Rain will threaten the third game of the Twins-Nationals series tonight at Target Field ... another key game for the Twins, whose lead over Cleveland in the American League Central dropped to four games with Wednesday's 6-2 loss to Washington.
There's not much room for error with the Twins these days, not with so many players currently banged up. Going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position, which the Twins were on Wednesday, and missing a play in the outfield, like the one Eddie Rosario missed in the third inning that cost the Twins three runs, are too much to overcome when you're facing Stephen Strasburg with an offense low on octane.
Let's look at the Rosario play. Howie Kendricks sent a liner to right with two outs in the inning, a ball that should have been caught for the third and final out of the inning. Instead, Rosario got the wrong read on the ball and had it sail over his head for an RBI double.
"First of all, I think Eddie probably makes that play the vast majority of the time," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "Probably misjudged just how hard the ball was hit and ultimately didn’t make it. The ball is going to come back a little bit on him, back towards him.
"Obviously he's in right field a place he hasn't played a ton in, but I think he's pretty comfortable out there and I feel comfortable putting his name in right field. I don't think that's the issue. It's more of a one-off play and just a play that we hope gets made but today it wasn't but that's alright and we'll get it next time."
Rosario was in right because Luis Arraez was in left, a position he's learning on the fly. He's only played in left, so Baldelli felt it wasn't fair to stick him in right, where he's not used to the three surfaces - the padded wall, the marine-grade plywood above it and the Kasota stone above that - in which the ball can deflect in different ways. So Rosario started in right. Keep in mind, Max Kepler should be in right but he's out with an injury. Marwin Gonzalez and Jake Cave are injured, too. We've seen Ehire Adrianza attempt to play right field. So, it was Eddie.
His mistake forced Martin Perez to throw more pitches in the inning, one landed in the seats for a two-run home run. Perez wanted to pick up his teammate there, but couldn't make the right pitches. But those were three runs that shouldn't have scored.
His line looks bad: Five earned runs over five innings on six hits and three walks. He was far from perfect. But Perez missed a lot of barrels on Wednesday and deserved a slightly better fate. Again, I can't let him off the hook for the belt high heater that Zimmerman propelled into the stands, but wasn't a wreck out there.
Perez recently moved to the first base side of the pitching rubber, and has seen some positive results. It clicked in his previous outing, when he held Boston to one run over six innings in Fenway Park.
"I think with the cutter, it was moving too big, too inside to righties," Perez said. "I was just trying to go to the first-base side to feel the ball and locate my cutter more. When I go outside, it's really good. It looks like a ball and finishes as a strike, and I think it helps me a lot. It's going to stay there, and I'm going to continue to attack and throw a lot of strikes."
He has something to perfect the rest of the season. And the Twins certainly aren't a position to rule out anyone for their postseason rotation.
And the rain ...
We might be here for a while tonight.
The Twins and Nationals don't have any common off days the rest of the season, so if the game is washed out - and this game is needed to determine postseason positioning - the makeup date would be Sept, 30 - after the regular season is scheduled to end.
It looks like the threat of rain ends around 9 p.m. If you are coming out for the game, patience will be the key. Start bugging the Twins on Twitter now for what games/movies you want to watch on the videoboard.