I feel like there has been a strong commonality between the two games the Twins have played in this series, and that is that they have not been able to put away the obviously weak Mariners. Specifically, there were two common themes: bad defense and starting pitchers living on the edge, only to be replaced by relief pitchers that have largely failed as of late.
While only one error was made, the Twins still made several mistakes in the field, including bad plays from Delmon Young and Brian Buscher. Just as some bad defense added to the issues in Monday night's loss, they certainly did not help last night either, but it isn't really news to Twins fans paying attention that the defense of this team is often porous.
As for the starting pitching, just like Glen Perkins on Monday (13 base-runners, 6 1/3 innings), Scott Baker put way too many Seattle hitters on base, allowing a total of 11 base-runners and paying for it, ultimately giving up four runs before leaving with a 4-3 deficit, only to watch Craig Breslow quickly give up a two-run single to Raul Ibanez (with both runs being charged to Baker). Later, when the Twins offense finally rallied for a 7-6 lead, beating around Seattle's bullpen, Matt Guerrier and Joe Nathan blew the lead to give Seattle the win, with Nathan giving up the game-winning, two-run double to Jose Lopez and Guerrier getting charged with the runs, bringing his ERA to a not-so-stellar 4.25.
With that, Baker's ERA has now risen to 3.86 and has gone up each of the last three starts after reaching a season low of 3.26, as he's given up 13 runs in his last 16 1/3 innings, with an uncharacteristic eight walks. The best you can say is that he's struck out 17 over that time as well, still displaying good stuff, but his recent run is troublesome.
While it's been easy to blame the recent atrocious work of much of the bullpen, especially on the road, it's worth noting, through these observations, that the Twins starting pitching has certainly struggled so far in the Seattle series and that may not bode well for a team that is going to spend a significant amount of this month on the road. The positive remains that the Twins offense hasn't totally stalled at the same time, as they scored six runs on Monday night and saw some positives last night as well, most particularly with Jason Kubel smashing his 15th and 16th home runs. Let's just hope Nick Blackburn breaks the pattern of poor starting pitching this afternoon.