A Team Loss, If Such A Thing Exists (But Thanks, Brad)
Before the game earlier tonight, the Minnesota Twins inducted former starting pitcher Brad Radke into their Hall of Fame, an honor I believe he rightly deserves. Although he was just a smidge over .500 for his career winning percentage, he also played on a bunch of terrible Twins clubs early in his career, and then for few teams that didn’t score him many runs at all. About the only run support he got was in his final year, 2006, when he was essentially pitching with a torn-up shoulder. Yet, even during that ’06 campaign, where he showed more heart and guts than any pitcher in a long time, he was still more reliable than any Twins starter this season, save for perhaps Nick Blackburn. Deep down I wished he could have just stayed out there on that mound in place of Glen Perkins and set down the ChiSox order with his pinpoint control and pull-the-string changeup. He looks like he could still do it!
After the ceremony, however, the game was nothing but a slow spiral into another notch in the right-hand column of this season’s winning percentage. During his inning in the TV broadcast booth, Radke kept talking up the fact that baseball is a team game, giving all the credit to his success to his former teammates. The Twins proved him right on the field, but unfortunatly it was in the opposite way he intended. Basically, all areas of the Twins’ game stunk in some way, shape, or form:
Starting pitching: Perkins just didn’t have it tonight. Maybe he wasn’t still fully recovered from his recent illness, but he just wasn’t hitting his spots or making good pitches. Thus, the Sox battered him around accordingly.
Bullpen: Brian Duensing and Jose Mijares were solid, but R.A. Dickey was just a complete pain to watch. He didn’t throw strikes, couldn’t get batters to chase the knuckler, and walked three batters in an inning and a third. Of course, his outing wouldn’t have been nearly as bad if not for…
Defense: With the bases loaded with Sox in the sixth inning, Jim Thome busted his bat and hit a little bloop to left-center that Gomez pursued with his usual reckless abandon. The ball bounced once on the turf, vaulted Go-Go, and Span got all turned around in trying to back up the play. When all was said and done, the bases were cleared.
Hitting: Yes, the Twins did eventually put seven runs on the board, but WAY too many at-bats earlier in the game were just give-aways. The reason Gavin Floyd was able to last as long as he did in the game was because we had such weak at-bats in the first innings. Michael Cuddyer especially got on my nerves tonight, as he is such a sucker for that low, sweeping slider down and away. Makes him look like an idiot when he flails at it.
Preview (44-44, 3rd, 1.5 GB CWS): Mark Buerhle (9-2, 3.14) vs. Scott Baker (6-7, 5.31). The wait for Baker to develop into any sort of consistent starting pitcher continues on Sunday before the break.