One of the maddening things that comes with the territory of Twins fandom is the Sunday afternoon lineup. Often Sunday is the day the manager uses to rest at least one regular, many times more than one. Pitching matchups are rarely taken into account – guys are just off because it is Sunday.
This time around, for a variety of reasons, the Sunday “B” lineup started on Saturday. Be it injuries, family leave, or illness, Ron Gardenhire was given the task of filling in a lineup without the luxury of using Hudson, Morneau, Cuddyer, or Hardy. What was left was a collection of bench players that might have a tough time starting on a few triple-A clubs. Dick Bremer even slipped up a bit and commented on that, suggesting that the Twins weren’t expecting much from the top or bottom of the order, so the middle would have to do the heavy lifting (he later backed off that statement, but for a while there I thought maybe he was criticizing what was left of the team).
They didn’t get much from the top or bottom of the order, but they got enough for a one-run win – including a game-winning hit from Matt Tolbert.
Francisco Liriano seemed to have the bite back in his pitches, and left the game after seven innings having allowed just one run while striking out 10. It was a shame to see the A’s come back and tie the game against the bullpen, but the Twins won the game and that’s what counts.
WPA Stars of the Game
1. Adam Rosales
2. Francisco Liriano
3. Matt Tolbert
AL Central Standings (through Saturday)
1. Min 33-23, 263-215, –
2. Det 29-26, 245-238, 3.5
3. Chi 23-32, 227-272, 9.5
4. KC 23-34, 246-285, 10.5
5. Cle 21-33, 215-277, 11.0
A chance to sweep a good team on the road awaits the Twins, something that didn’t even seem possible after the egg that was laid in the Seattle series.