Pirahnas? No, Mice Won This Game
Once again, the Minnesota Twins are working wonders on the fragile psyche of opposing pitchers. Bosox hurler Julian Talvarez had not thrown more than five complete this season, had an ERA of 7.58, had walked 8 and fanned no more than 11 this whole year, and then proceeds to stare down our guys like this:
Six innings. Two runs off four hits, only one run earned. Seven fucking strikeouts.
Seven strikeouts. Seven. And yet, you say, our Minnesota Twins small ball style of play created two runs to the Red Sox measly one. So why complain if we put one in the win column? Well, I'll grouse if I damn well please because I get to sit here and watch these lousy contests. By all rights, the Twins should be winning these games in a big way, padding numbers, building confidence in themselves and their fan base, at the very least wearing down journeyman wonders like Julian Tavarez with longer at-bats... oh, it's the same damned story. With both Joe Mauer and Michael Cuddyer out, the Twins once again made every effort to provide a level playing field for their guests. In this contest between a future hundred-million-dollar-man and a guy on his last legs, the latter gave the former a run for his money. And it simply shouldn't be that way day in and day out.
Fortunately (if you can call it that), the Red Sox were as weary as the Twins, succumbing to the mystique of Johan Santana, working him hard, forcing him out in the sixth after running his pitch count to 98, but utterly unable to capitalize on the seven runners they left on base, including a bases-loaded jam in the first. Johan whiffed five total, never had a 1-2-3 inning, and was a shaky, to say the least. The one run the Sox did score off our ace came on Dustin Pedroia's ground-rule double with two out in the fourth, which scored Wily Mo Pena. Now, Wily Mo was standing on third after a single thanks to Santana's two wild pitches (the guy threw all of four last year) and waltzed home easy as pie.
So I don't know if the hoodoo from Wakefield's game was hovering over the Dome tonight, but this was game was weird, though not weird in any way I would consider fun. Yeah, yeah, our bottom of the order fishies drove in the winning runs in the second inning with a well-placed grounder and a base hit. And Torii Hunter hit safely in his twentieth game, a big-bam double off the baggie with one down in the sixth, and with that and Nathan's striking out Manny Ramirez to end the game, there's your good news. But when we can get but four measly hits off a guy like Julian Taverez, does anyone really think we'll get through the quagmire of Cleveland and Detroit playing like this?
I don't. I see this as being a very long year. I see a team that's acting like the Central is a cake-walk like 02-04. The Tigers are a shade out of second place, 17-11, and already Jim Leyland's had more than a couple shout outs to his underachieving club. He's not mumbling forlornly like our skipper, nor resting on last year's laurels. Are the Twins?