Once again, a good start (by Sonny Gray) gets virtually no run support — and what Twins runs there were basically came from Cubs bloopers. Inning-by-inning notes:
1: Leadoff hitter Christopher Morel strikes out, but I hear he’s a kind of fun guy. Darby Swanson flies out to right, leaving him a hungry man. Ian Happ strikes out, and is not related to J.A.
Drew Smyly, who bears no resemblance to Alec Guinness, has no problem retiring the Twins, who bear no resemblance to a team that’d finish higher than 5th in the AL East. Incidentally, you don’t call Alec Guinness “Sir Alec Guinness” now that he’s dead. The honorific only applies to living people, and dead cuts of cow.
2: Seiya Suzuki is no relation to Ichiro, but presumably Bob Casey couldn’t pronounce his name either. I once heard Casey say “Suzuki” wrong five different ways, and this was in Ichiro’s second season. Patrick Wisdom’s middle name is Ian-Cashel; the “Ian” is for his grandfather, the “Cashel” for the village in Ireland his family first emigrated from. (I learned this playing a video game.) Matt Mervis played for Israel in the WBC. None of these men reach base.
OK, this is how to score with RISP. With Kyle Farmer on third and Willi Castro on second, Michael A. “Tater” Taylor grounds it to third. Farmer is running and dead to rights at home. Or, WOULD BE, if C Yan Gomes didn’t totally miss catching the ball. Castro scores on the Christian Vázquez fly. Twins 2, Cubs 0 without actually hitting well at all
3: Trey Mancini strikes out (Gray’s sixth!). Mancini’s family owns a successful food business, specializing in peppers in Florida. (This is true, and also a thing I learned from a video game.) The next batter would rock a homer, if Yan Gomes didn’t totally miss hitting the ball. Make that 7 Gray Ks!
Carlos Correa good AB sighting! It’s a double! He doesn’t score, though!
4: Gray walks Swanson and Happ doubles him to third. Just look at this lineup’s OPSs: 1.200, .913, .817, .884, .705, .933, .399, .691, .925. (The Twins have only four active players over .700, and none over Gallo at .871.) Anyway, Cody Bellinger grounds it right back to Gray, Suzuki hits a sacrifice fly, and that’s all the damage.
Castro takes a strike three on a pitch clock booboo. “Tater” hits Wisdom with the batted ball; it’s unfairly ruled an error. Smyly throws a glove up to protect himself and blindly catches a screamer from Vázquez, them’s the breaks sometimes. Anyways, Twins still 2-1
5: Gray finally gets K #8, on the Pepper Scion. He keeps Chicago scoreless, but is up to 88 pitches now, meaning Minnesota will soon need to utilize their Pen of Much Bull. Vázquez throws out Morel in a steal attempt, which is what Vázquez is supposed to be good at.
With two on, one out, and Correa up, the Twins send the runners on an 0-2 count. They get great jumps, but it’s a foul ball. The runners aren’t sent on the next pitch, and it’s a GIDP. Everything with the Twins and running is cursed. Except when Tater runs.
6: Gray IS back out there. Hopefully he does well, because Jovani “Control” Moran is warming up. Gray does do well, striking Swanson, and Rocco brings in Moran anyways. He gets Happ (who is bad against lefties) and Bellinger (who is not).
The Twins still can’t hit Smyly, but in their defense, they can’t hit anybody. He’s only at 75 pitches; keep him in, would I, if Yoda-ish, I spoke, and Chicago, I managed.
7: Off we go into the wild blue yonder with Capt. Griffin Jax, USAF. As has been the case this season, he lives less in fame than goes down in flame, with a single and Mervis double tying this baby up. Gomes knocks Mervis in.
Cubs manager David Ross does yank Smyly, bringing in RHP Adbert Alzolay. Baldelli counters with LH pinch-hitters. For his career, Alzolay is much worse against LH hitters — but, so far in 2023, he’s much BETTER against LH hitters. It’s “lately” against “overall,” and “lately” easily wins, the Twins go down on 9 pitches. Cubs 333-2 (Not really, but the way the Twins are hitting, it might as well be)
8: WTF? On a two-out bloop behind first, Donovan Solano basically decides the ball is past him, so why bother, and it’s Castro in RF who actually fields the thing. This allows Suzuki to reach second. Fortunately Jorge Alcala “Can’t Wait” doesn’t let the Cubs increase their lead from “insurmountable” to “automatic forfeit” just yet.
Wait... Buxton walk! AGAIN, a great jump gets nixed by a foul ball. AGAIN, on the next pitch, the runner holds and the Twins batter loses (Joey Gallo strikes out, as Alzolay keeps eating lefties). And Correa AGAIN provides the GIDP.
9: Alcala stays in and coughs up the ballgame on a Swanson meatball. Do you care what else happens? I don’t. Twims lomse
Studs: Gray for striking out six straight Cubs
Duds: Every tree that died to become a Twins bat. The Falvine for assuming this bullpen didn’t need any improvement. A winter of freezing/thawing that made Twin Cities potholes deeper than most moon craters.
COTG goes to Kirillofffan19 for “Farmers Insurance (runs)” ... but, also ANTI-COTG because it cursed the Twins’ offense afterwards. Thanks to 19, Minnesota1952, and SuFuFan for keeping the thread alive. What, were the rest of you out fishing?
Tomorrow’s game features the bad Hayden (Wesneski) against Joe Ryan at 1:10. Or, you could skip the lousy Twins offense and check out all the free sites you can visit in Minneapolis this weekend! Up to you, I’m not your boss!