That was interesting.
Well, let's start with Rick Nolasco. He pitched a Really Good Game. In fact, you could even say this was a Really Really Good Game. Eight shutout innings, five hits, one walk, no extra-base hits. That's two Really Good Games in a row and three of his last five. Do we dare hope that next year, Nolasco will be the pitcher the Twins thought they were getting when they signed him? It would sure be a boost to the rotation if he was.
Kennys Vargas also had a Really Good Game. 3-for-4 with a home run, a triple (!) and an infield single (!). Way to use those wheels, Kennys! There's a part of me that keeps waiting for him to collapse, mostly due to his low walk rate and the fact that he jumped from AA, but he sure isn't showing any signs of doing it. In fact, he's becoming one of those guys you wait around to watch bat, just because you never know when he might do something awesome. It's nice to have a number four hitter who actually looks like a number four hitter.
So the Twins led 2-0 going to the ninth and had their all-star closer ready to go. And you know what happened next. I was in bed by then, but from the game log and the recap, it sounds like Perkins didn't have the best luck. Even the three-run homer was only hit 345 feet. On the other hand, in his last eight appearances, Perkins has given up ten runs on twelve hits two walks. He has only two strikeouts and five of the hits have been home runs.
If the Twins were actually in contention, Perkins would be threatening to go on the Twins Mount Rushmore of Despised Closers, along with Ron Davis, Matt Capps, and LaTroy Hawkins (well, Hawkins probably isn't despised, but only because the expectations for him were never that high in the first place and because he achieved some measure of redemption as a set-up man). I think some of it probably is bad luck, but the lack of strikeouts is a concern. Perkins generally strikes out quite a few batters, and of course you're a lot less likely to have bad luck if the other team doesn't hit the ball. One wonders if he could be hiding an injury (sure hope not) or if he could simply be tired at the end of a long season. I don't know the cause, but I know that in those last eight games, Perkins has two saves, three blown saves, and three losses.
And one win. Because Our Heroes weren't about to let all their hard work be for nothing. Trevor the Plouffe drew a one-out walk. Kurt "RBI" Suzuki doubled in the tying run, and Aaron Hicks drove in the winning run with an infield single. And the Twins were able to walk away with their 64th victory of the season.
So, we play the Detroits one more time. Kyle Gibson goes for the Twins, and let's hope its the good Kyle Gibson, because we haven't seen a lot of him lately. He'll probably need to be the good Kyle Gibson, because Detroit will be using David Price, who's almost always good. In his last four outings, though, he's given up eight runs, one run, five runs, and one run. Perhaps this is a trend, and he's due for another high number tonight.
We have eleven games left, and we have to win nine of them to avoid ninety losses. No problem, because we're going to win all eleven! We're still on track for 75-87!