Can’t Buy Me Glove
When playing a team like the Anaheim Angels, a sort of “perfect game” must be executed in order to give your team a chance to win. Tonight, the Twins got some inspired comeback hitting, but ultimately were doomed by one inning of errors and gaffes.
With no score heading into the bottom of the third inning, a high throw from Brian Buscher pulled Morneau off the first base bag and allowed the crafty Angels to start building a rally. A few batters latter, with the bases loaded, Vlad the Destroyer cracked a laser beam to center field that went for a “double” (although, as pictured, I would have given Gomez an error). The very next batter hit a ground ball to Buscher again, who this time fumbled the ball (missing an out at the plate) and making a late throw to first base. By the time the Twins finally got their gloves back on, the score was 4-0 Angels.
After a solo home run by Casilla, Anaheim got starter Blackburn again for two more runs to make the score 6-1. Yet, the Twins still had some fight in them, as they put together a four-run fifth to close the gap to one run.
From that point, though, the Angels bullpen (Oliver, Shields, K-Rod) dominated the Twins’ batters, and Mark Teixeira added a solo shot to right for the 7-5 final.
-Blackburn (4.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 R) didn’ t pitch as bad as the score indicated, but errors will rattle a young starter probably more than anything in a major league inning. Without the defensive meltdowns in that third inning, who knows what kind of grove Blackie could have gotten into.
-Despite the tough loss, I was very impressive by the multiple comeback attempts that the Twins made throughout the game. All too often, some offenses (with the Twins being no exception) will get so frustrated being down by multiple runs to a good team that they will throw away at-bats. Instead, the Twins kept hitting right to the end, when a few good defensive plays from the Angels robbed us of some baserunners.
Preview (74-55, 1st, 0.5 GA CWS): Kevin Slowey (10-8, 3.78) vs. Ervin Santana (13-5, 3.39). This is like one of those old “Brad Radke vs. Opposing Fireballer” pitching matchups of old. The Twins batters need to get to the “other Santana” before he can get into one of his patented strikeout grooves, while Slowey needs to work his usual control-driven magic.