To be fair, the Twins were in a tough predicament before today's first pitch was even thrown. Justin Morneau had the day off; Ryan Doumit caught all 13 innings in last night's fiasco; Josh Willingham is on the disabled list; Oswaldo Arcia is in one hell of a funk. Basically the lineup consisted of Joe Mauer and eight guys who you hoped could put together three or four good games between them.
It didn't happen. And it certainly can't be placed at the feet of the pitching staff.
Wednesday night's loss has made some question Gardenhire's decision to not use his All-Star closer in a 13-inning game at some point, but the fact is that the bigger issue lies with the offense. The Twins were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position in Wednesday night's extra inning loss, including 0-for-5 after the fifth inning. And we already know how tough last night's game was for Arcia.
Today's game wasn't any better. Arcia is in the midst of an 0-for-16 stretch where he's struck out eight times; seven of Arcia's last eight at-bats have ended in a strikeout. In the midst of his first prolonged Major League slump, his struggles certainly haven't helped the Twins pull out of this nose dive.
Clete Thomas walked in the eighth inning of today's contest. It was the first non-Joe Mauer non-intentional walk of the series. Ryan Doumit walked later to give the team a total of two non-Joe Mauer non-intentional walks in four games.
Four Game Totals
Those seven walks include one from Thomas, one from Doumit, one intentional walk for Justin Morneau, and four walks by Mauer. Eight of the strikeouts belong to Arcia. Seven belong to Trevor Plouffe, who played three games compared to Arcia's four. Chris Parmelee struck out six times.
As a team, the Twins were 5-for-32 with runners in scoring position. By contrast, the bullpen allowed four runs in 13.1 innings of work. So sure, not using Perkins last night was a mistake. But it's hard to put the blame for these four losses anywhere but squarely on the offense, who scored 11 runs over four games.
The Twins move along to the Bronx tomorrow to take on the Yankees for a trio of games before the All-Star break hits. By this point, any doubt as to whether the Twins should or should not be sellers should be settled. Let's hope that over the next seven days the front office uses their extra time to outline their seller's plan so that the trade deadline mistakes of seasons past can be avoided.
Just looking at today's contest, Mike Pelfrey continued his streak of improved performance by allowing three home runs in six innings of work. Two solo home runs accounted for two of the eight hits he gave up. He struck out five and didn't walk anybody.
Joe Mauer brought the Twins to within one with a clutch two-out, two-run single in the top of the eighth. Unfortunately, Trevor Plouffe struck out to end the threat. And that was all she wrote.
We'll be back later today with more Twins thoughts!