CLEVELAND — Three extras from a somber Twins clubhouse:
Righthander Pat Light made his fifth appearance for the Twins on Wednesday, and unlike his rough weekend in Toronto, he had some success. Light relieved Alex Wimmers in the fourth inning, faced seven batters, and didn’t allow a hit. He walked two, though neither scored, and struck out three, before Molitor removed him with one out in the sixth.
“It was pretty good,” Molitor said. “I didn’t want to stretch him out too far since he had a nice outing going.”
Despite his beating in Toronto, where he recorded five outs in two games and allowed five runs, the Twins have been impressed with Light’s arm — he’s thrown up to 98 mph so far — and now are working with him on his pitch selection.
“We’re trying to get him to use his fastball to make his off-speed pitches a little better,” Molitor said. “You can see when he gets in pitchers’ counts, he gets expansion [of the strike zone], with that splitter in particular.”
Rajai Davis opened the game with a double that got past an onrushing Max Kepler, and Jason Kipnis followed with a home run. But the homer was worth only one run, because Davis was no longer on base.
He had been thrown out at third base on a steal attempt, with Miguel Sano holding the tag on Davis as he came off the bag. Why is that significant? Because Davis, who leads the American League with 33 stolen bases, has been caught just five times all year, an 86.8 percent success rate.
It was notable for the Twins, too, however. It was the first base stealer that Kurt Suzuki had thrown out since July 17, and marked the second straight night that a Twins catcher had recorded a caught-stealing. The last time Twins catchers did that in back-to-back games? You have to go all the way back to Sept. 18-19, 2013, when Eric Fryer and Josmil Pinto managed it.
Pat Dean hasn’t started a Twins victory since June 12, and he hasn’t recorded a victory of his own since the night he memorably outpitched Felix Hernandez in Seattle, May 27. So he’s going to be a big underdog on Wednesday, when he faces the first-place Indians for a team that’s lost 12 straight. Oh, and he also will be facing Cleveland ace Corey Kluber, the 2014 Cy Young winner.
OK, it’s not much, but there is a reason or two to hope for an upset. For one thing, there’s Dean’s win over Hernandez, proof that rookies can surprise you sometimes. And there’s this: Kluber has lost his last three starts to the Twins, and is only 6-5 overall, with a 3.76 ERA, in his career against Minnesota.