The Twins' playoff chase was going to be a tough one as they needed to pass two teams with six games left. They weren't going to go 6-0. They always needed the Angels and Astros to come back to them a little bit. What happened on Wednesday was that their room for error shrunk. That's it. They can't afford to drop another game.
With that in mind, here are some thoughts following the Twins' doubleheader split against Cleveland.
PELFREY'S LAST STAND: If this was Mike Pelfrey's last game as a Twin, it was not the way to go out. He had his shortest outing of the season. Nothing worked. He gave up hits to the No. 7 and No. 9 hitters in the order to fuel the Indians' four-run third inning. He dropped to 6-11 on the season and is 11-27 in three seasons with the Twins. Pelfrey is a great guy and is well-liked in the clubhouse. But the Twins did not get the return on their investment when they gave Pelfrey $14 million over the last few years. Pelfrey owned it after the game, admitting that he was awful and he let the team down.
JOSE RAMIREZ, THAT HOME RUN PIMPIN' MIDDLE INFIELDER: The Twins are mad at Jose Ramirez. ``Their guy pulled a horse manure move there,'' righthander Ricky Nolasco said.
The Twins walked Jason Kipnis intentionally in the eighth inning, putting two runners on for Ramirez. Ricky Nolasco delivered a pitch, and Ramirez homered to right. He held the bat out to the side and he took several steps toward first, then flipped the bat when the ball landed in the seats. Manager Paul Molitor, catcher Kurt Suzuki, hitting coach Tom Brunansky and bench coach Joe Vavra all were seen yelling at Ramirez for flipping his bat. Home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg motioned several times toward the Twins dugout to settle down, then made sure the Indians players went straight to the dugout once they all crossed home plate. ``That's part of the game that's growing a lot,'' Molitor said. ``Some players get comfortable in doing things that some people interpret as disrespectful, so we reacted a little bit, yeah.'' I think part of it was the Twins frustrated to be losing a big game in that fashion. What Ramirez did, and not being an established player, would rub most teams the wrong way. Let's see what happens tomorrow. Once again, the Twins chose to walk Kipnis.
ROSARIO RESPONDS: Eddie Rosario homered in the ninth inning and let Ramirez have it as he circled the bases following his 13th home run. Rosario doesn't show a lot of emotion on the field but has come across as a guy you don't want to upset. He showed a little fire there.
SANO DROUGHT OVER: Miguel Sano had gone 41 plate appearances without a home run when he connected on a 436-foot blast in the eighth inning. Everything about his game looked the same. He was still working counts full and getting some walks, but the home runs had dried up. Until Wednesday. Let's see if that's the start of a streak.
NOLASCO SIGHTING: Nolasco, looking trimmer and throwing a sharp curveball looked pretty good before he gave up that home run to Ramirez. He ended up giving up three runs over two innings on two hits and a walk with five strikeouts in his first work since June. Now he has something to build off of. He could be used again for the season is over. ``It was good to see him out there,'' Molitor said. `I had been hesitant to use him. There were a couple situations where I thought about it then I reminded myself that the guy has thrown three innings in instructional league (since June). I thought he was sharper than I thought he would be.''
WHY NOT HUGHES? OH, NEVER MIND: There was outrage on twitter when Pelfrey was lifted for J.R. Graham, then Graham was replaced by Brian Duensing. I thought the situation called for Phil Hughes like many did. After watching Hughes, I understood why he wasn't brought in earlier. Hughes looked like someone getting over an illness. His fastball never reached more than 88 miles per hour, and he labored. He was not in condition to eat up innings. Too bad, because they needed it. Molitor said he didn't think Hughes was 100 percent yet.
REPLAY RANT: What good is instant replay if it's not used properly? Mike Pelfrey had his foot on the bag in the second inning when he covered first base on Francisco Lindor's grounder to Joe Mauer. He was called safe (which was wrong) but the replay review backed up the call (which was wrong). I looked at replays and could tell he hit the bag. His foot was turned to the side. How does that happen if he's not on a base? I talked to one of the coaches after the game. He said the high pinkie/beautiful people who were in the suite next to the dugout looked at their replays and said Lindor was out. How does something like that get screwed up? ``We did not get the call at first base,'' Molitor said. ``I'm still not sure why.''