Well, Joe Nathan wasn't exactly great this time around either, but he did get his 35th save and he didn't give up any runs. Just two hits, one a double. So he was close to blowing another game. Thats three close calls and one screw up in four appearences. Not good. But alas, the Twins did actually manage to avoid a sweep at home by the Rangers. A win is good and so is some offense. But lets remember two things: One, its the Ranger's pitching, so we should be scoring a lot and two, the season is essentially over after losing two on the count of poor pitching on the Twins part even when the offense came alive. They are too far behind now to ever make it, so it may be time to insert Liriano into the rotation and REALLY look to 2006. The best the Twins can get is having the bats come alive a little to get in position for a more steady 2006 and to get their new pitchers (Liriano, Baker, Bowyer) as much experience as possible.
But back to the game. This time around, Radke got rocked and was out after two innings of work. Like Lohse, he gave up five runs early and cause the Twins to fall behind early. Amazingly, it was the long relief of Joe Mays (3 and 2/3 scoreless innings) that likely helped the Twins stay in position to come back. Rangers starter Chris Young, who has pitched very well against the Twins, was out after an inning with arm fatigue, so the Twins had all day to mash on the Texas bullpen.
All the Twins runs came off of aging Texas journeyman Doug Brocail, with eight runs, two unearned on a Brocail error and a Michael Young error. Offensive stars for the night included Mike Redmond, recently recalled infielder Luis Rodriguez, Juan Castro, and Jacque Jones. Jones and Castro both went 2 for 4 on the night, setting up run scoring situations for Redmond and Rodriguez, who both drove in two. Redmond has been doing great lately and is now hitting .303, a very good sign. Maybe the Twins should have had Redmond play a little third, but a little late for that argument, eh?
Another three game series starts with Cleveland on Friday, with Cy Young contender Johan Santana starting. I'd like to think this is a last-ditch effort for the Twins, but I think they ruined any chance this week. What they need to do now is score runs for Johan, who is leading the AL in pratically all AL pitching categories except wins. Come on guys, don't ruin it for him. Save us something to watch this September.