It's after midnight on Sunday and I just got home after spending the weekend in Chicago. I'm dead tired, so I'll have to be brief, but I thought I'd share some thoughts about this past weekend's series with the Cubs.
I expressed some concern a earlier this month that the Twins' perfect record in games I've attended this season was going to come crashing down as I traveled to see them play on the road a few times. Fortunately, the team seems to have gotten its act together on the road just in time for the first of my road trips. After dropping two of three in Seattle to open the trip, they split with the Athletics in a four-game set earlier this week (narrowly missing a series victory) and then took two of three from the Cubs at Wrigley over the weekend.
I had the pleasure of attending Saturday's game, a 2-0 victory highlighted by seven shutout innings from Anthony Swarzak (who was rewarded by being demoted to the minors right after the game's conclusion). On Friday afternoon, the Twins had notched a sound 7-4 victory and yesterday they lost a tightly contested battle in the ninth inning when the bullpen experienced a classic Crain Wreck.
Despite losing the finale at Wrigley, the Twins went 5-5 on this latest road trip, which qualifies as a reasonably successful one considering the abysmal 6-16 road record they'd entered the series with. The Twins' lineup is currently riddled with injuries with Michael Cuddyer, Denard Span and Joe Crede all battling ailments. That's troubling, yet there are a bunch of reasons for optimism. The members of the rotationall seem to be settling in and the bullpen pitching is better for the most part. Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer are continuing to cream the ball. Nick Punto and Carlos Gomez have started showing some signs of life at the plate. Brendan Harris is thriving in regular shortstop duty. If Cuddyer, Span and Crede can get back on the field, you've got to feel pretty good about this team's chances to make a mid-summer run.
Wrigley Field was as amazing as I remembered it and the Cubs fans were generally friendly and highly entertaining (particularly when making any reference to Milton Bradley). The Twins return home tomorrow for a six-game homestand and then take their show back on the road next weekend, first traveling to Milwaukee and then heading to St. Louis and Kansas City. I plan on attending games in both of the latter two cities, so hopefully the Twins can continue to improve their play on the road and keep their perfect winning percentage in games attended by me intact.