Last night, the Twins' 6-1 lead was looking pretty good until Glen Perkins gave up a grand slam to Raul Ibanez and Brian Bass was stupidly allowed to come into another high leverage situation in which he, not surprisingly, quickly gave up the lead. Things deteriorated quickly, and a humiliating 10-run seventh inning ultimately led to an 11-6 Twins loss. With that, the most general and best conclusion I can make about the game is that the Twins, simply put, should be doing their jobs.
The Mariners are, at this point, more than just a bad team. They are a depressing team that has no sense of direction and that may become the first team ever to lose 100 games with a payroll north of $100 million. Of course, the Mariners aren't alone in paying for futility, as teams like the Houston Astros have paid plenty for losing and embarrassing teams.
As a team, the Mariners' hitting is pretty embarrassing, with a team .695 OPS and .259 average. One might think that with hitters like Ichiro Suzuki and Adrian Beltre this would be untrue, but those players are not having overwhelming years at all, with Suzuki's OPS at .743 and Beltre's at .756. The team's best hitter, in fact, has been Ibanez, with a .281/.347/.464 line, and he was almost traded at the deadline. The pitching, outside of Felix Hernandez and young flamethrower Brandon Morrow, has also been quite mediocre, with "standouts" like Carlos Silva and last night's starter, Miguel Batista.
What is the point? This is certainly a team that fans should expect the Twins to knock around, especially if the offense has truly improved, as some numbers suggest, and the young pitching is as good as they appear to be. While it should be expected, it still would certainly be nice to see the Twins take care of business the way they could have last night.
Perkins was having a good start, until he ran into a lot of trouble in seventh inning, resulting in the slam given up to Ibanez. In total, Perkins tossed 6 1/3 innings, giving up an ugly 12 hits and five runs with only two strikeouts and a walk. Perkins always appeared to be walking a fine line and it appears that some of his luck may have run out.
As for the offense, hits were well-distributed, with Justin Morneau picking up a two-run double as well as picking up two walks on the night, Joe Mauer picking up two hits and a run, and even Nick Punto smacking his second home run of the year along with two walks. In fact, if one thing stands out, its the patience, as the Twins picked up eight walks on the night, with even the less-patient portion of the lineup getting in on the walk-fest, with Delmon Young, Mike Lamb, and Brian Buscher taking free passes against the unfortunate Mariners staff.
With that, I now wake up roundly disappointed. The Twins offense did their job against mediocre pitching, but the Twins pitching did not. I'm afraid that, the way things look right now, it will be hard to look back on this game without thinking that Ron Gardenhire once again made the mistake of trusting Bass with a lead. However, while Bass can be blamed for giving up the lead, the Twins porous defense and pitching did nothing to stop the bleeding. A few singles, a Denard Span throwing error, and a Brendon Harris throwing error, and suddenly the Mariners had a five-run lead. Humiliating, embarrassing, and disappointing are all words that can describe last night's lost, but its just as good to say that the Twins failed to do their jobs in not doing what they should and need to be able to do: beat terrible teams.