Manny Being Manny…Again
For the second consecutive night, the Minnesota Twins were essentially defeated by one mightly swing of the bat from the previously-slumping Manny Ramirez.
Last night, after Scott Baker and Daisuke Matsuzaka locked up for seven innings, Gardy made the strange decision of calling for Brian Bass out of the bullpen instead of Jesse Crain or Matt Guerrier. Of course, the first Boston batter smacked a double off the Green Monster, and that runner eventually came home on a single from Ramirez.
Tonight, Nick Blackburn hooked up with John Lester in another relatively tight contest. With the Twins leading 5-2 heading into the eighth inning, Guerrier was summoned from the pen this time to try and preserve the lead. Three batters later, Manny deposited a Matty G. pitch high over the Monster, tying the game. A few more hits provided the winning run, allowing Jonathan Papelbon to nail down yet another save against the Twins (when the Twins stranded Punto at third base).
Okay, so this was another hard-fought loss to a good team. To be honest, what worries me more is the Twins’ mediocrity on the road this season. When at home, the Twins have that swagger/confidence that seems to pump them up. On the road, however, it’s a whole new ballgame, as the Twins are 18-22 away from the Dome. With four games at Detroit after tomorrow’s finale with the BoSox, the Twins had better figure out their road plauges quickly.
Preview (50-40, 2nd, 2.5 GB CWS): Livan Hernandez (9-5, 5.18) vs. Josh Beckett (8-5, 3.70). This is not a good matchup at all. Livan gives up hits in bunches (which the Red Sox thrive on), while Beckett feasts on over-anxious hitters (often times the Twins’ forte, especially on the road) with his nasty sinker/fastball combination. A scratch victory is what one can hope for.