The Runner Sports

Twins End Rays Series On A Good Note

It took four days, but the Minnesota Twins finally won a close baseball game. After crushing the Kansas City Royals 17-0 on Saturday, the Twins decided they wanted to make things a bit more interesting.

On Sunday they played a back and forth game with Kansas City, complete with a questionable call that was immediately followed by a decisive triple. Ervin Santana pitched a great game, and the offense was fine, but it still went down as a heartbreaking loss.

Then they took their talents to St. Petersburg for a series with the Tampa Bay Rays. Game one was close until the sixth inning, when the bullpen decided September was definitely not August. Four Twins relievers gave up a combined six runs (Buddy Boshers got one out without giving up a run), and the offense only managed five hits. Still, it was a close game for about two hours.

Tuesday they realized their mistake and decided to make things dramatic at the end. Bartolo Colón pitched wonderfully through 6 2/3 innings, and the bullpen got the August vibes back and kept the team in it. Unfortunately, Jake Odorizzi gave up just one hit, a hard grounder off of second base, and the bullpen only gave up one more until the ninth. In the ninth Robbie Grossman hit a homer and things kept looking up until Eddie Rosario grounded into a double play to end it.

All told, Twins fans were starting to feel a little bit down heading into Wednesday’s game. Bad luck and an under performing offense had managed to get the team out of Wild Card position by the time Tuesday ended.

Wednesday started to feel like more of the same. Every time the Twins built a lead, Tampa Bay swiftly got the score even with a home run; until the seventh, when some small ball and some good luck got the Twins a lead that they would not lose. It tied them with the Angels for the second Wild Card and opened the door for them to claim a half game lead after the Angels lost to Oakland.

So what does this stretch of baseball mean for the rest of September?

Most importantly, it means that the offense is human. The offense was so good in August that it was hard to remember a time when they weren’t able to score runs with their eyes closed. But it also means this offense is still good. Even with the one-run output on Tuesday night, the Twins have still averaged 4.75 runs per game since the 17-run deluge. That’s pretty good. It will probably have to get better if the Twins want to stay in playoff position, but it is not going to bury them either.

Pitching is where things get a little bit troublesome. For Ervin Santana and José Berriós, things were great until their last innings. In both cases, their performances were good but lacked the rally-stopping ability that top starters need in the playoff stretch. The bullpen also let things get rough but rebounded on Tuesday and Wednesday. Overall, it was a bad stretch but it could easily be chalked up to a few bad games, and the possibility that Paul Molitor stuck with his starters longer than he should have.

So as the Twins move forward, as Wild Card holders, things will probably be okay. After losing two of three to Kansas City, revenge is on the horizon with the forthcoming four-game series. There is no better way than to get a down week out of the way than overcoming the team that made it bad in the first place.

Charlie Gillmer

Charlie Gillmer

Charlie Gillmer is a lifelong Twins fan who spends most nights dreaming of learning a knuckleball and pitching them to a World Series victory.
Charlie Gillmer

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