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Twins tame White Sox, can’t handle Angels

By Josh Newman
For three games last week, the Twins did exactly what they were supposed to do. The problem was, there were six games in the week.

It was the White Sox who provided the Twins with some relief and opportunity. The pitchers threw the ball over the plate and moved it around successfully. The offense was inconsistent at best, but at least they scored enough runs for the team to win. In fact, not only did they win, but they also swept their division rivals to gain some significant ground.

Could the Twins possibly have a new starter? On short notice, lefthander Brian Duensing was called to the rotation July 29 and pitched five solid innings. He allowed just two runs on three hits and left with the Twins and White Sox tied at 2 apiece.

And who could forget that record-setting performance by Chicago starter Mark Buehrle? He extended his record to 45 consecutive outs recorded July 28 until allowing a walk to Alex (name) Casilla. The free pass was then followed by a single to center field by Denard Span. Joe Mauer then tied the contest with an RBI double. So much for a second consecutive perfect game, said the Twins batters.

That notion was further enforced when Minnesota pushed four runs across the plate the very next inning.

Offensively, the light-hitting Twins hit just .195 for that series. They had a total of 17 hits, with only four of them going for extra bases. Fortunately, they were backed by solid pitching by anybody who took the mound. Duensing, Scott Baker, and Glen Perkins were all more than good enough to keep the Twins competitive. They had to be. The offense wasn’t doing anything.

I’m afraid I don’t exactly remember just how efficient our hitters were against the streaking Angels. Our pitchers were too busy getting rocked. In each and every game, they were tagged for double digit run totals and got swept. It was painful: 11-5, 11-6, and 13-4.

It was not the first time Minnesota got trounced by Anaheim either: July 23-26, Anaheim took three out of four from the Twins, including an 11-5 victory July 25. Minnesota bounced back with a 10-1 win in the finale, but the damage was done.

In fact, I would love so much for somebody to figure out how to achieve time travel so we could backtrack and do that series over again. But I’m not sure it would have mattered who the Twins sent to the mound. As a team, the Angels currently lead the American League in runs scored with 590 prior to game time Monday. They are also batting a league-best .290 as a team. No wonder they are one of the best teams in the league.
This week, the Twins take to the road for a pair of three-game series against Cleveland and Detroit. They desperately need to do well in these two series if they are to remain competitive in the Central Division. They currently sit three games back of first-place Detroit and lead Cleveland by eight games. Their best offensive players must rise to the occasion this week, and their pitching must be strong all around if they want to advance.

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