In first start since no-hitting Twins, Jered Weaver to face … the Twins

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Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire didn’t enjoy Jered Weaver’s no-hitter against his Twins last Wednesday.

Gardenhire paced behind his desk while addressing reporters after the game, the picture painted by Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune showing the manager in a slow burn, using great effort to avoid blowing up. I’m guessing he looked something like this.

That’s understandable. It’s been a long season already for the Twins (and it’s only May 7), who enter the week with the worst record in baseball (7-20). Being no-hit by a great pitcher is one thing, but Gardenhire was unhappy with his team’s pitching, lack of aggression and lack of attention to detail.

He said the Twins’ performance was “not acceptable,” and that his team looked “like Little Leaguers out there, and that’s a bunch of bull.”

Gardenhire missed the Twins’ series in Seattle over the weekend. Not because he needed a break – though that’s entirely possible – but because he returned to Minneapolis for his daughter’s graduation from Southwest Minnesota State.

He returns to manage his club on Monday night, and hopefully his weekend was relaxing because waiting for the Twins will be the Los Angeles Angels with – you guessed it – Jered Weaver on the mound.

Monday night will be Weaver’s first start since his no-hitter, and if you don’t know anything about Johnny Vander Meer, you might want to click here and study up.

The odds of Weaver tossing consecutive no-hitters are essentially zero. There’s no way he’ll be as focused, as sharp and as lucky as he was last week. And as bad as the Twins offense is – they managed just one hit on Saturday against Felix Hernandez and a lone Mariners reliever —  they’re still a bunch of big leaguers like Joe Mauer and Denard Span and Josh Willingham.

Still, as favorable a scheduling occurrence this is for Weaver, it is equally unlucky for Ron Gardenhire’s Twins.

Serenity now, Skip. Serenity now.

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Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.