Another spectacular day for baseball at Target Field. A buddy texted last night saying, "If Ernie Banks was in Minnesota today, he would've said, 'Let's play one and a half.' " Tonight might be even better.
The storyline is obvious. The Twins need a win to avoid a sweep, just like they did on May 16, when Jason Kubel hit his grand slam off Mariano Rivera.
I was in the Yankees clubhouse last night but was told the Twins clubhouse was pretty grim. Understandable, considering they have lost three in a row, all by one run. In the Twins game notes, there's a note from Elias, that the Twins have gone through three consecutive one-run defeats just three times in their 50 years in Minnesota. It also happened in June 1999 and July 2007.
As La Velle touched on in last night's postgame video, an even more alarming streak is the Twins' run of eight games without a home run. Where were you when Justin Morneau hit that eighth-inning shot off Toronto's Shawn Camp on May 17? That was the last Twins' home run. Ten days ago. The Twins have had 325 plate appearances since then.
The eight-game homerless draught is the seventh longest in team history. They went 12 straight games without a home run in 1981. Where have you gone, Hosken Powell?
Side note: I'm watching some pretty pathetic swings in the batting cage. Hard to tell exactly who's at the plate, but Gardy is throwing BP, and Morneau & Mauer are behind the cage. Probably some Wild players getting a few cuts the way they did at the Metrodome. What the heck. Let some others experience what it's like to get TF'd.
I'll find out who's taking those swings and get the lineups and check in later.
Update: Those were indeed hockey players: Nick Schultz. Derek Boogaard, Andrew Brunette and Mark Parrish, who put one into the LF seats.
Gardy said Nick Punto (strained finger) will be ready to return to the lineup Friday.
1. Derek Jeter, SS
2. Brett Gardner, CF
3. Mark Teixeira, 1B
4. Alex Rodriguez, 3B
5. Robinson Cano, 2B
6. Nick Swisher, RF
7. Juan Miranda, DH
8. Francisco Cervelli, C
9. Kevin Russo, LF
Starting pitcher: RH Javier Vazquez (3-4, 6.69 ERA)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Orlando Hudson, 2B
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Jim Thome, DH
6. Michael Cuddyer, RF
7. Jason Kubel, LF
8. J.J. Hardy, SS
9. Alexi Casilla, 3B
Starting pitcher: RH: Nick Blackburn (5-1, 4.50 ERA)
Target Field. First pitch: 7:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network