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.
If you want to see some of the worst and the dimmest of the Internet, you should check some of the comments on La Velle's blog before Sunday's game. There was some major anger about Gardy's decision to give some of the regulars a day off despite the facts that...
*... the Orioles have lost 2.2 games for every victory.
*... the Twins were on the road, so nobody could say they paid Target Field prices and got a Fort Myers lineup.
*... Denard Span was sick.
*... it was really, really hot for the fourth straight game.
*... Joe Mauer looked during Saturday night's 0-for-5 to be hurting worse than the Twins are letting on. (That's an observation from watching him run to first as opposed to inside information, but the Twins have talked enough about Mauer being "banged up" that speculation about "how banged up" is fair game.)
*... this wasn't a game against tough Atlanta at Target Field, which caused a dust-up (to which I contributed) back when the Twins used a similar lineup at home a half-dozen Sundays ago.
If there was ever a time and place to give Mauer, Span and J.J. Hardy a day off, this was it.
If Gardy had done so and lost, I would be lamenting that the Twins should have been able to call up the New Britain nine and beat the Orioles.
On Sunday, the 8-9-1-2 guys went 9-for-19 with two doubles (Nick Punto), a triple (Drew Butera) and a home run (Jason Repko). Alexi Casilla had three singles. Four guys hit home runs, including Jason Kubel's grand slam. Kevin Slowey was pretty strong, although shutting down the Orioles is hardly a test of recovery. Show me something against Tampa Bay next week, after shutting down the Mariners over the weekend in their next starts, and I'll feel better about Slowey and Scott Baker.
I will resist the temptation to say that Rochester's Anthony Swarzak faced a tougher lineup on Sunday when he got knocked out in the fourth inning by the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees.
Here's the sum total of the weekend: Three fairly methodical victories. A fourth that evaporated when Gardy wanted to see what Anthony Slama would do in the middle of a close game, a worthy experiment with all the hype and with four innings for the bullpen to fill that night. Everyone got to swing the bat. Guys got some rest. Alexi Casilla looked like a passable replacement for Orlando Hudson at second, although I suspect Punto will get time there with Danny Valencia at third base. After another horrible outing -- I hope you were doing something else by the bottom of the ninth on Sunday -- Nick Blackburn has an appropriate ERA at 6.66.
Delmon continues being Delmon.
And the Twins are one game behind Chicago. Both teams have soft-serve weeks on their schedules with the Twins playing Kansas City and Seattle while the White Sox are home against the Mariners and Oakland. The Tigers have a tougher run -- at Tampa Bay and Boston.
I think it's scoreboard watching time. Twins face Greinke tonight and the White Sox face Felix Hernandez.
The season might not be what many fans thought it would be (or wanted it to be), but it's still awfully interesting.
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