A couple of additional thoughts from the Twins' 5-4 loss to Chicago:
-- Everybody seems to know what Mike Pelfrey's problem is. Nobody seems to know how to fix it. And that's got to be the most frustrating thing for everybody in the Twins' clubhouse.
"It's not like he's not trying. We all know he's trying," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "But you still go strike one, and the next thing you know, it's 3-and-2."
But unlike Scott Diamond, P.J. Walters, Pedro Hernandez or Liam Hendriks, Pelfrey doesn't seem to be pitching himself out of the rotation, even though he's won only once since May 5. Gardenhire was quick to say "absolutely, absolutely," when asked if Pelfrey would remain in the rotation.
Pelfrey, actually, sounded more negative about his future than Gardenhire, saying "in this game, you've got to perform." He always seems about a half-inch from screaming in frustration when he conducts postmortems after his losses, and admitted "This is the worst year of my career, by far." But he didn't agree that a break, perhaps skipping a start, would help.
So the Twins are left to hope that he can find the strike zone again, that he can stop, as he said, "throwing 100 pitches in four innings." He's pitching for his next contract now, too, so it's not just the team that needs him to put together a strong finish.
-- He wasn't happy with the way Pelfrey pitched, he wasn't particularly pleased with his offense's stubborn inability to drive runners home, and he was annoyed by a loss that probably shouldn't have happened. But what really got Gardenhire worked up Saturday was the conditions that the Twins and White Sox played in.
The game started at 3:05 in order to be broadcast by Fox to 9 percent of the nation. (Another 9 percent or so saw Baltimore-San Francisco, while 82 percent received Tampa Bay-Los Angeles). That meant bright sunshine in the first inning, but a funhouse-mirror bunch of shadows by the middle of the game.
"These 3 o'clock games, for sightlines, are absolutely terrible," Gardenhire said. "The shadows are brutal, and the ball -- you can't see spin. ... If people had to go and stand there and see the shadows, how tough it is ... "
Oswaldo Arcia fought the sun as he tried to make a sliding catch on Conor Gillaspie's sinking liner in the fifth inning, and he nearly dropped a fly ball by Alexei Ramirez. It was just as bad at the plate, Gardenhire said, and got so bad between 4:30-5 p.m., the lights were turned on in U.S. Cellular Field.
"No excuses, it was tough both ways," Gardenhire said. "But they really need to fix that part of the game."