DETROIT – Brian Dozier slumped in a chair in the visitors’ clubhouse of Comerica Park, staring daggers as he spoke.
The Twins had just lost 6-3 to the Tigers and were swept in the three-game series. Wednesday’s loss was particularly troubling to Dozier because of missed plays all over the field.
“I’ve got to get some things off my chest,” he said. “We’ve got to figure some things out as far as the mental side of the game.”
Dozier plans to address the team Thursday about how not to play baseball, which is pretty much how the Twins have been playing baseball this season. They are 10-29, but there still are standards to be met and they aren’t meeting them. Wednesday’s game was a 2-hour, 57-minute infomercial on the sad state of Twins baseball — that probably would make fans change the channel.
The Twins committed a season-high three errors, on top of other mistakes.
“We have to find what is our type of game, number one,” Dozier said. “It hasn’t been very good, but today was even worse. To be honest with you, it was kind of embarrassing. Running bases. Hitting cutoff men, keeping double plays in order. The little things that makes a ballclub good. And it was kind of exposed today that we did a lot of things wrong.”
The Twins were swept in a three-game series for the seventh time this season. And Twins outfielder Eddie Rosario — who made several mistakes before being pulled from the game in the seventh inning following an ill-advised steal of third when the Twins were four runs down — was demoted to Class AAA Rochester after the game.
A throwing error by Eduardo Nunez on the first play of the first inning enabled Ian Kinsler to advance to second. On cue, J.D. Martinez drove him in with a single as Rosario’s throw from left field missed the cutoff man.
“We’ve talked about the first inning and being ready,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “Some of the basic things you would hope at this level. We have to catch the ball and hit the cutoff man and all those things that jump out at you when you are playing poorly.”
Martinez tripled to right center in the third — out of the reach of Miguel Sano — and scored on a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0. Nick Castellanos doubled, sliding in safely as Rosario made another poor throw.
One batter later, Justin Upton was given an RBI single when his blooper to short right deflected off Dozier’s glove for a hit. Sano compounded the mess by overrunning the ball, enabling Upton to move to second.
Twins righthander Ricky Nolasco made a wild pickoff throw in the fourth, and that runner, Cameron Maybin, eventually scored to make it 4-0. One of the worst plays of the day came in the fifth when Upton sent a sinking fly to short left field. Nunez and Rosario didn’t appear to communicate as they converged upon the area, only to watch the ball drop between them for a hit.
Nolasco (1-2) threw 101 pitches over five innings because of some of the extra outs the Tigers received. He gave up four runs, but two were unearned.
“I thought Ricky pitched well,” Molitor said. “He didn’t get what he deserved in terms of us backing him up.”
Detroit’s Justin Verlander (3-4) gave up three runs over 7 ⅓ innings on six hits and three walks with 10 strikeouts. When Rosario chased a shoulder-high fastball to strike out in the fourth, it gave Verlander his 2,000th career strikeout.
The Twins scored on a sacrifice fly by Danny Santana in the seventh and a two-run single by Trevor Plouffe in the eighth. They headed to the airport and a flight to the Twin Cities feeling as if they lost by more than three runs.
“I stink,” said Dozier, 0-for-3 on Wednesday and 3-for-18 on the 2-4 road trip. “A lot of people stink across baseball, but you have to do the little things right up here and we have to get better at that.”