Deja vu all over again.
It seems like about half of my recaps have contained a line like "the starting pitcher didn't do badly today except..." Today it was "except for the second inning". Texas loaded the bases with none out. Samuel Deduno's magical zoomball got the next two batters, but then it zoomed right into the bat of Shin-Soo Choo, who brought all three men home.
The Twins did make a comeback, actually taking the lead briefly. Key to the offense was Josh Willingham, who was 2-for-3 with a walk and a home run and drove in three. I was a little about Willingham, because he really did very little during his rehab stint in Rochester, but in his few games back he's done well. If he could get back to putting the ball over the fence with some regularity, it would be a big help to our ballclub.
Even though the bullpen gets charged with the loss, it didn't pitch badly. 3.2 innings, one run, three hits, no walks, four strikeouts. The game-deciding "rally" was one bad pitch for a double followed by a bunt and a short sacrifice fly. Nobody's perfect. Texas was just barely good enough to take advantage, and our boys were just barely not quite good enough to stop them. It's frustrating, but I can't be too upset about it.
A couple more bright spots deserve mention. Oswaldo Arcia was 3-for-5 with a double. If he hits, that will make a big difference to the Twins lineup. Danny Santana continues to hit, going 3-for-4. He's obviously not going to hit .368 long term, because nobody does. But it he can be a good hitter, that will also make a big difference.
Yesterday was the second straight day Santana played ahead of Aaron Hicks. I assume there's nothing wrong with Hicks, since he was used as a pinch-runner, so it looks like a case of Gardy deciding he prefers Santana in center field. I'm not sure I agree--as I've mentioned previously, I prefer to have outfielders playing the outfield--but if that's the decision, then Hicks needs to go to Rochester and they need to stick with Santana when he hits an inevitable slump. It's the same thing I said about Pinto yesterday--you don't become a better player by watching other people play, you become a better player by playing.
That's true of almost everything, really, at least in my experience. You don't become a better lawyer by watching other people practice law. You become a better lawyer by practicing yourself--making some mistakes along the way, but learning from them. You don't become a better pastor by watching other people do it. You become a better pastor by being one--again, making some mistakes along the way, but learning from them. You can learn a few things from observation, of course, but the number is pretty limited. For the most part, you learn how to do something by doing it, not by watching someone else do it. If the Twins think Hicks, Santana, and Pinto can be good players, then they need to be playing, not watching other people play.
Now, the Twins travel to New York to see if they can turn things around against the Yankees. We all know how much success they've had in New York in recent years, but this is this year. The Twins will send Ricky Nolasco to the mound. Unless he's hiding an injury, one would think Nolasco has to start pitching better pretty soon. Not that anyone expects him to be a Cy Young candidate, but this is by far the worst season he's ever had to date. The Yankees counter with Vidal
Sassoon Nuno, who hasn't been a whole lot better. On paper, it looks like a high-scoring game, so this being baseball, it'll probably be 1-0. That's okay, because this time the Twins are going to get the one! Tonight we start a one hundred eleven-game winning streak! We'll just have to settle for 135-27!