August 27, 2016

Twins pounded by Blue Jays to extend losing streak to 8 games

On three occasions, I’ve written about moments in the season when it appeared the Twins might fall trap to an extended losing streak. And in two of those cases, I’m happy to say my dire predictions did not come true.

But not this time. After the Twins were swept at the hands of the Kansas City Royals, I was worried about upcoming games against the Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays. The Twins also were swept by the Tigers, which extended the losing streak to seven games. And then on Friday, the Blue Jays, a team with the third best offense in the American League, unloaded on the sorry state of Twins pitching with 15 hits, including four home runs, to win 15-8.

The eight-game losing streak — the second of the season for the Twins, by the way — now has them a season-worst 30 games under .500. There might be 34 games left in the 2016 season, but I think it officially ended on Aug. 26 for the Twins.

(Some might say it ended after the season-beginning nine-game losing streak).

The culprit in all of this has been the quality of Twins pitching, which has been atrocious, particularly the starting rotation. Pat Dean, recently recalled to the bullpen, got the start Friday in place of Hector Santiago. But like Santiago, Jose Berrios, Tyler Duffey and Kyle Gibson before him, Dean got blasted, lasting all of three innings while giving up eight hits and six runs, all earned.

It didn’t get much better from there. Reliever Pat Light, who came to the Twins from the Red Sox in exchange for lefty Fernando Abad, got roughed up in only his third game for the Twins. In one-third of an inning, Light gave up one hit, two runs, both earned, and walked three. He exited the game with an ERA of 16.20.

Extra innings…

-The exception in the bullpen was Alex Wimmers. Wimmers, who made his major league debut on Friday with a scoreless inning of relief, was drafted in the first round by the Twins in 2010. It’s apparently been a long journey since then, according to information shared during Friday night’s radio broadcast. Not only did Wimmers struggle with an elbow injury, but he also developed a case of the yips and couldn’t throw strikes, a la Steve Blass, a former pitcher with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

-Following the debacle at home against Detroit, pitchers Duffey and Berrios were sent to Triple-A Rochester. I’m not entirely sure who will take their places in the rotation, although Andrew Albers was recently recalled from the minors. Albers, though, did appear in Friday’s game.

-Speaking of long journeys, old friend Francisco Liriano, who first pitched for the Twins in 2005, beat his old club on Friday. Liriano, who came to the Twins in a three-player deal that sent catcher A.J. Pierzynski to the San Francisco Giants, had some good seasons with the Twins but never became the star he appeared to be. Tommy John surgery likely didn’t help. He won 12 games for the Twins in 2006, 14 in 2010 and 16 for the Pirates in 2013. With the Twins, he was 50-52 over seven seasons.

Ervin Santana gets the ball on Saturday. If anyone can stop the bleeding, it’s him.

August 25, 2016

Pitching? What pitching? Twins lose to Tigers — again

What’s left to say? Twins pitching is terrible and it showed again Wednesday after Tyler Duffey gave up seven hits and six runs, all earned, in three-plus innings of work. Duffey might lead the team with eight wins, but now he also leads the team with 10 losses. He exited the game with an ERA... Continue Reading »

August 24, 2016

Losing streak grows to 5 games after Twins drop opener to Tigers

The Twins endured a self-inflicted loss on Tuesday with too many walks, too many wild pitches and too many home runs. The result was an 8-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers and a losing streak that stands at five games. Starter Kyle Gibson got hung with the loss and fell to 5-8. He had command... Continue Reading »

August 22, 2016

Now the Twins’ season could get really ugly, part 3

The Twins were swept on the road by the Kansas City Royals and now they come home to face the Detroit Tigers for three games, before hitting the road to play the Toronto Blue Jays and the Cleveland Indians. All of this could go very badly for the Twins. It was the Royals' first four-game... Continue Reading »

August 20, 2016

Twins’ Kyle Gibson wins, beats Atlanta Braves — so what?

Starter Kyle Gibson beat the Atlanta Braves the other night, making it two wins over the Braves to even the season series with the club. Gibson also threw his first career 9-inning complete game to win 10-3. That’s great, Kyle. Good job. Nice work. Atta boy. Way to go. Now, can you go out and... Continue Reading »

August 17, 2016

Tweet stirs reporter to call former Twin Nick Punto

The Twins on Tuesday got their first win over the Atlanta Braves this season, getting another quality start out of Ervin Santana, who scattered four hits over seven innings and didn’t allow a run in a 4-2 victory. He also walked two, struck out six and lowered his ERA to 3.43. I wish I could... Continue Reading »

August 15, 2016

Well, at least the Twins’ Brian Dozier hit his 26th home run, right?

In an otherwise disaster of a game, Brian Dozier kept up his torrid home run hitting pace by blasting No. 26 in an 11-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. Brian Dozier has now homered in three consecutive games for the second time this month, third time this season, fourth time in his... Continue Reading »

August 14, 2016

The Twins best pitcher has 8 losses and a 5.71 ERA

Despite the eight losses and the stratospheric earned run average, Tyler Duffey won his eighth game on Saturday, a 5-3 win over the visiting Kansas City Royals. That’s back-to-back wins for the Rice University product, who held the Houston Astros to one run on Monday and limited the Royals to two runs over seven innings... Continue Reading »

August 13, 2016

Houston Astros come, conquer Twins

If you’re a Twins fan, this entire season has been about finding the positives amid a sea of losses. And we’ve had some, including the Twins’ 15-11 mark in July. But then the Houston Astros came to town and the positives all but disappeared after the Twins lost three of four games to the ‘Stros.... 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.