“We know how tough this guy is. You have to be able to make him work”

-Ron Gardenhire on Zach Greinke, as quoted by Joe Christensen in the Strib.

Game 11: Twins 10 (8-3), Royals 3 (4-6)

When your team faces Zach Greinke, you expect that it will need nothing less than a series of perfect plate appearances to scratch together a few runs. The hope, then, is that your starter can shut down the Royals and you can win by a 2-1 or 3-2 margin. That is not how the Twins won the game on Friday night.

While the Twins were able to put together some nice plate appearances against last year’s Cy Young award winner, the feeling was that Greinke really caused most of his own problems in the Twins’ 10-3 win. He clearly wanted nothing to do with Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau with men on base, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad way to take it to the Twins if you are a middle-of-the-road starter and you can throw strikes to the rest of the lineup. It seemed clear that Greinke was fighting with himself. I’m a big Greinke fan, but if he has to have an off night – this was the right team to do it against.

-The biggest single play was Micheal Cuddyer’s 3rd inning double that scored the first two runs of the game. Bases-loaded situations have been a small annoyance this year (winning makes it easier to take), so it is a positive to see somebody come through in that situation.

Stars of the Game (based on FanGraphs WPA):
1. Scott Baker
2. Michael Cuddyer
3. Orlando Hudson

AL Central Standings (through Friday)
1. Min 8-3, 58-32, –
2. Det 6-4, 52-55, 1.5
3. Cle 4-6, 35-44, 3.5
4. KC 4-6, 48-60, 3.6
5. Chi 4-7, 47-45, 4.0

Coolstandings.com now project the Twins to win 98 games this year, with a 63% chance of winning the division.

Saturday afternoon pitching matchups: Nick Blackburn vs. Gil Meche.

Twins vs. Meche. I will point out that Joe Mauer and his .350/.483/.750 line against Meche will likely be on the bench.

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