Weren’t we all afraid this was going to happen? Coming off what is traditionally the hottest part of the season for the Twins, Interleague Play, the Minnesota players and fans came into Kansas City on a high. Sure, we were only a game over .500, but we had been playing better baseball (especially on the road) and still (if only by default) in the AL Central division race. Then we lay on egg against the Royals with our best pitcher on the mound.
Besides a two-run blast from Justin Morneau, the Twins couldn’t muster any offense against KC’s Luke Hochevar. I believe we had one hit through five or six innings against him. Once again, the lineup that can (at times) put some crooked numbers on the board wilted on the road against a team we should handle fairly easily. Not once in the game did two consecutive batters get a hit.
On the flip side, Nick Blackburn pitched a decent game, but seemed to be just a little “off” from his normal self. He wasn’t getting first-pitch strikes, and the hitters seemed to be really teeing-off when they got their pitch (thus the two home runs from Callaspo and Olivo). However, this was probably just the case of a pitcher (as sometimes happens) not having his best stuff, and battling through it. He kept us in the game, at the very least, although with the kind of stink our offense was wallowing in it really wouldn’t have mattered anyway.
Now the pressure is on to win the final two games of this series…as that is what a contending team should do.
Preview (39-39, 2nd, 4.0 GB DET): Scott Baker (5-6, 5.17) vs. Brian Bannister (5-5, 4.17)