Who do we blame? Who has done this to the Twins? Who did the Twins piss off to bring this horrible curse on themselves? Yes, the Twins have played horribly for the most part throughout this season, but they have also had hideously bad luck with injuries and illness to players they just can't afford to lose. Especially not all at once. Just when it seems like the Twins are finally getting healthy, their best reliever in a very shallow bullpen goes down. And this just after Jose Mijares has gone on the DL. Now the Twins are down to Matt Capps, Joe Nathan and ?????
And then there has been too much pure bad luck on the field. Too many line drives for outs for the batters (or double plays) and too many bloopers and bad bounces at just the wrong time.
Saturday's game featured the second straight game in which the Diamondbacks' late big inning featured not one but two bunts, and the Diamondbacks screwed up both of them. One was a terrible bunt that was popped up over the head of hard-charging Danny Valencia for a single. I mean, the D'backs were trying to give away an out with a runner already in scoring position, and instead they get a gift single, and there was nothing the Twins could do about it. What was really bad luck was the Twins had Valencia charging. Often with a runner at second, the third baseman lays back in hopes the pitcher or catcher can field the bunt and throw the runner out at third. If the Twins had chosen to use this defense, Valencia would have had an easy catch for the first out. Since the runner didn't advance on the infield single, the next batter, a rare pinch bunter, bunted and left it too close to home, so catcher Drew Butera jumped on it and threw to third base for the forceout.
The previous night, the Diamondbacks had runners at first and second and no outs and the batter attempted to bunt, but the Twins got the forceout at third. With the pitcher up, he did get a sacrifice down, and, after an unfortunate decision to intentionally walk Willie Bloomquist, Perkins allowed a three-run double to make a one-run deficit a four-run deficit. Of course, the Twins would eventually lose by just one run. Plus, you don't want to forget Jason Kubel's triple, which was hit to the only part of the ballpark that it wouldn't have been a home run.
As for Saturday's game, the Twins were perfectly set up with a three-run lead and Glen Perkins in to face three left-handers with only one runner on base. He comes up lame after a hit and suddenly Capps has to come in with no outs and the tying run on base. Other than the home run, I really don't think he pitched all that poorly. The double that made it a one-run game not only was butchered by Delmon Young (who has actually been pretty good defensively this year), but also was on a pitch that looked to be six inches outside. Then there were the two bunts and then a soft single to left and then the home run.
Capps may have blown up in the ninth if Perkins had gotten out of the eighth without injury, but I have to believe that having his routine suddenly changed. I'm sure he won't use that as an excuse, but I'm sure it didn't help any. I always get a bad feeling when a pitcher comes in after an injury and is given as many pitches as he needs that the pitcher doesn't use as many as he should to get ready since all eyes are on him and he probably realizes he's the one holding up the game.
Another frustrating issue, in this series the Twins have hit five home runs; all solo shots. And it's not like they haven't had runners on base.
Looking at it another way, the Diamondbacks had five errors, struck out nine times and allowed two home runs and won.
Can someone find me a live chicken to send to Gardy?
It just better be Chuck James getting the call up this time, because Dumatrait has done nothing to make me feel like he can be trusted to be a LOOGY in the eighth inning. I'm also expecting Brian Duensing to be sent to the bullpen and either Slowey moved into the rotation or sent to AAA in favor of another starting pitcher, although Kyle Gibson hasn't been very good of late. I guess Manship could be recalled and he or Smartyak put into the rotation.