Three late-night leftovers from the home of baseball's best team:
MISSED IT BY THIS MUCH: Second night in a row that the game has ended with Josh Willingham looking at a third strike, but this one was anticlimactic because of what preceded it. On the previous pitch, the Twins' slugger (and a former A's outfielder) pummeled a 95-mph fastball from Sean Doolittle into the left-field corner, a wallop that easily reached the seats, but clearly hooked foul. With Eduardo Escobar standing on first base, the blow would have put the Twins in front. (Second night in a row that a critical home run strayed by a few feet; Brian Dozier's three-run near-home-run would have tied the game last night.) Instead, Doolittle froze Willingham with another fastball moments later, establishing a new Oakland A's record: 28 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings by the bullpen.
WISH HIM WELL: It was a shame to see Chris Colabello go, but he had to know his days were numbered when the Twins decided to take a look at Kennys Vargas last week. Vargas was the cleanup hitter on Friday, hit a couple of hard line drives for hits, and looked increasingly like a player who will definitely be on next season's roster, likely as the designated hitter once Joe Mauer returns and Willingham departs. Colabello believes his statistics don't match the contact he's making at the plate these days, that he's had some bad luck, but it was clear he's not in the team's longterm plans. Still, what does it say about the Twins that he leaves after playing just 59 games -- and ranks fourth on the team in RBIs with 39, behind only Trevor Plouffe, Brian Dozier and Kurt Suzuki?
A FEARSOME FOURSOME: The five members of the Athletics' starting rotation posed together on the O.co Coliseum mound Friday afternoon, a photo shoot before batting practice that, thankfully, the Twins didn't witness. These A's pitchers are scary enough one at a time. (OK, not the subpar Jason Hammel, but the other four are all All-Stars.) One night after Jon Lester throttled the Twins on three lonely singles, Scott Kasmir resumed his occasional torture of the same lineup. Kazmir retired the first 12 hitters he faced in order, and faced the minimum 18 hitters through six innings. Yes, he gave up even fewer hits through six (1) than Lester did (2) on Thursday. Next up? The Twins face Jeff Samardzija, who made the All-Star team as a Cub and has a 3.09 ERA so far with the A's. I don't know, maybe not letting the Coliseum fans dream about a no-hitter would be a good goal tomorrow. Fortunately for the Twins, they don't face Sonny Gray during this series.