Last night, there were no surprises. The young Twins players were in awe of the Yankees and didn't play their best. The offense stunk it up against yet another career-mediocre pitcher, this time Cory Lidle. Carlos Silva was once again awful, serving up batting practice to another team. And worst of all, we learned that Brad Radke may be done for the year and for good.
Lidle is a pitcher whose last full year in the AL, in 2003 with the Jays, added up to a 5.75 ERA. In other words, he's your league average pitcher without a great fastball. Just like Mark Redman, with a combination of a moving fastball that topped out at 88 mph and the usual assortment of breaking stuff, Lidle easily mowed through the Twins lineup.
When they got something going, like in the fourth inning with Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer singling, Torii Hunter came up with two outs, swung at the first pitch, and as usual, grounded out easily. Such a waste of important at-bats is not just frustrating, it's symbolic of the reasons the Twins may not make it to the playoffs.
All in all, the Twins only had four hits all night against the Yankees and two came off the bat of Morneau. Morneau drove in the only Twins run in the ninth by doubling in Michael Cuddyer, who had the other hit. Thus, the only positive offensively was Mauer finally getting a hit to break his 0 for 16 slide (he also walked) and Morneau bringing his average back up to .317.
Otherwise, the game was downright embarrassing. Fielding? Maybe worse than the offense. Pitching? Just as bad. The Twins made three errors in the field, by Nick Punto, Jason Tyner, and Morneau, two of which helped the Yankees score runs. And that doesn't even count the terrible misplays of Torii Hunter, who apparently had issues with the winds in Yankee Stadium last night. Come on, Torii, saying Johnny Damon also had troubles isn't much of an excuse.
As for Silva, what can be said that already hasn't been? He gave up nine hits in his four innings of work, walked one, struck out four, and gave up six runs, four earned. His ERA, sadly, barely increased to 6.56, a testament to how bad he's pitched this year. Needless to say, it was hard to feel confident going into the game with Silva on the mound. His pitching certainly seemed to help Alex Rodriguez, of the recent 1-for-24 streak, out of his late funk. A-Rod homered twice.
And lastly, Radke apparently has a shoulder fracture, which means his season could be over. Obviously, Radke and the Twins have tried to stay positive, with the team saying that his year isn't over and Radke trying to guarantee a start. I think Radke will probably try, but we may have seen the last of an effective Brad Radke. If that's true, it's a very sad day for Twins fans, as Radke is one of the best starters in the team's history.
All these factors point to a team that is worn down mentally and physically. It's as if the Twins play in April was so lackluster that they've hit their "dog days" now, instead of last month. With five straight terrible offensive performances against mediocre or worse pitching, it's hard not to say yes. At least Scott Baker has had a good outing against the Yankees this year. Maybe that will give this team a shot at one win in this series.