Three more leftovers after after the Twins fell behind Tampa Bay in the wild-card standings Saturday:
WHERE AM I THROWING? The Twins turned five groundballs into double plays for just the seventh time in team history on Saturday, and they could have tied the franchise record for DPs had Brian Dozier not bobbled Jose Molina's hard grounder in the sixth inning. Or so I thought. Turns out, Dozier wasn't planning to try for two outs during that first-and-third situation, not down by three runs. His plan originally was to throw the ball home and try to get Logan Forsythe at the plate. "That was the plan at first, but [Molina] hit it to my left, caught me in an in-between hop," Dozier said. "So I can't tell you if I was going to [throw home] or not. I saw [Forsythe] running in my peripheral, so I knew he was going, but when I had to step back, I didn't know if I was going that way, because it would have been a risky throw from my heels." Didn't matter anyway when he briefly juggled the ball. Dozier, with a disappointed look on his face, threw to first to retire Molina but concede the run.
DEFENSE HOLDING STEADY: The Twins strong defense doesn't end with the double plays, either. Their errorless streak was snapped at nine straight games on Saturday when center fielder Danny Santana overran Sean Rodriguez's single in the seventh inning, but their infield has been making all the plays lately. Nno matter how you feel about errors as a gauge of defense -- they're pretty worthless, true -- it's still remarkable given the fact that the Twins have been playing Kendrys Morales, Chris Parmelee and Chris Colabello, not the most nimble fielders, at first base since Joe Mauer was hurt. Colabello even saved Trevor Plouffe from being charged with an error tonight, digging out a tough short-hop throw to end the fifth inning. The Twins may not have above-average range anywhere but in center field and second base, but they're making most of the plays, at least.
IT'S REAL RELIEF: It's getting lost in the disappointing series to open the second half, but the Twins' bullpen is on a roll. Jared Burton and Casey Fien pitched a scoreless inning apiece Saturday, meaning the Twins' pen has allowed only eight runs in its last 47 innings, a 1.53 ERA. Just three walks and 31 strikeouts in that time, too. But bullpens mean little if the starters aren't effective, just as good defense doesn't matter much if the offense collects only three runs in two games.