Scott Baker left last night's game after two innings with a sore elbow; he may join fellow starter Kevin Slowey -- already fighting an achy elbow -- on the disabled list. In a game prolonged by repeated blown umpiring calls and baffling fielding gaffes, the Twins ran through eight pitchers, including the scheduled starters for the first and third games of this weekend's series against the Rangers.
Brian Fuentes remained unavailable due to sudden back problems. Matt Guerrier, whose overuse I complained about yesterday, made his 63rd appearance of the season and looked terrible, serving up a mammoth home run along with two other hits while helping cough up a four-run lead. Jesse Crain appeared for the 21st time in the team's past 33 games and gave up his first home run since May 18. Brian Duensing, who threw 103 pitches in the series opener on Tuesday, had to chip in two innings. Acting manager Scott Ullger -- at the helm since Ron Gardenhire had long since been ejected for arguing one of Joe West's many embarrassing whiffed calls -- was forced to call on Friday night's scheduled starter, Nick Blackburn, to pitch the 13th. That leaves the Twins turning to Matt Fox, a 27-year-old career minor-leaguer having an unexceptional season in Triple-A, to come up and pitch against a first-place Rangers club on three days rest.
Jason Kubel, Jim Thome, Justin Morneau and Orlando Hudson remain sidelined. Joe Mauer got beat up behind the plate on Wednesday night and caught 13 innings last night. J.J. Hardy suddenly can't throw the ball accurately to first base and Alexi Casilla's bumbles in the field are mounting. And the Twins' lead over the White Sox has been whittled down to 3.5 games with Texas coming to town.
To be sure, the Twins are still favorites to come out on top of this AL Central division. But after last night's game, the White Sox have to be feeling a whole lot better about their chances. The Twins probably aren't feeling so hot.