The Twins had their 2-5 hitters go 8-for-15. The offense managed to scrape together four runs on 10 hits and three walks against Cy Young shoe-in Cliff Lee. Justin Morneau drove in runs in the clutch. The Twins battled back from a two-run deficit to tie the game in the seventh. All of this, and they still couldn't find a way to win. For as soon as the Twins had tied the game, the Indians rallied right back with two runs in the bottom half of the inning to bury them.
There were a multitude of ugly aspects to last night's game. The offense went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13 runners. Scott Baker continued a trend of starting pitchers coming up short when needed most. Matt Guerrier once again looked horrible and utterly overmatched by every hitter he faced. (Seriously, when is Ron Gardenhire going to get the picture that Guerrier CANNOT be counted on to get people out in tight situations?) Joe Mauer threw a ball clear into right field when trying to throw out a runner at second, and Denard Span compounded the error by failing to scoop the ball as it slowly rolled toward him.
As much as I'd love to go off on an angry rant about this team choking away the season by inventing new ways to lose on a nightly basis, I find myself speechless. Really, I'm more disheartened than angry as I watch these games slip away night after night.
Now, let's not get carried away here. Even after losing last night, the Twins remain 2.5 games behind the White Sox, who lost to the Yankees. The Twins now head to Tampa Bay for four games against the Rays, while the Sox finish up one more game against the Yankees and then head to Kansas City for three games against the Royals. I'm going to go ahead and say that in order to have a shot at the postseason, the Twins must not lose any ground in the race before their series against the White Sox before the two teams face off in the Metrodome starting next Tuesday. And in order for that to happen, I think they need to win at least three of four in Tampa Bay. The Rays are a great team and they've been damn near unbeatable at home, so taking it to them at Tropicana Field is a tall task to say the least. But the Twins could prove a lot by finding it within themselves to take this series.
The Twins aren't out of it yet. The playoffs are still very realistically within reach. But if this team intends on playing in October, now is the time to prove they want it. It's time for these kids to grow up.