Muscled Out Of The Jake

Pronk.jpgWith the Minnesota Twins fighting for a playoff berth in the final few weeks of this season, a visit to Cleveland to face the lowly Indians seemed to be a blessing.  Three days later, it has turned into a curse.

Last night (Tuesday), the Twins fell behind 8-1 when the Indians uncharacteristically pounded Francisco Liriano.  However, thanks to the great pitching of Boof Bonser (quite a phrase there, eh?!), the Twins mounted a furious comeback and eventually took the lead 9-8.  Of course, in typical Twins fashion of late, reliever Eddie Guardado gave up a dinger to Grady Sizemore to tie the contest, then Joe Nathan surrendered a three-run bomb to Victor Martinez for the walk-off Indian victory.

Tonight, the Indians again out-muscled the Twins.  After Minnesota took a 2-0 lead in the early innings (partially due to a homer of our own, from Carlos Gomez), both Jhonny Peralta and Travis “Pronk” Hafner homered off Baker in the fourth inning to tie the score.

The Tribe took a brief lead in the fifth when Shin-Soo Choo doubled in a run, but Morneau’s sacrifice out tied things up in the seventh.

In the bottom of the seventh, with a runner on third and two outs, Ron Gardenhire removed Jose Mijares from the game and summoned the beleaguered Matt Guerrier, whose ERA is now hovering dangerously close to the 5.00 mark.  Guerrier promptly gave up one double, then another, to give the Indians a 6-4 that they would not relinquish.

Thus, the brooms came out in Cleveland.

Notes:

-The most pertinent comment coming out of this game is why in the world did Gardy take Jose Mijares out of the game in favor of the seemingly lost Guerrier?!  Mijares had been setting down the Cleveland batters pretty easily, and the only reason a runner was on third was because of mistake from Joe Mauer (throw to second) and Denard Span (ball trickled by him).  Add to that Guerrier’s terrible second half and it really makes me scratch my head.

-Does anyone really want to win the AL Central?!  Over the past month, each team (Twins and White Sox) in contention for the crown have played terribly spotty baseball, with chances to bury the competitor nearly ever week.  Unfortunately, the Twins have been a bit worse and thus are still in second place.

Preview (82-70, 2nd, 2.5 GB CWS): Glen Perkins (12-4, 4.40) vs. James Shields (13-8, 3.50).  In years past, a trip to Tropicana Field (is that still even what it is called?!) was a vacation.  This year, with the Rays fighting tooth and nail with the Red Sox for the AL East title, it will be anything but.  The Twins’ job over this four-game series is to absolutely not lose any ground on the White Sox, while realistically they need to gain a game on the Pale Hose to give themselves more than a prayer.  The good news: Scott Kazmir is the only lefty the Twins’ bats will have to face in the series.  Also, playing in their dumpy dome might recollect some of our own home field advantage!

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