Here are three thoughts following the Twins' extra-inning loss to the Red Sox:
1. WORLEY A LITTLE BETTER: Worley, 0-4, 6.95 in his Twins career, was better. Actually his first 54 pitches of the game were very good. He needed double plays to get out of the first and fourth but he had good stuff and was being unpredictable out there. He got 10 outs through ground balls through four innings. The Twins led 4-1 at that point, with Boston's only run coming on Shane Victorino's solo shot to lead off the fourth. Then Daniel Nava worked him for a nine-pitch at-bat in the fifth that ended with a double. That seemed to be the beginning of his struggles, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire felt it was more the six inning. After giving up two singles in the sixth, Gardy went out for the ball, and you could tell Worley wasn't pleased. ``I definitely wasn't expecting to come out of the game,'' Worley said. ``Joe came out and said, ``just to give you a little breather,'' and the next thing I know everyone is coming back to the mound. I'm like, `What the heck is going on?' It is what it is. It's just a matter of getting a little deeper in the game for me.''
2. PINCH RUNNING: I don't have a problem with trying to scratch up runs late in games. Many fans on twitter were up in arms over Josh Willingham being lifted for a pinch runner in the ninth. I thought it was a fine move because it also meant that there would be a faster runner in left field. Well, it turned out to be Ryan Doumit, who is faster but not a blazer. So I don't think Hammer gets as close to Drew's ball as Doumit did. The question that didn't come up post-game (we all were right up against deadline) was Wilkin Ramirez hitting for Hicks. It will be interesting to follow up on that tomorrow. And notice that the Red Sox lifted David Ortiz and his 26-game hitting streak for a pinch runner in the eighth.
3. BULLPEN WATCH: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire really needed the 3.0 innings of relief from Anthony Swarzak on Monday. He was trying to give a couple relievers a day of rest. Josh Roenicke had to be one of them. Jared Burton got up to warm up in the top of the eighth but Burton sat down and Swarzak started heating up. That raised an eyebrow, but Burton was fine and eventually entered the game. Gardy explained that Burton was coming into the game if the Twins added a run in the eighth. When they didn't, he sat down. Gardy then tried to get another inning out of Casey Fien, and we saw what happened. Again, the Twins tried to rest a couple pitchers, which affected their late-inning selections.
3a. CLUTCH UP: The Twins were 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position and need to be a little better. They should have knocked Boston starter Clay Buchholz out of the game in the first inning when they had the bases loaded and one out. But Arcia and Hicks struck out to end the inning. They both deserve credit because they did hit back-to-back doubles off of Buchholz in the third, but they missed a big opportunity in the first inning to score more than two runs. And the middle of the order failed to answer the call in the seventh with two on and no one out. Hammer. Morneau and Parmelee each struck out.