Sadly, this coincided with the confirmation that the Twins, for whatever reason, are back to playing the uninspired and generally inept brand of baseball that got them in a 17-37 hole, not the kind that brought them back to the brink of maybe getting back into a division race at 32-39. The reasons go beyond the fact that the starting pitching couldn't keep up that torrid three-week stretch, though that is a definite factor.
The Twins have made six errors in their past three games (two in each, and it could have been more last night if the scoring on Tsuyoshi Nishioka's grounder off the chest hadn't been changed to a hit after the game). They've made a total of nine errors during their six-game losing streak. And these are groan-worthy, Little League plays a lot of times.
Last night, they looked lethargic and resigned to their fate early, despite going against a very average Dodgers pitcher in Chad Billingsley. It's hard to pinpoint a reason. Maybe some of the youngsters took the foot off the gas when some of the veterans (Joe Mauer, Jim Thome) returned, and the mojo the Twins had going with whatever small-ball they could muster disappeared? Maybe it was smoke and mirrors for that mini-stretch, and now we're left with water and reality? Maybe it's as simple as starting pitching, which was lights-out for that 15-2 streak? But we know one thing: A depleted lineup can explain losses, but it can't explain a lack of consistent effort. The team we saw Monday, regardless of score, reminded us of the 17-37 Twins. That does not bode well.
OK, now for the fun stuff:
*As noted, the RBBH was attending her first game of the year and wasn't privy to the great controversy over the removal of the trees in center field. Like most, she concluded that their removal (and the reason for the removal) was "stupid" and offered a spirited critique. Then again, the solid, ugly black wall did help the Dodgers to 25 hits, the most ever allowed by the Twins in a nine-inning game. Maybe there's something to the distraction of the trees?
*Not sure if we've ever seen a team trailing by 10 runs have a player thrown out at the plate to end an inning, but we saw it when Alexi Casilla was cut down going for the plate after Joe Mauer's sixth-inning double.
*With the Twins already trailing big in the middle innings, a Twins fan sitting next to two Dodgers fans started a "We're not bankrupt!" chant that echoed throughout the top deck. It gained steam, and later it could be heard coming from different parts of the park.
*After the Twins fell behind by double-digits, we invoked our fan rights, which state that when the home team is trailing by 10 or more runs, and the ballpark is at 25 percent of capacity, and it is a gorgeous summer night, you are allowed an automatic seat upgrade to the lower level behind third base. As we were making our way over there in the 8th inning, we were able to witness the ejection of some apparently unruly Dodgers fans (pictured). Their removal seemed to make everyone in the area happy. Not sure what happened, but we bet they'll forever regret not being able to see Los Angeles score its 15th and final run of the game.