This was a really tough break. We’ve seen this before. Unfortunately, we’ve already seen most of the extensive variety of losses that’s possible. But these are tough. These are the ones where your struggling ace has himself a start that, while not absolutely stellar, is really great based on some of the abominations we’ve seen from him and yet he doesn’t get the win because the starter against whom he’s squaring off has an even better night.
Lester really deserved a win in this one but had to take the loss. He worked through eight full innings and pitched around seven hits to give up only three runs. He walked none and struck out seven, two swinging and five looking. And he threw 105 pitches. So the only downside to his start, aside from the runs of course, was the hit total. That’s almost one hit per inning on average. But Lester even handled that well; 105 pitches is right about where he should be for eight innings. He was efficient, so it’s not like he got behind the hitters and threw a lot because of those extra batters. And his seven strikeouts show that he had no problem sealing the deal. He threw some truly fantastic and Lester-esque cut fastball with all the classic bark and bite you’re used to seeing from him. And his off-speed pitches were masterful as well.
The Twins went down in order in the first two innings. Then Lester gave up a single to open the third; after securing the first two outs of the inning, he gave up an RBI double followed by an RBI single. Lester had another one-two-three inning in the fourth, and he pitched around a double with three straight groundouts to end the fifth. A pair of doubles in the sixth resulted in Lester’s third and final run. And may I say that Lester is really unlucky, in case you hadn’t noticed from the fact that we lost through no fault of his own, because both of those doubles that brought runs in for the Twins were barely fair. The seventh and eighth were both one-two-three. So in all but one of the innings during which Lester gave up no runs, he went one-two-three.
Unfortunately Aceves was much less solid. He gave up a two-run home run in the ninth. I would love to be able to say that that alone cost us the game, but as we know and as I said, it’s not like the offense was battling at all. Maybe it was, but if it was, it was battling just to get a hit. If you take that literally, then we succeeded. We didn’t get a hit. We got a grand total of two. That’s right. We were two hits away from being no-hit.
We worked back-to-back walks in the first, but to no avail. We went down in order in the second and third. Gonzalez got our first hit of the night, a double in the fourth, to go along with a walk, but to no avail. We went down in order again in the fifth. Gonzalez got our second and last hit, a single, in the sixth, again to go along with a walk, but again to no avail. That, obviously, makes Gonzalez the only member of the lineup who hit anything as well as the only member of the lineup with a multi-hit performance. We went down in order in the seventh, eighth, and ninth.
The final score, obviously, was five-zip. Lester’s winless streak of six starts is a new career high for a single season. And we’ve found our way right back to .500. We just can’t catch a break, can we.