How about that?
Season-ending winning streaks aside, I really did not see this one coming. Corey Kluber is one of the best pitchers in baseball and had been awesome against the Twins. Phil Hughes is, well, not one of the best pitchers in baseball and had been less than awesome against the Indians. My main hope was that Hughes would be able to fill up enough innings that the Twins would not have to empty their bullpen in a game they wouldn't win anyway.
Which shows what I know. But in fairness to me, this is why baseball is such an awesome sport. Things like this happen all the time in baseball. Teams win games that, on paper, they have no business winning. Aces give up big innings. Mediocre pitchers have great games. Balls that aren't hit hard at all go for two-run singles and turn games. You see things like this almost every day in baseball. It drives you crazy when it goes against you, and it's wonderful when it happens for you.
For the second straight game, the Twins won by scoring all of their runs in one inning. I don't know how common it is to win a game when you score all of your runs in one inning, but it has to be significantly less common to do it twice in a row. There used to be a thing going around that it was a good bet to bet that the winning team in a game would score more runs in one inning than the losing team would score in the entire game. I don't know if that was true--I'm skeptical of it--but it sure would've been a good bet in the last few Twins games.
I'm curious to know Molitor's reasoning in using Perkins to pitch the ninth. This isn't intended as a second-guess, even with the home run--that happens sometimes. I just like to know managers' reasons for the things they do. On the one hand, it was very important to nail down that win, whether it was a save situation or not. I can also see that Molitor wants to get Perkins established as a regular member of the bullpen again after his health issues. On the other hand, he used Perkins in back-to-back games when it seems like he wouldn't have had to. Given Perkins' health issues, that may make him unavailable for tonight. Again, I'm not really arguing for or against what Molitor did. I'm just curious as to what went into the decision.
It struck me last night that, after managing almost a full season, Paul Molitor still doesn't have a nickname. Yes, there's "Molly", but people don't really seem to call him that. Tom Kelly was "TK" and Ron Gardenhire was "Gardy", but Paul Molitor is, well, Paul Molitor. And in a way, that seems fitting. Molitor has a level-headedness and even a sort of dignity about him that doesn't particularly lend itself to cute nicknames. And really, that's been kind of a refreshing change.
So, with eleven games left, we're one game out of the last playoff spot. The Twins go for a sweep tonight. Kyle Gibson, who's been somewhat up and down but on balance has been pretty good, goes for the Twins. Rookie Cody Anderson, who the Twins hit pretty hard in August but who's been a very good pitcher most of the time, goes for the Clevelands. We're coming down to the wire, folks. We're still working on that season-ending fourteen-game winning streak! We're still on track for 89-73!