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 a run in the first inning, and then both pitchers settled in — Ervin Santana for the Twins, Justin Verlander for the Tigers — and didn’t allow another run. Santana gave the Twins seven innings, while Verlander went eight innings, slinging that heater of his late in the game. Both finally stepped aside for the bullpens to do their thing, and that’s when the Twins found success against one of the best closers in the game.

The Tigers’ Francisco Rodriguez, who is second in the American League in saves with 26, entered the game in the top of the ninth and got rocked, giving up three runs, including a solo shot to Max Kepler and a two-run job to Eddie Rosario. Ballgame.

Twins great Tony Oliva turned 78 on Wednesday. An eight-time All-Star, Oliva had one of the great rookie campaigns in baseball. In 1964, at 25, Oliva hit .323, with 217 hits, 109 runs scored, 43 doubles, 32 home runs and drove in 94 runs. He also struck out only 68 times in 672 at bats. His performance at the plate that year earned him the Rookie of the Year award. Oliva was hampered by injuries the rest of his career and finally retired from the game in 1976. He hit .304 for his career.

Original post: The Twins are no longer winless against the Detroit Tigers after they beat the team in Motown on Tuesday with a good outing from Tommy Milone and some late-inning production to seal the 6-2 win.

Milone, who only recently won his first game of the year, suddenly has three wins after he went eight-plus innings and held the Tigers to two runs. Here’s another stat: With that third win, Milone now becomes the only Twins starting pitcher with a winning record. Many of us have been clamoring for pitcher, Jose Berrios, to be given another chance in the bigs. But perhaps general manager Terry Ryan, who was fired Monday, knew what he was doing after all by backing Milone. Milone is also one of only two starters on the team with an ERA under 5.00.

Ervin Santana gets the ball on Wednesday.

Extra innings…

-Brian Dozier hit his team-leading 16th home run on Tuesday.

-It was a rough night for outfielder Robbie Grossman. Although he had one hit for the Twins, he also struck out four times, otherwise known as a “golden sombrero.”

-Tuesday’s game was the fifth time this season that the Twins have struck out 10 or more times in a game. But this time they struck out 13 times as a team and still won the game.

-The Boston Red Sox apparently have shown interest in Twins starter Ervin Santana, according to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press.

-The Twins have beaten every team in the American League at least once this season, except the Baltimore Orioles (0-5). The Orioles pay a visit to Target Field on July 28.

MLB Daily Dish piled on pretty good about GM Terry Ryan and his dismissal from the team on Monday. Yes, nothing had really worked out for Ryan and the Twins since returning to the team in 2012. But the post still struck me as a tad harsh because I think Ryan’s overall tenure with the team will be viewed positively. So some of his deals didn’t work out, but many of them did, including:

-Trading Chuck Knoblauch to the New York Yankees for four players and cash, including infielder Cristian Guzman and pitcher Eric Milton. Guzman was a key member of those division-winning Twins teams last decade. He hit 20 triples in 2000. Milton won 15 games for the Twins in 2001.

-Sending a minor league player and cash to the Florida Marlins for pitcher Johan Santana. Santana would go on to win two Cy Young awards with the Twins.

-Trading Bobby Kielty to the Toronto Blue Jays for Shannon Stewart. Stewart seemed to single-handedly drive the Twins to the division title in 2003.

-Trading catcher A.J. Pierzynski to the San Francisco Giants for Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser. Nathan would go on to become the Twins’ all-time saves leader.

-Trading for Nick Punto in 2003. Enough said.

-Trading for Luis Castillo in 2005. Castillo hit .296 in 2006.

 

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 »

July 16, 2016

Twins start second half with loss to Tribe

Update: After nearly four hours of play, the Twins finally beat the Indians in walk-off fashion after an error in the bottom of the 11th inning scored the winning run. The Twins tied the game at 4-4 in the seventh and then watched as it was delayed by rain for two hours in the top... Continue Reading »

July 13, 2016

Huh? Twins’ Nunez sees little playing time in first All-Star game

As if this season needed to get any worse, Eduardo Nunez, the only member of the Twins to be named to Tuesday’s All-Star game, didn’t get a chance to contribute to the American League’s 4-2 win. Instead, as noted by MLB.com, he sat for eight innings and then came in as a defensive replacement to... Continue Reading »

July 11, 2016

Hey, something’s brewing with the Twins, folks

After posting losing records in April, May and June, and falling so far behind in the AL Central that it appeared as if the Twins might set some records for futility, the team heads into the All-Star break looking like a completely different team. Suddenly, the Twins can hit, pitch and play defense, all of... Continue Reading »

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... Continue Reading »

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 »

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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.