The Minnesota Twins were poised for a 2 and 0 start out of the gate after the Major League Baseball All-Star Break where the everyone except Twins All-Star Michael Cuddyer enjoyed a few days off. The Twins first game back was a sound pounding of the Royals 8 to 4 with Francisco Liriano picking up the W and also making the defensive play of the game with a nice snag of a liner back to the mound. Game 2 was a different story. The skies finally cleared in Minnesota on Friday and the game was able to get going after a slight rain delay. Nick Blackburn kept the Twins in it by pitching a shutout on a night where the only Twins run was scored on a wild pitch. Blackburn gave way to Joe Nathan who continued his return to pre-surgery form. Finally it was up to Matt Capps to pick up the save and seal the win. Easier said than done. After allowing Melky Cabrera to reach base Capps was soon serving up a meatball to Royals rookie first baseman Eric Hosmer who deposited it into the center field stands. That put the Royals up 2 – 1 which would end up being the final score after some bad base running by the Twins in the bottom of the ninth. Blackburn was denied his 8th win and Capps has another (7 in 22 chances) blown save.
But two games does not make a second half. But maybe 3 games does. A win by Carl Pavano today would set the tone for the second half where winning 2 out of every 3 might not even be enough due to the hole the Twins dug themselves into the first half where, besides June, they were atrocious. With the dugout seemingly the only thing propping Manager Ron Gardenhire up the Twins played zombie ball the first half of the season until finally starting to put things together in June and position themselves to make a run for the top of the division. Let’s hope the Twins hitters realize the importance of today’s game and give Mr. Pavano some run support. It’s easy to get down on Capps for 2 bad pitches last night but a couple of runs cushion and only Capps ERA takes a beating, not the entire team. On the offensive end the time is now for Joe Mauer to start hitting his way towards the .300’s where a guy with a swing like his should be. Delmon Young is another guy who seems to be on the verge of breaking out of this seasons mediocrity at the plate. The pitching is not perfect, but its keeping the Twins in the game. Now it time for the bats to get to work.
The Royals play the Twins today at Target Field in Minneapolis at 7:10 Eastern.