I had originally thought that this post would just focus on one thought for the game, but too many awful things happened. Yes, I know that it looks close with a 4-3 loss, but the Twins had this game. They just didn't seem to care at all.
From sloppy late-inning defensive play to managing mistakes to base-running errors to bad at-bats, the Twins did it all. Who are the criminals here? How about Rondell White to begin? Oh yes, he did go 2 for 4 with an RBI and got his average to .200. But with a .200/.216/.238 line, I can't really congratulate him. Especially not when he makes horrible base-running mistakes nearly every time he is on base or gets into bad counts so much that he has one 3-0 count all year and that was during an intentional walk. Of course, that doesn't excuse his absense of homers in two months either. Its about time to give him the boot probably. Anyone notice the better lineup Sunday with Mauer DHing? I'm okay with that sometimes or even Mike Redmond DHing. He'd at least do a better job. Heck, I'd even take Batista over White right now. (I realize that sounds absolutely nuts, but at least T-Bat is hitting .325/.386/.575 with runners in scoring position. That's significantly better than White's .220/.250/.280 line. By no means a solution, but at this point, any change is better. It's not as if Ryan is willing to let Batista go. He won't admit that mistake anytime soon.)
How about the defense? A sloppy play by Luis Castillo on what should have been a line-out and a pathetic attempt by Justin Morneau to catch a pretty good through from Juan Castro lead to the game-tying run in the eigth. Naturally, a Morneau defensive mishap (though the error was given to Crain) helped the Angels win later as well. Just terrible. For a team that puts so much emphasis on the "basics," the defense and the care of players has been putrid this year.
As for managing, although Crain was doing alright, putting him out there for a third inning of work in the eleventh was just plain stupid. Why wasn't Joe Nathan out there for one inning? Or Matt Guerrier? I understand they had worked the night before, but that's stupid. Especially when Crain has been on a slippery rope as of late.
Hitting-wise? Although Michael Cuddyer hit a home run in the fourth to help the Twins to a lead, his three strikeouts on the night basically offset that. The problem is that Cuddyer seems to basically guess at pitches. While he certainly has power and has shown that this year, when he is off, it's pretty bad. Last night, he struck out by essentially taking fastballs grooved down the middle of the plate. That's not discipline at all. That's as bad as Nick Punto is in terms of failing to protect the plate. You have to make a pitcher work and that pitch, with a guy like Cuddyer at the plate, needs to go over the fence nearly every time. No excuses there.
Otherwise, besides Justin Morneau's 2 for 4 night, it was a fairly tamed lineup. Tonight could be a major start, with Scott Baker set to take on the Angels. If he does well, he'll likely preserve his spot in the rotation. If not, we may (gulp) see Silva back out in the rotation soon.