The Orioles’ record is better than the Twins, and this game shows you why; they do the little things correctly -- especially in tonight's ManfredBall™. They had help from the Twins’ utter ineptitude against LHP Cole Irvin (or any lefthander, this season), and a spectacular CF catch. Late finishing touches came courtesy of two old bullpen acquaintances and an older switch-hitting friend.
1: Minnesota1952 asks “Shouldn’t a guy named Gunnar be playing striker for the Swedish National Team”? Go, internet research go! Gunnar Henderson is from Selma, AL. Not too far from Selma is the town of Thorsby, which was established (per Wiki) by Scandinavians “who had originally settled in the midwestern United States, but who were seeking a milder climate and fertile soil for growing food.”
Oh... you mean, WIMPS.
Anyways, Henderson almost gets a hit, but Michael A. Taylor steals it. Christian Rafael Vázquez, who was born in a warm place and now lives in a cold one, provides the nifty finish to a strike-em-out-throw-em-out DP.
2: Neither pitcher has any problems. Not this inning, I mean. For all I know, they have lots of problems. Maybe Cole Irvin’s new pet tiger just won’t stop pooping on the kitchen table. If so, he’s hiding his inner pain well so far.
3: After getting the first two guys easily, Ober stumbles against the Heir Of WIMPS Henderson, then walks the next guy, too. He tricks Anthony Santander into harmlessly flying out a first-pitch changeup, which is good — still, you hate to see that pitch count go up.
Cole Irvin is pitching a perfect game. I blame this on the gamethread being empty. I blame the empty gamethread on nice weather, the Falvine, and SB Nation’s owners. So there.
4; Once AGAIN, Ober retires the first two and decides “that’s too easy” — so he very intentionally gives up a duck fart and single. Then, just as intentionally, makes Ramon Urias ground out on one pitch. I’d say Ober’s buddies have some prop bets going on. Where’s Kenesaw Mountain Landis when we need him?
Wait... the people are yelling... did the Twins do something good? They did! Carlos Correa got a hit! A lousy hit, but they count, too! Then Donovan Solano hits a lousy dribbler which gets through!
Naturally, this is a perfect TONOFFF... a Two On Nobody Out Feeble Fu%$in’ Failure. Byron Buxton actually crushes one to center, which Cedric Mullins reaches over the wall to grab. The meanie! The thief! (Byron’s reaction is pretty great, check it out.) Correa does tag up and advance to third. Kyle Farmer strikes out. He deserves to have that guy from the Farmer’s Insurance commercials chew him out like a mean jazz band teacher.
5: A time vortex crossed the Earth’s orbit, forcing all existence ahead several minutes without any of us retaining conscious knowledge. Also the timer on my beer boil went off.
6: If you believe in momentum, this game is now over. Baltimore follows escaping that jam with a Santander double and Ryan O’Hearn RBI. Jordan Westburg hits into a perfect 6-4-3, except that the “4” in this equation is Farmer, who bobbles it and can’t get off the throw to first in time. Nobody else scores. The MOMENTUM is ruined forever, though! Orioles 1-0
7: Off we go into the wild blue yonder with Capt. Griffin Jax, USAF, a.k.a. half of the Twins’ available, reliable bullpen. The Captain continues to live in fame with what’s now a 17.2-inning scoreless streak.
Redemption momentum? Farmer knocks Irvin out of the game with a one-out double. Willi Castro knocks him in. After he steals second, Alex Kirilloff flies out, and Vázquez walks, the momentum shifts again when Twins castoff Danny Coulombe ends the threat. Much ado about not much, 1-1
8: Jovani Moran, the #3 bullpen option, promptly issues a leadoff walk before getting away with it via the K and a TOOTBLAN. Adley Rutschman lines out to third, and who would get caught napping on first but Mister Wimp Lineage Henderson.
Fellow Twins castoff reliever Yennier Cano does what he does, which is escape a leadoff error and be better than almost everyone in the Twins’ bullpen (Coulombe this year is doing that, too).
9: Well, this makes the entirety of the Twins’ decent relievers getting used tonight, as we see Jhoan “Faster Than Light” Duran. After two quick strikeouts, we get Wacky Call Baseball. Colton Cowser dribbles one into the grass, Duran fields it, and throws from his butt into Cowser’s back. Somehow, this is called “runner interference”???
10 (because of course the Twins didn’t score): More Duran, so he’s out until Sunday. It doesn’t bloody work, as Urias immediately doubles in the non-interfering Cowser. The Orioles bunt correctly, Urias moves to third, and pinch-hitter Aaron Hicks hits one deep enough to score him. His Dark Materials, Emilio Pagán, arrives in the nick of time to record a meaningless third out. You knew he would. The Twins bat again but this one’s already over 3-1
Division Standings: Cleveland .5 GB, Detroit 6.0 GB, White Sox 7.5 HAHAHA
Studs: Ober, Jax, Orioles baseball fundamentals
Duds: Twins lineup against lefties, Twins bullpen choices letting two guys be much better in Baltimore, this article writing off Aaron Hicks in 2015
COTG goes to Uncle Lincoln for “I hate Manfred’s balls.” Also zkonedog pointing out that it’s not only Dan Gladden’s birthday (66), but fellow broadcasters AND boothmates John Gordon (83) & Cory Provus (45). That’s friggin wild, man. It’s also Satchel Paige’s birthday... and the great one was always a little evasive when it came to which year, so we’ll just say (Timeless).
Tomorrow’s game is at 1:10, with Tyler Wells facing All-Star Sonny Gray. Catch ya then, maybe!