Would Eddie Rosario reached first in time to avoid the double play if he'd ran it out in the bottom of the first? If he had, would Joe Mauer still have cracked that double? If so, would Rosario have scored from first and would that have changed the tone for the rest of the game?
Imagining the best-case scenarios for those questions is the best thing we'll get from today's contest. Rosario thought he had a hit and so didn't book it down the line, leaving the bases empty with two outs when Mauer doubled to left. It was Minnesota's best scoring opportunity of the game. Byron Buxton stole his first base of his career and later picked up his first hit at Target Field, so those are positives. The attempt to throw Buxton out went nowhere near second base and so he ended up on third, but by that point Arrita was so locked in it would have been a surprise to see him score.
Unlike Arrieta, who more or less put the ball wherever the hell he wanted and used his cutter to great effect, Kyle Gibson did not have his best stuff today. He struggled to put hitters away at times, but he still found a way to keep the Twins in the game. Gibson struck out six in five innings but he also walked three and gave up six hits. He did leave the bases loaded in the second and stranded runners on the corners in the third, but a Starlin Castro sac fly and Anthony Rizzo's solo homer meant the Cubs scratched across two runs and that would be enough to charge Gibson with the loss.
Still, credit Gibson for limiting the damage and keeping the Twins in striking distance. That didn't last long after he was out of the game. Ryan Pressly did a nice job of blanking Chicago in the sixth and seventh, but the Cubbies capped off a six-run eighth with a Dexter Fowler grand slam off of Michael Tonkin. Aaron Thompson had started the frame by allowing the first four Cubs players to reach, and two batters later Fowler's slam was in the right field seats. Just two of the runs belonged to Tonkin.
Brian Duensing pitched a scoreless ninth, which was nice to see. By that point Chicago may have been coasting to a win anyway, but it was a perfect frame that included a pair of strikeouts. That's the kind of performance Duensing needed.
With that, a series that started off so well on Friday collapsed in on itself as the offense continues its free fall. Today that may have had more to do with Arrieta than the Twins, but the result is the same. Minnesota's offense is anemic, and something needs to change incredibly soon if they have any designs on this team staying in contention.