I can't really state the despair I felt after last night's game any better than by simply showing the score. The Rangers walked all over the Twins last night and it felt that, even though you felt the Twins might have had a chance late in the game, the team simply gave up.
Part of the problem, obviously, is that after a few innings of what appeared to be a decent pitching matchup, Twins' starter Scott Baker simply fell apart. It could be said that Nick Punto's error and failure to complete an easy inning-ending double play in the fourth inning caused the blowup, but Baker didn't help and it would be ridiculous to just blame Punto.
The problem with Baker is that he appears to have very little confidence out on the mound. Instead of showing command of the strike zone with his other pitches, such as his two-seam fastball, curve, or even an occassional change-up, Baker could get none of those pitches near the zone and proceeded to loft straight four-seamers right onto the bats of the Ranger hitters. If you want to know why Gary Matthews destroyed a Baker fastball for a grand slam, look no further. It was the only pitch he could get up there and it wasn't moving.
Quickly after the ugly loss, Baker was demoted to Triple-A, along with Terry Tiffee, as Matt Guerrier will return from the DL and Boof Bonser has been recalled. Bonser isn't necessarily replacing Baker, but rather starting for an aching Francisco Liriano today. I am not really enthused about Bonser starting and I'm also confused as to why Matt Garza wasn't considered for the spot start. Bonser isn't going to do that great, we already know that, so why not see what Garza can do since the situation hasn't been remedied anyway?
Liriano doesn't appeared to have a serious injury, but it's difficult to really know. Regardless, we need all the pitching we can get. Sorry, Terry Ryan, but Bonser isn't getting the job done. Why waste time? Does this team and those running it really care about getting to the playoffs or not? Sometimes, with moves like this, it's tough to not question the determination of the organization. Garza can only do better than Bonser or Baker right now. The Twins need wins and they clearly can't expect 15 runs from this offense nightly. If Ryan was so confident in the organization's talent that he made no significant moves at the deadline, why hold Garza back now? That kind of logic makes no sense.
However, in the midst of this embarrassing loss and these confusing moves, there is some good news for Twins fans, or at least something to make you smile. Joe Mauer is the new cover boy for Sports Illustrated, with his "American Idol" face on the cover of the issue hitting news stands today. Congrats, Joe. Now get some more of those patented hits to give us a chance today.