July 8, 2016

Twins top Rangers as tragedy unfolds in Dallas

Update: Outfielder Eddie Rosario, who struggled at the plate earlier in the year and then compounded things with some crummy base running, “redemptified” — to quote Max Kepler — himself Saturday night, going four-for-five at the plate, including two doubles and a home run to beat the Rangers 8-6. Ricky Nolasco finally picked up his fourth win, while old friend Kyle Lohse got knocked around pretty good, surrendering six runs, all earned, in five innings of work. The Twins have taken two of three from the Rangers and will now try to win the series on Sunday with Tommy Milone. Despite pitching well enough in his last start to get his first win of the season, Milone beating the Rangers in Texas strikes me as a tall order. The Rangers have the fourth best team batting in the American League (the Twins are 10th), while Milone has a career ERA versus the Rangers of 4.62. Could be worse, I guess. Maybe Rosario will carry the Twins for another day? Rosario, if you didn’t know, hit .267 with 15 triples in his rookie campaign last season, finishing sixth in the Rookie of the Year vote.

Earlier: The Twins and Rangers played a see-saw game on Friday, with the Rangers finally prevailing 6-5 after the Twins couldn’t hold a 5-4 lead. The Rangers — as I learned while listening to the game — are tough customers in one-run contests, improving to 19-7 in those situations. The Twins on the other hand are 8-16. Starter Kyle Gibson wasn’t terrible, but he labored through the early part of the game and was close to 100 pitches after five innings. He gave up four runs, all earned, and then turned it over to Ryan Pressly who got hung with the blown save and loss. The rest of the game was a mixed bag: Miguel Sano hit his team-leading 14th home run, but outfielder Byron Buxton apparently was carted off the field after injuring his right knee. After the game, the Rangers announced that old friend Kyle Lohse will get the ball on Saturday. Lohse, who started his career with the Twins, spent six seasons with the team before being traded to the Reds. He was 51-57 with the Twins, but turned things around when he joined the St. Louis Cardinals. In five seasons with the Cardinals, his record improved to 55-35, including a 16-3 mark in 2012. For his career, Lohse is 147-141 with an ERA of 4.71.

Original post: Against the backdrop of protests and gun violence in downtown Dallas, the Twins ran up the score on the Texas Rangers to beat them 10-1 on Thursday in Arlington.

 

It was a tough night to write about sports after a number of Dallas police officers were shot and killed, likely in response to the deaths of two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota at the hands of white police officers. All Americans have the right — and should exercise that right — to protest and demonstrate against the kind of violence that white police officers have shown black Americans. But the answer is not more gun violence. As my Twitter feed filled with news and opinion about the shooing deaths in Dallas, an opinion appeared that I think we can all get behind and that should guide us in the coming days:

Meanwhile, Phil Miller of the Strib captured the mood on Thursday as news of the Dallas shootings filtered into the press box.

It was an odd atmosphere in the press box tonight, as reports kept coming in about the snipers in nearby Dallas. An already-quiet press box was totally silent for much of the game.

But the game went on, another Twins’ victory over the team with the best record in the AL — they’re now 3-1 against the Rangers, having outscored them 34-13.

The Twins banged out 18 hits, scoring early and late in the game, and got home runs from Kurt Suzuki, Max Kepler and Kennys Vargas. Starter Tyler Duffey had another strong outing to get his fifth win. He struck out nine over six innings, allowing only two hits with four walks.

Extra innings…

-Pitching coach Neil Allen was reinstated Thursday after completing a five-week treatment program at Hazelden Betty Ford, following his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving. Allen told reporters that falling off the wagon had nothing to do with the team’s poor play. Maybe not. But now Allen returns to the Twins in a new pressure-filled situation. That’s because the interim replacement, Eric Rasmussen, appeared to have success with the staff, getting notable wins from Tyler Duffey, Tommy Milone and Ervin Santana.

Kyle Gibson gets the ball on Friday.

July 6, 2016

Twins’ Milone finally wins a game

Update: Ervin Santana not only pitched his best game of the season on Wednesday, but he pitched one of his best games in years, throwing a two-hit, complete game with eight strikeouts and no walks to shutout the A’s 4-0 — and he did it in exactly 100 pitches. Don’t look now, but the Twins... Continue Reading »

July 4, 2016

Welcome back, Miguel Sano! (to 3B or DH, that is)

Twins slugger Miguel Sano is back with the team after completing a rehab assignment at Triple-A Rochester, and he appears to have picked up where he left off in both good and bad ways. The good side of the ledger is that Sano, despite some uninspiring numbers during his rehab stint, can hit major league... Continue Reading »

June 29, 2016

Twins finally snap six-game losing streak to White Sox with shutout win

Update: The good news is that Brian Dozier continues to mash, collecting an extra-base hit in his 11th straight game and taking over the team lead in home runs with 13. The bad news is this: What in the world do the Twins do with their rotation? Kyle Gibson and Tyler Duffey will win the... Continue Reading »

June 28, 2016

New York media piles on after Twins beat Yanks

The Twins pulled off the unthinkable on Sunday, beating the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium with six home runs and a pitching performance that was nearly perfect, including eight strikeouts, from starter Tyler Duffey. But that kind of loss apparently doesn’t sit well with the New York media, which are no doubt accustomed to... Continue Reading »

June 25, 2016

Now the Twins’ season could get really ugly

Update: The Twins got their one win against the Yankees on Sunday and it happened in incredible fashion: six home runs backed starter Tyler Duffey, who was perfect through six innings. He eventually went eight innings, allowing only two hits and one run, while striking out eight. The Twins got home runs from Danny Santana,... Continue Reading »

June 22, 2016

Surely the Twins can beat the Philadelphia Phillies…

Update: Well, so much for Ricky Nolasco beating the Phillies. The Twins’ “ace,” who leads the team with three wins, didn’t pitch well enough for his fourth win and lost 7-3. Worse, though, was Kevin Jepsen’s performance. He followed Nolasco and gave up a three-run home run in two-thirds of an inning. Jepsen, who lost... Continue Reading »

June 19, 2016

Forget it, Twins fans: It’s the New York Yankees

Update: The Twins finally got one of those rare wins over the Yankees, beating them 7-4 on Sunday to salvage the last game of a four-game series with the pinstripers. Ervin Santana went seven-plus innings to win for only the second time this season, while Max Kepler had three hits including his second home run.... Continue Reading »

June 14, 2016

If only the Twins played the Angels every day

Update: Never mind. Earlier: Well, the Twins’ four-game winning streak versus the Angels came to an end Tuesday night after a 5-4 loss. I guess this was inevitable, considering how the Twins have played this year, and Tuesday’s loss reflected the season so far: enough hitting and defense to keep it close, but not enough... 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.