Little League

That’s what much of Tuesday night’s series opener against the Tigers reminded me of. The Twins scored their two runs on what looked like a little league defense. Most of the pitchers couldn’t hit the strike zone, and the umpire probably wouldn’t have known the difference in either case.

Game 20: Twins 2 (14-6), Tigers 0 (11-10)

Of course, the real story of the night was Francisco Liriano’s pitching. He’s on quite a roll now and might be the ace pitcher the Twins seem to have lacked since the Santana trade. Beyond Liriano, however, there are a lot of items of interest from the 20th game of the season.

-I compare most of the game to little league, but the Twins’ outfield configuration after Span was tossed reminded me more of my E-league softball team a couple of years back. The difference: we got four outfielders and a smaller space to defend. I now believe that Denard Span might be the most indispensable member of this team.

-While I wish he would have held in his difference of opinion with the home plate umpire, I can relate to Span’s frustration. That was one of the most uneven strike zones I have seen in a major league game.

-As a result, we got to see Delmon Young walk twice in two plate appearances. If you watch closely after he drew ball four in his first appearance, you see a little bit of a hesitation before he drops the bat – as if he wasn’t quite sure what to do after ball four.

-I enjoyed the crispness of the game early on, the kind that comes when there are two good pitchers dueling (though Verlander didn’t quite seem on). That ended when Fu-Te Ni took over pitching duties for the Tigers. At least on this night, Ni was the left-handed equivalent of watching paint dry. Even his delivery seemed to be in slow motion. Perhaps he bored the umpire into calling a few extra strikes?

-The most recent news is that Morneau has a muscle injury in his back, unrelated to last year’s injury that shut him down early. It sounds as though he will be out for a couple of games, making the thin bench of the Twins even thinner. Still, a couple of days is better than a long DL stint.

-Did I hear Dick Bremer refer to “small sample size” early in the game?

WPA Stars of the Game
1. Francisco Liriano
2. Jim Thome
3. Justin Verlander

Standings (through Tuesday)
1. Min 14-6, 103-70, –
2. Det 11-10, 96-101, 3.0
3. Cle 9-11, 71-91, 5.0
4. Chi 8-12, 76-94, 6.0
5. KC 8-12, 90-110, 6.0

The rotation turns over for the fifth time Wednesday night – Scott Baker vs Max Scherzer.


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