Here are three thoughts following the Twins' 9-6 loss to the Tigers
DUFFEY'S DUD: Tyler Duffey on Wednesday had one of his better curveballs. It spiked straight down with some bite to it, and he was able to throw it for strikes. When that happens, that usually means it's going to be a good night for him. Not on Wednesday, as Duffey was knocked out in the fourth inning after he handed back a 5-2 lead. The warning signs came early as the Tigers scored a run in both the first and second innings. Tigers batters fouled off 16 pitches over the first two innings - eight coming with two strikes. That showed he was unable to finish hitters off. But the Twins scored five in the fourth to give him a 5-2 lead. Duffey responded by walking the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the inning. That jump-started a four-run inning that ended with Duffey in the dugout and the Twins trailing 6-5. It seemed like Duffey had the stuff to be effective on Wednesday, but it didn't translate to outs. A member of the coaching staff pointed out to me that Duffey didn't throw many change ups on Wednesday. That's what happens to a two-pitch pitcher.
THE MAUER SITUATION: I talked to Joe Mauer a little bit today. He's been trying to get his legs game-ready all week and actually sounded optimistic before he headed to the batting cage. If he doesn't have a setback, I expect him to be in the lineup tomorrow. With no DH in New York this weekend, Mauer will have to play first if he wants to start against the Mets. The bigger question remains: How much should he play over the final 16 games of the season? I see no problems with shutting him down for the rest of the season. But he reiterated Wednesday that he wants to play as much as he can down the stretch. It will be up to manager Paul Molitor to figure out some sort of schedule. It would seem like day games after night games and any game a lefty is starting would be the time to sit him out. After the game, Molitor said Mauer was available to pinch hit. That suggests he'll be in the lineup on Thursday.
SUZUKI NAILED IN MASK AGAIN: Catcher Kurt Suzuki has to leave the game in the eighth inning when a foul ball off of Miguel Cabrera's bat socked him right in the middle of the facemask. The ball finds this man. Anyway, the collision ripped open the scar that Suzuki suffered on July 23 in Boston when he took another foul tip off the mask. Suzuki said he needed five stitches after the game to close the wound. He's had to have been hit double-digit times with foul balls this season.