|Don't give Phil Cuzzi too big a piece of your mind,|
Gardy, you may need it later.
Box score here
I love watching Scott Diamond pitch, and this was in many ways a typical Diamond start. He threw strikes (64 percent); he got ground balls (the MLB box score says nine GB outs, two fly ball outs); he didn't walk anybody. It feels like nitpicking to note the low strikeout tally (two), but the Ks matter.
Diamond entered the game with the lowest walk rate among qualifiers in the majors, 1.3 walks per nine innings. He lowered that slightly Saturday.
But Jason Vargas has a very similar start for Seattle. Both lefties threw 6.2 innings, both allowed nine baserunners, both had just two strikeouts. MLB says Vargas got 10 GB outs, four flyouts.
But Vargas kept the ball in the park; Diamond gave up a home run.
Ultimately, the game came down to Tyler Robertson, who continues to struggle as the Minnesota LOOGY. He came in for the ninth and gave up a single to leadoff man Michael Saunders (lefty); couldn't get the out on Brendan Ryan's bunt; and walked Dustin Ackley (lefty).
Two left-handed hitters and a right-hander who was trying to give away an out, and he got none of them.
As the Twins look toward 2013, that job is one that needs an upgrade from its current holder, whether by returning Brian Duesning to the role, finding a different performer or finding a way to make Robertson more effective.