I'll write about this more in the Monday paper, but let's just say, for now, that Joe Mauer let his teammates down.

Not only did he not volunteer to play first base on Sunday, with the Twins fielding a weaker-than-3.2 beer lineup. He didn't even take ground balls at first this week, knowing that Justin Morneau is going to be out until at least August, and that injuries to so many outfielders will keep Michael Cuddyer from playing first base every day.

-Remember when Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau were healthy and at the top of their games? I'm still not sure they were more entertaining than the Brewers' Nos. 3 and 4 hitters, Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder.

Braun's sweet, stylish righthanded swing stands in perfect contrast to Fielder's violent cut. Fielder is on a classic contract surge right now, knowing he'll be a free agent this winter, and Braun hit a not-so-bad pitch from Carl Pavano so hard on Sunday that, when the ball bounced back onto the field. Braun couldn't tell whether it had hit the outfield wall or the wall beyond.

If the Brewers can revive third baseman Casey McGehee, they will be very tough to pitch to. As it is, Rickie Weeks, Braun and Fielder are three of the most talented players in baseball, and have combined for 50 home runs.

-I'm not particularly disturbed that the Twins went 1-5 on this road trip. I figured they would go 2-4, and that 3-3 would be a triumph, since they were playing two good teams on the road without Morneau.

What's more troubling is that they reverted to their sloppy ways. Alexi Casilla made a lazy error, Tsuyoshi Nishioka failed to catch a perfect throw to the base on a pickoff, and the middle infielders failed to keep Ryan Braun close to second base, giving him an easy steal of third.

When Ron Gardenhire visited the mound after that play, you could see him heatedly correcting his infielders.

While we all seize on such details, the reality is this: If you looked at the lineups before each of the Brewers games, you'd pick the Brewers to win. They're a much better team right now. The Twins' miracle run of 15 victories in 17 games was just that, a miracle made possible by exceptional starting pitching.

After three games with the Dodgers, the Twins will face Milwaukee, Tampa Bay and the White sox for 10 games. They're going to have to start beating good teams to remain in the race, and to do so, they could use Mauer at first base when he's unable to catch.

-Upcoming: I'll be on 1500espn at 2:40 and 6:15 on Monday.


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The roof is partially closed at Miller Park, home of the Pork Parfait

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A Series of Random Thoughts from Target Field on a beautiful Tuesday night