August 2, 2016

Kepler home runs back Berrios on busy, encouraging day for Twins

Rookie Max Kepler hit three home runs, top prospect Jose Berrios pitched six solid innings and the Twins banged out 19 hits en route to a 12-5 win over the AL Central-leading Cleveland Indians on Monday. And all of this capped a day of promising trades that saw the Twins deal pitchers Ricky Nolasco, Alex Meyer and Fernando Abad for minor league prospects and a proven starter in Hector Santiago.

But first the game. Berrios was quickly handed a 2-0 lead after Kepler’s first home run, but then Berrios handed it right back, giving up three runs in the bottom of the first. Unlike previous starts though, Berrios settled down to retire 15 straight, with five strikeouts and no walks. Monday’s win was his second of the season.

Helping his cause was an offensive explosion. In addition to Kepler’s three homers, Joe Mauer had four hits, including a double and home run, Eddie Rosario homered, Jorge Polanco hit two triples and Kurt Suzuki contributed two doubles.

Match this offense with a decent rotation and the Twins, I believe, will begin to rise in the standings. Interim GM Rob Antony, who likely is beginning to secure the inside track for the permanent job, made more moves on Monday to strengthen the pitching staff.

To recap:

-Nolasco and Meyer were dealt to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for starter Hector Santiago and minor league pitching prospect Alan Busenitz. Santiago comes to the Twins with a record of 10-4 and a 4.25 ERA, but he also has a career ERA of 3.68. Nolasco leaves the Twins with a record of 4-8 and a 5.13 ERA.

-Lefty setup man Fernando Abad was sent to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for minor league pitching prospect and flamethrower Pat Light. Light, according to MLB.com, “has a fastball that reaches triple digits as well as a splitter and slider. He posted a 2.32 ERA with 36 strikeouts and 17 walks in 31 innings at Triple-A Pawtucket.”

-Shortstop Eduardo Nunez was traded last week to the San Francisco Giants for top pitching prospect and lefty Adalberto Mejia.

Some reaction to the player trades:

Extra innings…

-No Twin has ever hit four home runs in a game, but Kepler joins Justin Morneau, Harmon Killebrew, Bob Allison and Tony Oliva as Twins who have hit three in one game.

-With Monday’s win, the Twins improved to 6-4 versus the Indians this season.

-Monday’s loss for Tribe pitcher and 11-game winner Danny Salazar was the shortest outing (two innings) of his career.

-Kepler finished the night with four hits, finally hitting a single in the top of the ninth.

-Despite the Twins’ struggles this season, the team is 13-6 against first-place clubs, according to data shared during Monday’s radio broadcast. Go figure.

(Please ignore the claim about the Twins being 13-6 against first-place clubs because the numbers just don’t add up. Maybe I didn’t I hear it correctly last night because a check of the first-place clubs in the American League (Orioles, Cleveland, Texas), show that the Twins are 12-11, which isn’t terrible, but it’s not 13-6. Now, the Twins are 14-6 against Cleveland, Texas and Seattle, but that includes a team (Mariners) that held first place for about a month).

Kyle Gibson gets the ball on Tuesday.

 

August 1, 2016

Twins finish July with 15 wins

The Twins finally have a winning record. After posting losing records in April, May and June, the Twins took two of three games from the Chicago White Sox to finish July with a win-loss record of 15-11. It was the Twins’ first winning month of baseball since last September when they finished the month with... Continue Reading »

July 29, 2016

Twins trade Nunez, finally beat Orioles and other things I missed while on vacation

After a short vacation, I came home to learn that All-Star Eduardo Nunez is gone, the Twins finally beat the Baltimore Orioles and the team was swept by the Atlanta Braves. Rob Antony on trading Nunez: “It was difficult but our perspective from the start of this process was to try to acquire starting pitching.”... Continue Reading »

July 24, 2016

Light blogging this week…

Hope to be back at it on Thursday. Thanks for reading. Rolf Continue Reading »

July 24, 2016

Who needs quality pitching? Bats come alive as Twins down Red Sox

After Friday’s display of standout pitching, the quality pitching was nowhere to be found on Saturday after the Twins and Red Sox combined to score 20 runs on 34 hits — 19 for the Twins and 15 for the Red Sox. And that was the difference as the Twins edged the No. 1 offense in... Continue Reading »

July 23, 2016

Twins beat Red Sox — with pitching

To quote Max Kepler, the Twins “redemptified” themselves in a huge way on Friday after Thursday’s blowout loss to the Boston Red Sox. In that game, the No. 1 offense and No. 15 pitching staff in the American League played their roles to perfection as the Sox banged out 17 hits and scored 13 runs... Continue Reading »

July 20, 2016

Twins ‘improve’ to 1-7 versus Tigers

Update: How about that? The more time I spend predicting the worst for the Twins, the better they seem to play. Now, I just have to figure out how to turn this entire season around… The Twins beat the Tigers 4-1 on Wednesday to take two of three from the Detroit-based club. Each team scored... Continue Reading »

July 19, 2016

Twins fire longtime GM Terry Ryan

Twins general manager Terry Ryan was fired Monday, ending a total of 19 years as GM of the club. Assistant GM Rob Antony was named interim and apparently told he was free to pursue the job as he sees fit. Ryan’s firing came as a shock — the Twins are known for their continuity and... Continue Reading »

July 18, 2016

Now the Twins’ season could get really ugly, part 2

Update: Well, I must need glasses because the Twins play four games, not three, at Boston later this week. So I now need to revise my prediction. I say the Twins take two of four games from the Red Sox to finish the week at 2-5. Original post: The Twins lost two of three games... Continue Reading »

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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.