Get Outta Dodge
Have you ever had one of those weeks where you just wish you could either wipe it from your memory or go back and do it over again? The Twins had EXACTLY that kind of series against the Boston Red Sox, getting swept out of Fenway park.
Today, Minnesota actually jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, thanks to a two-run bomb from Morneau and an RBI single from Mauer. From that point, the wheels began slowly loosening, until eventually they fell off completely:
First, Boston touched up the Fat Man for four runs in the second inning, then tagged him for two more in the fifth.
Heading into the bottom of the seventh, though, the Twins were down just 7-5, knowing full well that crazy comebacks have happened at Fenway. Thus, the need to shut down the Sox the rest of the way was Paramount. With two runners on and no outs, however, Jason Varitek hit a shallow liner to centerfield. Denard Span came on to supposedly make the catch, then double up both runners off first and second for a triple play. That should be the play that fires up the team for the rest of the game, right? Think again. The umpires held a short conference and decided that Span had trapped the ball (which indeed was the case) and thus overruled the triple play. However, peeved about having an earlier fan interference call go Boston’s way, Ron Gardenhire exploded, getting tossed out of the game before he could say two words to the umpire. I don’t think I have ever seen Gardy so hot, and that is quite a statement (heck, nobody even warned the dugouts after a hit batter!).
With Gardy tossed and the team frustrated, Boston proceeded to score seven runs in the seventh and four runs in the eighth for the eventual 18-5 margin of victory.
I think this was just one of those series that needs to be put out of memory as quickly as possible. Before doing so, however, a few general Twins comments:
-If the Twins cannot beat AL opponents on the road, they will likely not continue to contend for the division title.
-In the not-too-distant future, the Twins are going to have an interesting dilemma in their starting rotation. Francisco Liriano is starting to blow people away in the minor leagues, while the Fat Man keeps getting shelled here in the bigs. Should Liriano continue to produce well, I don’t see how one could justify booting Blackburn, Slowey, Baker, or Perkins out of the rotation before Livo.
-Finally, if Manny Ramirez never took another swing in the major leagues, I consider him to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. This guy has been the most consistent hitter of the last 10 years…he could hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs until he’s 50! Sure, he may be a bit of an airhead or clown at times, but I’d take a little clowning for that sort of production. Plus, he has never shown any signs of steroid use…he’s always been a big burly dude who can crank pitches with the best of them. Unless he is bashing the Twins (which he definitely did enough of this week), I love to just watch him swing.
Preview (50-41, 2nd, 3.5 GB CWS): Kevin Slowey (6-6, 3.78) vs. Kenny Rogers (6-6, 4.60). The road trip continues with four games in Detroit. Just splitting the series would be a “win” for the Twins on the road before the All-Star Break.