Tonight’s game began well for the Twins, yet some missed opportunities (have you heard that story before) led to a truly irritating walkoff loss. Starter Sonny Gray left a little early but will hopefully be OK. Inning-by-inning notes:
1: Not scheduled to start this game, but being used as the “opener,” is reliever Joe Kelly. Since converting to the bullpen full-time in 2017, he’s started two games, and this is #2.
He gives up a leadoff Luis Arraez single down the third-base line, which LF Leury Garcia “makes a meal of” (Kris Atteberry phrase for “error.”) Walks Carlos Correa, gets a fielder’s choice, walks Jose Miranda. Then Nick Gordon is up. Then Nick Gordon RULES. Double and two RBI.
Unfortunately, with runners on second and third and one out, both Gio Urshela and Jake Cave elect to go down looking. That really shouldn’t happen, ever, and especially not against a last-minute “opener” who’s scuffled in the inning.
It might haunt, we’ll see.
Sonny Gray gives up a two-out single to still-good Jose Abreu, and that’s it for Chicago. Twins 2-0
2: Here’s the scheduled starter, young Davis Martin. Arraez gets a two-out double off him and Correa another walk, but then Garcia makes a nice catch on a deep Max Kepler fly to end things. Lookit! Kepler almost got a big hit! That’s improvement from where he’s been lately!
AJ Pollock goes greedy trying to stretch a single, and Jake Cave/Gordon nail him at second, hahahaha
3: Martin plunks Miranda and Gordon GIDPs. Is that sentence short enough for you? Gray gets Chicago on nine pitches. That is also a short sentence. Making this a short paragraph.
4: Cave gets the hit he SHOULD HAVE got three innings ago, this time it doesn’t matter.
After Andrew Vaughn leads off with a double and reaches third with two outs, Atteberry brings up an odd stat: the Twins are 14th in the AL with RISP and two outs, while the White Sox are 3rd.
Well, Yasmani Grandal pops one to short that nobody can catch because of a shift. Gray walks Pollock, Leury Garcia hits a quickly-fielded single that loads the bases, and Gray plunks Josh Harrison to tie the game. All with two outs. How clutch, I guess. Those called strike 3s in the first are Haunting right now, 2-2
5: It seems like every so often the Twins face a mediocre rookie pitcher and can do absolutely nothing against him. It’s certainly been the case tonight with Martin.
Wannabe 525 last inning noted that “Well Gray’s little hammy snafu at the end of the third might be contributing to this little scare,” and it seems to be the case; Gray is gone after 59 pitches. Michael Fulmer is in. Vaughn and Abreu have a two-out threat going before Fulmer strikes out Grandal to stop it, whew.
6: Give Martin the Cy Young, I guess. The Twins certainly aren’t giving him anything to worry about.
Climbing high into the sun with Griffin Jax, USAF. A few balls are hit with love but fall down in gloves.
7: Onetime starter Reynaldo Lopez hasn’t given up a homer in 49.1 innings of relief this season. Make it 50.1. There was something in the air this night, Twins bats have fright, Reynaldo.
It’s Jhoan Duran in to face the top of Chicago’s batting order. Chicago says “if you get us out, you take away the biggest part of we” and Duran says “I don’t want your love.”
8: It’s a Kepler hit! A single off Jimmy “Not The Greek” Lambert which Harrison throws into the dugout, getting Herr Von Kepler to second. Miranda lines a single, Kepler stops at third, recent speedster acquisition Billy Hamilton runs for Jose. Gordon hits a sharp grounder which might have been thrown home if 2B Romy Gonzalez didn’t bobble the ball; he recovers to throw out Gordon instead. Hamilton gets a lousy jump trying to steal third and is tagged on the slide, the Twins are done soon after.
Caleb Theilbar, who usually throws good curveballs, lets one dangle deliciously and it's whomped by backup catcher Yasmani Grandal and his mighty .569 OPS. This baby’s all tied up 3-3
9: Time for former friend (if far too briefly) Liam Hendricks. Twins astrologer Gilberto Celestino manages a one-out single, but that’s it.
Incidentally. the crowd is doing “the wave.” Liam Hendricks is Australian. At most Australian sports buildings, anyone who tries to start “the wave” will be ejected from the building and permanently banned. This is absolutely correct.
The other trade deadline relief pickup, Jorge Lopez, tries to makes this ManfredBall.
... and then, as Wannabe put it, “things just turned to shiesse at the end.”
(Yeah, these notes are kinda live, but sometimes at the end of close games, I kick back and follow the game instead of making notes. Also, this one sucked at the end, so I sat back and cracked a beverage before finishing this.)
Alright, here’s how it went...
Lopez got one out, then allowed a single by non-good-hitter Gonzalez and another by Elvis Andrus.
Lopez hit Vaughn. Loading the bases with one out, which HE DIDN’T WANT TO DO. Vaughn got all “YO BRO” and the White Sox jumped out of the dugout. Which meant the Twins jumped out of the dugout.
All the while, Abreu is trying to cool some dumb egos. He’s only a great, professional hitter, who wants the chance to walk-off the game, what the f*** is up with this stupid.
Once things chill out, Lopez hits Abreu on the elbow. Abreu rips off his jersey in triumph, the fireworks start.
Except the Twins challenge the play. Gladden says he thinks the ball hit the knob end of Abreu’s bat. He’s right. The call’s overturned, it’s a foul, 0-1. Gladden is loudly righteous.
Then Abreu lines one up the middle. Lopez tries to glove it, and only succeeds in deflecting it a little. Trying to hurry, Gordon fields it and makes a bad flip to Correa, who can’t recover his balance in time to even try a return throw to first.
Twims lose. And after Cleveland lost, so there was a chance to move back into a tie for first, here.
Studs: I guess Gordon’s first-inning RBIs double counts, although his at-bats weren’t very good after that. Nobody on the Twins really shined tonight, and none were terrible (although Lopez kinda got close to terrible there at the end).
Duds: the entire White Sox macho mindset during that idiotic “leave the dugout RARRRR!” moment at the end. Yeah, guys, you were expected to easily win this division. And you haven’t, because your manager is completely out of touch (and also fighting serious health worries right now, so we have to take a pause at picking on him), and you’ve approached the whole season like you were entitled to win, and played some really sloppy ball.
So, show some Biggg Mannnly Energy about a pitcher who didn’t mean to hit one of your guys, and would almost certainly lose the game because of it (which he did) — holy crap, how ridiculously dumb. This is the kind of bulls**t that makes non-jocks on the fence about sports decide that they’re all stupid.
I’ll be disappointed if Minnesota loses to Cleveland in this division race. But I’ll think Cleveland earned it by being more consistent over 162 games. I’ll just be disgusted if these White Sox somehow come back to win the division. I liked the Ozzie Guillen Sox. I don’t like these ones.
COTGs go to Wannabe for those mentioned above, also artistformerlyknownasGoose for “Great. We lost twice” and this quotation of where the phrase “pulling out all the stops” comes from (it involves pulling an organ, and get your mind out of the gutter).
Tommorow’s game will be at 6:15, and has Chicago’s ace Dylan Cease against trade acquisition Tyler Mahle coming off the IL (probably). See you in the gamethread, maybe!