My wife and I scooted up to Minneapolis Tuesday night for the game, in part so I could add Chris Sale to my mental checklist of great pitchers I've seen in person. Sale didn't have one of his better games -- he suffered through a four-run inning -- but he's still mighty impressive.
For some reason, the Twins have done well against Sale this year (his ERA against the Twins in five starts is well over 6 runs per nine innings). I'll take it, but I wouldn't count on that continuing.
Some other observations:
* For a good while I thought I'd be raving over Tyler Duffey's performance. When he got the first two hitters of the fifth inning, he had faced the minimum through 4.2 innings. But then he never got another out. Single, walk, walk, walk, single and gone.
I saw some chatter on social media that he was getting squeezed by home plate umpire C.B, Bucknor, and Bucknor doesn't have a great reputation. But from my perch -- front of the upper deck behind home plate -- Duffey in that bad stretch wasn't throwing strikes.
Still, in the main, Duffey was impressive. I can't criticize Paul Molitor for getting him out of there when he did, but I certainly liked what I saw from him for the first 14 hitters.
* Miguel Sano is some kind of special hitter. Watching him "run" worried me, though. And I'll bet it worries Molitor, too.
* Six of Sale's strikeouts came at the expense of Trevor Plouffe and Torii Hunter. Plouffe's at-bats didn't look that bad to me, but Hunter certainly appeared to be, in Reggie Jackson's phrase about hitting against Nolan Ryan, eating soup with a fork. And the White Sox fan next to me thought the two doubles the Sox got off Neal Cotts and Casey Fien in the sixth inning, one a blopper down the right field line and the other more to right center, were catchable balls.
Aaron Hicks is to come off the disabled list later this week, and once he's back, every at-bat and every inning afield Hunter gets at the expense of the Byron Buxton-Hicks-Eddie Rosario trio hurt the cause. But, of course, Hunter is still very much at the emotional center of the team. It's not going to be an easy line to draw.
* Buxton didn't look good at the plate against Sale either (two strikeouts), but his speed was very much a factor in the three-run eighth. That he got to second on the third baseman's error was impressive enough; that he scored standing up on a fly ball that I doubt anybody else on the team would try to score on, even more so.
* Eduardo Escobar: 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and one RBI, plus a couple of nice defensive plays at shortstop. Yeah, I'll take that.
* Kramarczuk's brats are still the bestest.