Is this really the same team that led the majors last season with a .305 batting average with runners in scoring position (RISP)? This afternoon in Cleveland, the Twins wasted a solid start from Nick Blackburn (6.1 IP, 2 R) by going an astounding 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position. And it could have been worse. If it weren't for a Fausto Carmona wild pitch in the 4th inning, the Twins would have been shut out.
Inning after inning, the opportunities came. It was just that painful.
1st inning: Denard Span on 2nd, one out. Joe Mauer grounds out (0-1), Span does not advance. Justin Morneau walks; Jason Kubel grounds out weakly to first (0-2).
2nd inning: Michael Cuddyer on 3rd, Joe Crede on 2nd. Nobody out. Piece of cake to get at least one run, right? Mike Redmond lineout (0-3). Alexi Casilla strikeout (0-4), big surprise there. Denard Span groundout to the pitcher (0-5). End of inning, three totally unproductive outs.
3rd inning: Orlando Cabrera on 2nd, one out. Morneau groundout (0-6), barely beat out a double play, Cabrera to third. Kubel with another weak groundout (0-7) to the pitcher, end of inning.
At this point, three innings, zero runs. 0 for 7, with a lot of weak outs.
4th inning: Cuddyer double, no one out. Crede strikeout (0-8), Cuddyer steals third. Redmond groundout with the infield in (0-9). Finally, a Carmona wild pitch scores Cuddyer. Twins on top 1-0.
5th inning: Cabrera on second, Mauer on first, one out. Morneau grounds into fielder's choice (0-10). Kubel lineout (0-11).
6th inning: Cuddyer on second, two out. Casilla grounds out (0-12).
8th inning: Carlos Gomez on second, two out. Crede strikes out (0-13).
Yuck. That's the story of the game right there. 11 at bats with runners in scoring position over the first five innings. No hits, not even a productive out to advance the runner or drive in with a sacrifice fly.
Studs and duds after the jump. I'm going to throw up now.
1. Michael Cuddyer: 2 for 3, double, walk, run. Also threw out Grady Sizemore on a first to third in the bottom of the first inning.
2. Nick Blackburn: Bounced back with 6+ solid innings. More baserunners (7 hits, 2 walks) than you want to see, but he got out of a few jams.
3. Orlando Cabrera: Hot start with the Twins continues. 2 for 3 and a nice sacrifice bunt.
1. Jason Kubel: He ended three separate innings with runners in scoring position without even getting the ball out of the infield.
2. Mike Redmond: 0 for 4, two chances with a runner on third and less than two outs. Of course he didn't manage a fly ball.
3. Alexi Casilla: 0 for 3, strikeout. Batting average is now down to .163.