Michael Saunders led off the bottom of the ninth with a sharp single off of Minnesota Twins closer Glen Perkins. He moved to second on a wild pitch, and to third on a groundout. With the Seattle Mariners trailing by only a run and Perkins coming off his first blown save of the year, it seemed like Saunders was all but destined to make it home. Instead Corey Hart hit an infield fly and Justin Smoak dribbled one to the mound, and that was it. The save was almost blown, until it wasn’t. The M’s lost a close one, falling back below .500.
It’s been years since the Twins’ run as an American League powerhouse came to an abrupt end, and since then they’ve been steadily and consistently boring. The team is often mocked for their seeming obsession with low strikeout, high contact pitchers, and the offense is usually just Joe Mauer and one token overperformer (Brian Dozier this year). Kyle Gibson started this game for the Twins, and that’s just so neat, in that who cares. Yawn. A winter of rotation tinkering and the Twins starters are still somehow all the same generic zero K zero BB types. Booooo-ring.
Gibson was pretty Twins-y, walking two and striking out four over seven innings. The Mariners only managed to push a single run across against him, when a Robinson Cano double scored Saunders from first. The real fun came in the eighth against Caleb Thielbar, who you only know is real because that doesn’t even sound like the kind of name someone would bother making up. Smoak singled, Kyle Seager walked, and Dustin Ackley hit a ringing triple deep to center field. A sac fly from Mike Zunino scored Ackley, but man, that triple. Ack’s looking legitimately good lately. Still hard to find legitimate optimism about the guy, but at least he’s making me smile occasionally.
Chris Young had another zero strikeout start, walking a batter and somehow lasting seven innings. Chris Young would make an excellent Minnesota Twin. Young allowed ten hits, including five doubled and two home runs. He was tagged for all five of the Minnesota’s runs, and if last week Young earned his ERA, this time around he earned his FIP.Which, by the way, is 5.16. It’s not that strange to see a pitcher running a big ERA/FIP gap over a few dozen innings, but Young’s K/BB issues are just revolting. Not fun. Not fun at all.
4:10 start for this next game, which features Roenis Elias and Samuel Deduno. Elias is pretty good, and Deduno is a Twins pitcher. Safe to say who has the advantage here.