How messed up is it that a guy –Pat Neshek in this instance– can come in with runners at second and third and nobody out, give up a sacrifice fly, yet nonetheless retire every batter he faces, and get a blown save out of the deal?
That whole game was sort of messed up, really. The older I get the more I’ve come to despise pitcher’s duels; or maybe it’s just that the Twins seem to find themselves turning up on the losing end of pitcher’s duels on a fairly regular basis, and these days the very term “pitcher’s duel” usually just means the Twins aren’t scoring any runs. Which is frustrating and entirely too common of late.
Still, you have to tip your hat to Scott Baker and the club’s bullpen: twelve innings pitched, four hits, fifteen strikeouts, and one walk. The bullpen’s line was pretty staggering: five IP, zero hits, zero walks, and six strikeouts. Ron Gardenhire and Rick Anderson are going to have to cross their fingers, though, for a solid (and long) outing from Boof Bonser tomorrow, because the entire bullpen’s pretty tapped out after the first two games against the Blue Jays.
The really good news tonight is that the Tigers lost, allowing the Twins to gain a game in the Central standings.
I’m starting to wonder about which Twins might be All Star selections, and am beginning to suspect that this might be one of those years where, despite a bunch of pretty worthy candidates, Minnesota might end up with only one or two picks. Johan Santana’s on track to pitch the last game in Chicago before the break, and as deserving as he is, I can’t imagine Jim Leyland taking a guy he can’t really use. And given how much time he missed, should Mauer get serious consideration?
Right now I think you could make a case for any of the following (in descending order of merit, and throwing out Santana’s scheduling conflict): Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau, Santana, Pat Neshek (a dark horse, I realize, but I really think set-up guys should get full consideration), Joe Nathan, Mauer, and Luis Castillo.
I’m guessing Hunter and Morneau will go, and, if Leyland thinks he can afford a symbolic pick based entirely on respect, Santana.