, 2 K, Amazing Catch, Funny Bunt, -.076 WPA)
#2: Brian Buscher (1-for-2, .020 WPA)
#1: Michael Cuddyer (1-for-3, HR, RBI, R, .039 WPA)