Credit that loss to Gardenhire

Credit that loss to Gardenhire

class=img_thumbleft>Carlos Silva pitched his best game of the season tonight. Nearly every pitch was down in the strike zone. He pounded hitters inside early in the count and then proceeded to paint the black on the outside of the plate. When the rare runner reached first base they were immediately erased with a double play ball. The Devil Rays never even sniffed a run. Or a homerun, for that matter--the sinkerball pitcher's notorious Achilles heal this season.

Silva threw a ridiculously efficient 59 pitches through six innings, summoning memories of his phenomenal 74-pitch complete game against the Brewers last year. He seemed to get stronger and more confident as the game wore on, strutting around the mound like a matador. In short, this was the pitcher the Twins had been waiting to see all season--and sorely need for the final month of the playoff chase.

So how does Gardy reward Silva? By yanking him after six innings. What follows? Three pitchers and four runs later the Twins are staring at a 4-2 loss to the lowly Devil Rays on a night when they could have moved to within a tantalizing three games of the Detroit Tigers.

It's not like the bullpen needed the work. Granted the Twins got back-to-back phenomenal performances from Boof Bonser and Johan Santana in the prior two starts, giving the relievers some rest. But the team's heading into a crucial four-game series against the best team in the American League, with three largely untested pitchers (Scott Baker, Matt Garza, and Bonser) slated to start. Given the Twins anemic hitting of late, if they're going to have success against the Tigers the bullpen will be indispensable.

Worst of all Gardy's quick hook potentially undermines the confidence that Silva displayed tonight. Let's hope it's not so.

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