Hee Seop Choi, who hit a game-winning homer off of old man Mulholland on Friday, crushes the Twins spirits again tonight as he hit not one, but three home-runs off of Twins starter Brad Radke. Radke, who is now notorious for his first-inning problems, also showed off his pension for giving up gopherballs. Along with Choi's three solo home-runs, J.D. Drew also hit a homer off of Radke. The only really impressive stat for Radke was his seven strikeouts, but it was dissapointing to also see him walk a Dodgers batter. The positive is, of course, that Radke didn't give up any homers with men on, but he gave up four, so that hurts the Twins no matter what. Of course, the game wasn't lost simply on the count of Radke's mediocre start.
The Twins offense never really took off. There were plenty of positives along the way, as Joe Mauer 2 for 3 with a SB after being moved to the third spot, as Gardenhire switched up the batting order with Lew Ford replacing Shannon Stewart as the lead-off hitter. Torii Hunter and Jacque Jones continued to hit well in June, as Jones went 2 for 4 with an RBI and two doubles, bringing his hitting-streak to 12 games, and Hunter went 1 for 3 with two runs scored. But the Twins should have managed more hits and runs against D.J. Houlton, who came into the game with an ERA over six and a opponent batting average approaching .400. The meager offense proved that the Twins cannot always depend on pitching to win. They have to score runs as well, especially against a pitcher like Houlton.
With the White Sox winning again, the Twins lost ground again. I realize its June, but things need to change in more than a few ways if the Twins are serious about making a run for the playoffs. Scott Ulger either needs to get fired or start acting like a productive hitting coach. We need a more mature version of Justin Morneau to balance the lineup; we need a consistent Torii Hunter; we need a Michael Cuddyer who shows the power he's always been capable of. And Brad Radke really needs to work on the first inning and his consistent ability to give up the gopherball.
With an off-day tommorow, I'll discuss this issue further before the Twins begin an interesting series at home against the Bond-less San Fransisco Giants.