The Tigers came into Minneapolis this weekend and walked all over the Twins, winning 6-4 yesterday to complete a sweep that was very important from the Tigers' standpoint. The sweep has little effect on the Twins, except for that it significantly decreases their likelihood of being able to finish the season above .500.
Things have been ugly lately for the Twins. Since heading into Cleveland with a 5.5 game deficit in the standings and a chance to move within a few games of the division lead back on August 27, the Twins have gone 5-14 and watched that deficit expand to 15 games.
That the Twins are losing steadily and falling farther out of the race is not really all that upsetting, because most of us have known for some time now that this team wasn't going anywhere this year. What is maddening is that at-bats continue to be given to the wrong players. I wrote yesterday about how frustrated I have become with Ron Gardenhire's continued habit of holding Brian Buscher out of the lineup in favor of Nick Punto and Luis Rodriguez. Thankfully, Buscher was in the starting lineup yesterday, and -- not surprisingly -- he had himself a nice game, going 0-for-1 but drawing two walks and collecting a pair of RBI.
Yet, even on a day where Buscher finally managed to find his way into Gardy's starting lineup (for just the fifth time this month), Rodriguez was still in the lineup over Alexi Casilla. This marked the eighth time in 14 September games that Casilla has been held out of Gardenhire's starting lineup, which just doesn't make much sense. I realize that Casilla has been bad; there's no denying it, he has been a major disappointment this season. But by all accounts this is a kid that the Twins are going to be counting on to man second base next year, and with that being the case, there is no reason not to give him lots of time to work on things here in the final month of this lost season.
As I mentioned yesterday, I have sponsored Buscher's page at Baseball-Reference.com, and I'd happily sponsor Casilla's as well if someone else hadn't already done so. These young players need support from the fans, because they just aren't getting it from the manager.