By Joe Christensen
With Dice-K slowing tonight’s game to a crawl, and Kevin Slowey fighting his own battles with runners on base, it was easy to get the perception that Slowey was being overly laborious, too.
That’s not how Slowey’s outing was viewed in the Twins’ clubhouse, however.
“Slowey likes a faster-paced game, we do know that,” Manager Ron Gardenhire said. “But sometimes you need to adjust. That’s part of growing up as a pitcher in this league. He did a good job of that. I thought he battled pretty good. I think most of that work comes from that [Boston] lineup over there. It just doesn’t seem like there’s a break up and down, so you have to be really good.”
It struck me after leaving the clubhouse that I have watched the Red Sox and Yankees play countless games like this on TV, where innings seem to take forever, with hitter after hitter grinding through at-bats.
Well, the Twins now have a lineup that can grind down pitchers, too. So there might be more games like this, and their pitchers will have to answer the call like Slowey did.
(*) Gardenhire said he was kicking himself in the dugout for letting LHP Jose Mijares face Kevin Youkilis in the eighth inning.
Mijares had retired the first four batters he faced, but Gardenhire had RHP Matt Guerrier ready to face the righthanded hitting Youkilis and Jason Bay. Mijares walked Youkilis, but Guerrier came in and got Bay to ground into an inning-ending double play.
“It was kind of stupid on my part, but when you see a guy like Mijares throwing the heck out of the ball like that, I thought let’s see what he does here,” Gardenhire said. “He walks him, and puts us in situation. Sometimes your mind does funny things when the guy’s throwing the heck out of the ball. I was kicking myself in the dugout, and then Matty got that double play. I told Matty, ‘Way to pick me up.’ ”
(*) Denard Span went 4-for-4 with four singles and a walk. He scored two runs, but that’s a lot of time standing up, if you count his time in the outfield.
“My legs are killing me right now,” Span said, laughing. “I’m going to be honest with you. I was on the base five times today, running all over the place. But it’s fun that way. I’d rather have it that way than being on the bench making right turns instead of left turns.”
(*) Check back in the morning for Thursday’s starting lineups, as the Twins try to win the four-game series.