It's really hard to win when you're down 2-0 before you even get a chance to bat. It's even harder when you're down 6-0 before you get a chance to hit twice. And when you're down 9-0 before you get to bat four times, it's almost impossible to win. In fact, when the Twins came up to hit in the bottom of the fourth, they had a mere 1.1% chance of winning the game. And you'd have been forgiven for turning off the television or the radio and going off and doing better things.
But the Twins did make it interesting. A walk, single, throwing error, a couple of doubles and a two-run shot from Chris Colabello put four runs on the board for Minnesota in the fourth. A fielder's choice brought in one more in the seventh. Trevor Plouffe launched a solo homer in the eighth. Oswaldo Arcia singled home a run in the ninth. The guys made it a game.
Yet there was still so much left on the table. Colabello's leadoff double in the third was wasted. Minnesota wasted a pair of base runners in the sixth. Having already scored in the seventh to make it 9-5, Arcia struck out with runners on the corners and two away. Colabello walked with one out in the eighth with Minnesota trailing 9-6, bringing pinch hitter Kendrys Morales to the plate. If he could reach, Brian Dozier and his team-leading 15 home runs would come to the plate, representing the tying run. Morales grounded into a double play. And in the ninth, after Arcia came through with a single to make it 9-7, Kurt Suzuki grounded out with the tying run at first base.
All-in-all the Twins were 4-for-11 with runners in scoring position today. It could have ended much differently, in spite of the fact that Ricky Nolasco couldn't avoid getting knocked around if the opponent's bats were toothpicks.
That first inning couldn't have gone any better for Nolasco, and every single ball in play looked like it was shot out of a cannon. Sam Fuld made a fantastic leaping catch against the wall with two men on for out number one, and then, after a runner later scored, the second out was made when Fuld couldn't make a similar catch in a similar location but the Yankees got greedy and sent a second runner home. Arcia relayed in to Dozier who threw home and Suzuki made a nice swipe tag for out number two to keep it, at the time, 2-0.
With two on and two out in the top of the second and up 3-0, Nolasco's hanging breaking ball was launched deep into right field by Jacoby Ellsbury for a three-run homer. Nolasco was done after just two innings. His ERA has ballooned again, now back up to 5.90. Even if you wanted to give him a pass for his first two starts, to chalk it up to the cold or something I don't know, his ERA since then is still 5.57.
Nolasco isn't THIS bad of a pitcher. He is right now, but it's not his true talent level, and that somehow makes it worse. He's impossible to watch, or at the very least impossible to watch with any sense of confidence in his ability to keep his club in the ballgame. If you're not frustrated as his performance, you've given up.
Anthony Swarzak gave the Twins three innings of relief, but imploded in the fourth inning. Three of the first four batters of the inning reached on a single, and then Ellsbury was too fast for a double play. By that point Swarzak had given up two runs, so he thought "what the hell I'll just balk in a third run" and so he did. I would assume that Gardy's thoughts about the umpires being aware of the balk didn't involve his own players.
Caleb Thielbar and Matt Guerrier each gave the Twins two innings of scoreless baseball, which is what allowed Minnesota to get back into the game. But the two guys who took the hill in front of them gave performances equivalent to 17-year olds playing professional baseball players, and it was too much to overcome without perfection from the offense.
That series sucked the big one. Let's move on and get ready for the Mariners.
- Derek Jeter's final game in Minnesota saw him come away with three hits, giving him 3,400 in his career. He's also now fourth on the all-time singles list.
- Twins fans did give Jeter a nice ovation for his final plate appearance in the ninth inning.
- Colabello and Plouffe each recorded a double and a home run today.
- Nunez and Arcia also came through with multi-hit days.
- Arcia, Plouffe, and Colabello all reached base three times.
- Guerrier's ERA is down to 2.63. Can't predict ball.
Win Expectancy Graph