It would be difficult to be too harsh on Trevor May for Monday afternoon's performance. Sure, it wasn't all roses, but aside from that Kendrys Morales homer in the second and a trio of singles in the third he wasn't that bad. He faced the minimum in the first, fourth, and fifth frames, and that changeup looked pretty good. May picked up a pair of strikeouts on the change.
The top of the sixth is where things got away from him a bit. Lorenzo Cain doubled with a man on, and a misplay from Torii Hunter not only allowed Cain to glide into third base but also allowed the runner to score from first. Hunter seemingly had trouble with the ball in the sun, but when he picked up the ball he just wheeled and threw without a glance at where his help would be. The cutoff man was nowhere in sight.
Had Hunter been able to see the ball, maybe he could have caught it. If he hadn't caught it, a better relay may have held runners at second and third. Perhaps, in that situation, May intentionally walks Eric Hosmer and then gets lifted. Instead, now down 3-1 with a man on third and nobody out, May gives up a double to Hosmer and eventually walks Alex Gordon before getting lifted for Tim Stauffer. Stauffer, of course, couldn't stop the bleeding and would allow one of May's runners to score.
Minnesota was down 5-1 when they came to bat in the bottom half of the sixth. Brian Dozier and Joe Mauer combined to put runners on the corners with one away. Hunter's sac fly bought the team a run, but Kennys Vargas - who had given the Twins a 1-0 lead in the first with a ringing liner to center field - killed the rally with a double play. Trevor Plouffe's solo home in the seventh made it 5-3, but then...then, my friends, my poor friends, it really got nasty.
Brian Duensing hit a guy to load the bases. J.R. Graham hit a guy to force in a run. Danny Santana's glove allowed a run. Graham walked a guy to force in another run. None of that allows for the hits that were given up. Omar Infante's gapper off of Glen Perkins in the ninth was just salt in the wound.
It's probably also worth mentioning that Minnesota's slow outfielders cost the team at least a couple of runs yesterday, in circumstances that also gave the Royals additional opportunities to score; Hunter's play was one, but Oswaldo Arcia couldn't get to a ball near the wall, either. With no Byron Buxton, Eddie Rosario, or Aaron Hicks on the roster, Hunter's role as outfield mentor has been more or less non-existent since the regular season started. Instead, the team is just left hoping that balls are hit in the relative vicinity of their fielders.
Minnesota's starters have given the team 36.2 innings and a 6.87 ERA. The bullpen? 21.1 innings and a 5.81 ERA. Paul Molitor's challenges as a rookie manager are coming early and often.
- Aaron Thompson was the only Twins pitcher to not allow a run.
- Plouffe's home run was just Minnesota's second this year; both have been solo shots.
- Alex Gordon robbed Mauer of a second hit - and probably extra bases - with a nice diving catch in the third.
- After sitting versus lefty Chris Sale on Sunday, Arcia got the start versus a less-imposing southpaw on Monday...but finished the day 0-for-3 anyway.
- Brian Dozier and Kennys Vargas made nice contact yesterday. Mauer made good contact too but not for a base hit; Plouffe's homer was obviously well struck. But offense was, optimistically, "at a premium" for the Twins versus Duffy.