Today, I had high hopes. Our ace, Johan Santana, was taking the mound. Surely, he would be the one to put a stop to all the problems our starters have had recently. For the first six innings, I was right. He gave up only the one run until the seventh, were the San Diego Padres jump all over him for four runs, as Santana gave up a bases-clearing double to seldom-used ultility player Damion Jackson. Worse, Santana didn't strike out any batters after the second, instead walking four. He was mediocre at best for a pitcher who has done so well. Its not the Johan has no room to falter, but that he should have dominated a lineup that for the most part had never seen his incredible change-up.
It was a very dissapointing end to an ugly homestand that saw the Twins fall to the Giants and the Padres after a near-sweep by the Dodgers, who now are on a six game losing streak. In all, in their last nine games, the Twins have loss six and now are seven and a half games behind the White Sox and only a game in front of the fast approaching Indians. Its almost useless to point out the problems the Twins had today, since they are the same as they have been all-week, except worse.
Against Darrell May, the floundering left-hander who was left go by the Royals, the Twins managed a pathetic three hits and one run off of Matthew LeCroy's home-run in the fifth. After that, the Padres bullpen (which is, unlike the Giants bullpen, actually very good) shut the Twins down, giving up only one hit. Other than LeCroy's homer, Stewart, Williams, and Ford all collected hits, but never put anything together. It was simply a weak effort all around. No patience amongst our hitters against a guy like May, who was 9-19 last year with Royals, who has been a batting practice pitcher in seemingly half of the other games he pitches. Its just like losing to Mike Maroth, a similar soft-throwing lefty. For some reason, the Twins have a major problem against such lefty finesse pitchers, like say Kenny Rogers or David Wells. And, like Radke's first inning woes, that has yet to been solved. I would think with all those problems, Ullger would have thought of something by now, but he seems to be a hitting coach content with his hitters being fooled by pitchers they should tee off on.
Needless to say, there is no excuse. The Twins looked terrible and they need to get it together. After an off today tommorow, they go on a road and start a three-game series against the Tigers before finishing up interleague play against the Brewers. They need to sweep the Tigers and get back in order against a mediocre team with a weaker overall pitching staff. More on this tommorow.