Teamwork! Joint article by Gorbachev and Jessica!
How painfull can the sweep by the Twins be? Answer: very. Bullpen issues and weak bats are already rearing their ugly head and these issues were the chief concern for the Angels coming out if the post season. Did they do enough? Probably not.
The game began well enough with a Yunel Escobar walk followed, two outs later, by a mammoth homerun off the bat of Albert Pujols. Hopefully that's a sign of good things to come for Albert, although at this point, anything from he or Andrelton Simmons that creates fewer than two outs is an improvement. The Angels got back to their standard, frustrating offensive performance after that, getting a hit here and there, but leaving LOBsters all over the place.
On the other side of the ledger, Nick Tropeano looked solid, if not overpowering. He had a bit of trouble in the fourth, giving up a run on back-to-back doubles, but otherwise, the Twins did very little against him before the Gascan Gang was called upon to shut things down in the bottom of the sixth. The bullpen was shaky as always, but a fantastic play by Rafael Ortega in the bottom of the 7th kept the Angels up 2-1. Ortega, like most of the Angels, has yet to do much with the bat, but he appears to be a plus defender in left field. With as much contact as the Angels' pitching staff allows, it helps to have solid defense in as many spots as possible.
The Angels came close to opening up a bigger lead in the top of the eighth when Mike Trout walked and Pujols hit a long drive to the alley in left-center. Unfortunately, that alley in Minnesota is 411 feet long, and it ended up a long fly out to center. The Angels really could have used those runs as the bullpen monster reared its ugly head in the eighth when Joe Smith had trouble for the second straight day. He gave up two singles through the infield, leading to a first and third situation. He induced a double play groundball from Oswaldo Arcia, but a run scored on the play, tying up the game.
For some reason, Scioscia sent Smith out again in the 9th and again he got into trouble, giving up a leadoff single, and, after a sacrifice bunt, hitting Eduardo Nunez. He got Brian Dozier to pop up, then intentionally walked Joe Mauer to bring up the youngster, Byron Buxton. Smith gave up hard contact, but Simmons gobbled up the sharp groundball and got the out.
This agonizing game carried on for several innings until Buxton stole second in the 12th and an RBI single off Huston street by Oswaldo Arcade put this game in the books for the Twins. Walk off. That is all. Sweep. Game over. Put us out of our misery.
Excuse me while I go cry in my beer now since my softball team also lost a double header today and I ponder exactly how long this Angel's season is going great to feel.