Startribune.com digital sports editor Howard Sinker used to cover the Twins and now shares season tickets with friends in Section 219 of Target Field. He blogs about baseball from the perspective of a long-time fan who loves the game, doesn’t always believe the hype and likes hearing what others think. Howard sometimes talks about sports with Cathy Wurzer on MPR's Morning Edition.
Joe Mauer goes 0-for-5, Justin Morneau strikes out three times and leaves the game with back pain (forcing Michael Cuddyer to first base), Jim Thome clogs the bases and stops at third on a two-out double, Denard Span throws a tantrum and gets tossed (forcing Cuddyer from first base to center field), the Twins go 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and leave 12 men on base.
Sounds like a night to forget.
But not when your starting pitcher builds on his best-in-the-league ERA, pitches eight scoreless and strikes out 10. And not when Thome gets a second chance to score from first with two outs because a Detroit outfielder clunks a fly ball off his glove and then falls down. And not when Jon Rauch doesn't give a rat's booty that he's facing the 3-4-5 guys in the Tigers lineup (including the splendid Migual Cabrera) after putting the tying run on base.
If your favorite team is going to have issues, let them include a slow DH chugging around the bases rather than a roster that forces you to use Brian Buscher as a late-game pinch hitter or Jason Tyner as the DH.
The Tigers made more errors Tuesday night than the Twins have made all season. The season score in that area is 21-2. That explains something, doesn't it?
Yes, the 2010 outfield doesn't cover as much ground as the Carlos Gomez version. But the current model doesn't send throws to Eden Prairie instead of the proper place in the infield. The Young-Cuddy-Kubel alignment in the outfield looks a bit like a three tight-end alignment on the football field, but I think we can work with it for short periods of time. Alexi Casilla makes the perfect sixth infielder/25th man on the roster.
The Twins took on Detroit's ace with their "fifth" starter and came out on top -- on a night when Jason Verlander's postgame comments were all about the significant improvement he made over his previous starts. He said he felt "10 times better than I've felt before."
Verlander also said that Liriano "was the best I've seen him since 2006."
For Twins fans, it was the best they'd seen him since last Wednesday ... and the Thursday before that.
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