Scott Baker pitched five scoreless innings, but he wasn’t having a good day even then. You could tell each inning that he wasn’t very good. In four of his six innings he allowed the leadoff man to reach, and it was almost as if he threw to many strikes early on.
In the sixth inning he finally fell apart after somehow allowing no runs through the first five innings. He was tagged for four runs in the inning before Gardenhire finally realized he didn’t have good stuff. Jesse Crain relieved him and what do you know, the Twins blew another lead to the Seattle Mariners.
As I’ve mentioned before, the Twins will not be close in the playoff race at the end of September if something doesn’t change in the bullpen. Whether it be a move or just the pitchers figuring something out, it doesn’t matter. Something needs to happen, because they can’t continue to blow the number of games they have thus far and make the playoffs.
There isn’t one pitcher that can be trusted every night in the bullpen other than Joe Nathan. Matt Guerrier was pretty good early on, but since the break has been awful. He has allowed at least a run in six of his last ten appearances. Jesse Crain has been decent, but it’s either lights out, or blown out. Craig Breslow has been a great pitcher when nobody is on, but is seems as though in the last month when he enters in a jam, the runners score. Denny Reyes meanwhile has been pretty good, but he only faces lefties and throws just a few pitchers per outing.
Other than these guys there is Boof Bonser and Brian Bass. Nothing needs to be said for either player. If either player enters the game, the Twins are either far ahead or far behind.
So, now you know what the Twins need to do in order to make sure they stay in things heading down the stretch. The good news for the Twins was that this time around the offense came through and kept them tied for first in the central.
With a run in the eighth the Twins tied the game up at six apiece. In the bottom of the ninth Mauer and Morneau started the inning with two straight singles and then were bunted over by Young. Lamb was walked intentionally after he entered for Ruiz and a sacrifice fly by Brian Buscher sent the Twins home with win number sixty-nine.
By the way, a big thanks to the lefties Craig Breslow and Dennys Reyes. Both pitched great today and helped keep things close in the final innings.