May 12, 2016

Twins’ Phil Hughes is a mess, it’s probably in his kiss

Forgive the reference to the X song of the same name, but I feel like I’m running out of ways to describe the Twins and their awful play so far this year. Starting pitcher Phil Hughes didn’t help matters on Wednesday after he got shelled and the Twins lost 9-2 to the Baltimore Orioles.

It was the Twins’ seventh straight loss as they fell to 8-25 on the season.

The Twins have yet to beat the Orioles and the Chicago White Sox, but they swept the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Go figure.

Wednesday’s start resulted in Hughes’ sixth loss of the season. He gave up five earned runs, including three home runs, and his ERA ballooned to 6.44. It’s hard to single out Hughes and his poor pitching on a team that can’t do anything right, but he has been on a downward trend since he first signed with the team.

Hughes, who once won 18 games for the New York Yankees, joined the Twins in 2014 and made an immediate splash. He won 16 games that year and did it with pinpoint control, pitching 200-plus innings with 16 walks. But the following year he won only 11 games and here he is in 2016 with only one win.

What do the Twins do if he continues to lose? Sometimes a faltering pitcher is allowed to skip a start to see whether additional rest helps. If that doesn’t work, it usually means a trip to the bullpen. I guess there’s also a chance he could be sent to the minors to regain his pitching form. And he could be traded, of course, but I don’t see much value in return.

To state the obvious, the Twins are in trouble. They have a winning percentage of .242. For perspective, the 1935 Boston Braves had a winning percentage of .248 and finished the year with a win-loss record of 38-115.

Are we ready for that Twins fans?

Extra innings…

-Slugger Miguel Sano hit his fourth home run on Wednesday, his birthday. He turned 23.

-The Orioles hit back-to-back home runs on Wednesday for the third consecutive game. If they hit back-to-back jacks in their next game, they will tie a record first set in 1964 — by the Twins. The Twins accomplished the feat June 26-29, 1964.

Here’s who hit home runs over those four games, according to Baseball-Reference.com:

June 26: Tony Oliva, Harmon Killebrew, 4th inning.

June 27: Harmon Killebrew, Bob Allison, 7th inning.

June 28: Zoilo Versalles, Harmon Killebrew, Bob Allison, 7th inning.

June 29: Tony Oliva, Harmon Killebrew, 8th inning.

That was a great four days for Harmon, by the way.

-It’s time to return Kevin Jepsen to his set-up role and let Longview, Washington native Trevor May close games. May has got the stuff to do the job. In 19 innings, he has struck out 27 with a 1.89 ERA. Jepsen has four losses with an ERA of 5.40.

-I mentioned in my last post about possible changes that might be coming to the Twins in light of their poor play. One person I failed to mention was General Manager Terry Ryan. Ryan has been with the Twins a long time and helped to build a consistent winner between 2002 and 2010. Outside of last year, though, the recent trend has been consecutive losing seasons and we might be in for a doozy this year. I imagine his seat is getting warm.

 

 

 

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone and I love the Twins.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.