August 7, 2016

Miguel Sano’s up-and-down play gives Twins more to ponder

Will the real Miguel Sano please stand up?

Sano, a surefire star in the making (right?) for the Twins, has recently struggled at the plate and in the field, raising the prospect of a return to Triple-A Rochester. No doubt Sano has heard the talk about his possible return to the minors, so in response the Twins landed in Tampa, Florida, and Sano answered his critics by having a three-hit night on Friday, including his 16th home run. Sano’s efforts helped the Twins knock off the Rays in the Game 1 opener, 6-2.

And then Saturday came along and Sano struck out three times in four at bats in what would become a 7-3 loss. To be fair, the Twins faced a good pitcher in Chris Archer, who, despite 15 losses, is among the league leaders in strikeouts.

So, does Sano deserve to be sent down?

I’m not sure a change of scenery does him any good at this point. We know he can hit major league pitching, and there’s no reason for him to try to improve his game at third base because, let’s face it, he can’t play the infield or the outfield. He’s a born designated hitter and the last two games at DH was the best place for him.

Yet the Twins will have to find room on the roster for regular third baseman, Trevor Plouffe, who is set to return from the disabled list. Although I don’t believe Sano needs to be sent down, off-the-field matters may have already punched his ticket to Rochester after hitting coach Tom Brunansky apparently questioned Sano’s work ethic. Stay tuned.

Extra innings…

-Starter Jose Berrios lost his second start on Saturday after being recently recalled from the minors. Berrios wasn’t sharp, throwing nearly 100 pitches in five innings. He gave up six hits, including two home runs, and four runs, all earned. The bullpen, though, wasn’t much better, surrendering three runs.

-Starter Ervin Santana, however, was very sharp on Friday. He struck out eight over six plus innings to improve to 5-9 on the season and lowered his ERA to a very respectable 3.62.

-Old friend Kevin Jepsen, who was released by the Twins earlier in the season, made a scoreless relief appearance for the Rays on Saturday.

-Anyone miss Eduardo Nunez? Old friend Nunez, who was recently traded to the San Francisco Giants for a top pitching prospect, had four hits, including three extra-base hits, off 15-game winner Stephen Strasburg on Saturday. Sounds like an All-Star to me.

Kyle Gibson gets the ball on Sunday.

 

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.