June 11, 2016

As Meat Loaf would say: Two out of three ain’t bad

The Twins took two of three from the visiting Miami Marlins this week, getting plenty of power from a lineup that no longer has Miguel Sano and pitching help from some new faces in the bullpen.

For the moment, the Twins don’t miss Sano because they hit seven home runs in the team’s two wins against the Marlins. Eduardo Nunez hit two, newcomer and surprise Robbie Grossman hit one as well, as did Brian Dozier — a game-winning shot in Game 1 of the series with the Marlins.

Dozier has seven home runs on the year, but has otherwise struggled at the plate with a batting average barely above .200. Perhaps the game-winning shot will get him on track the rest of the way.

In the second game, Joe Mauer, continuing a modest power surge, hit a home run, along with the hot-and-cold Byung Ho Park, who again is tied for the team lead with 11 home runs. Third baseman, Trevor Plouffe, who has struggled with injuries in the early part of the season, hit his fourth of the year. It was long overdue. Like Dozier, let’s hope Plouffe’s home run is a sign of things to come.

Although the Twins are getting their share of hits and extra-base hits, the starting pitching continues to suffer as starters don’t pitch deep into games, leaving the bullpen vulnerable to a lot of extra work. Still, two new faces collected saves in the series with the Marlins: Buddy Boshers and Brandon Kintzler.

And Kintzler apparently will now share closing duties with Fernando Abad after Kevin Jepsen lost his job as closer. That’s a welcome move. Jepsen has been terrible. Earlier in the season I was in favor of Trevor May replacing Jepsen, but May hasn’t been very good either and is now on the disabled list. Also joining him on the DL is former starting pitcher Phil Hughes. Hughes took a liner off his left knee during his first relief appearance of the year.

Extra innings…

-The Twins may have taken two of three from the Marlins, but they also dropped the final game to the fish and then lost 8-1 on Friday to the Boston Red Sox. Two out of three quickly became back-to-back losses.

-The Twins have recalled called up relief pitcher JT Chargois from Triple-A Rochester. Here’s what MLB.com had to say:

Ranked as the Twins’ No. 9 prospect in the farm system, he posted a 1.12 ERA with 34 strikeouts and nine walks in 24 innings between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Rochester. The 25-year-old has a career 2.05 ERA in the Minors with 109 strikeouts in 88 innings, but underwent Tommy John surgery in 2013, missing the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

-Starting pitcher Kyle Gibson, who hasn’t pitched in more than a month for the Twins due to injury, gets the ball on Saturday against the Red Sox.

-The Twins made Pittsburgh native and high school outfielder Alex Kirilloff their first pick of Thursday’s MLB draft.

Here’s what MLB.com had to say about the pick:

Kirilloff, ranked as the No. 18 overall draft prospect by MLBPipeline.com, is known for his advanced bat, as he’s hitting .544/.645/1.000 with three homers and 23 RBIs in 19 games. He has 17 extra-base hits, 17 walks and has struck out once. He’s committed to Liberty University, but his signability is not a concern.

 

 

 

 

 

June 6, 2016

When religion divided the Minnesota Twins

What do you do when the Twins fall to 16-40 by early June? You find a reason to avoid reading depressing box scores. For me that meant buying “Down To The Last Pitch,” sportswriter Tim Wendel’s book on the 1991 World Series between the Twins and Atlanta Braves. Many have called it the greatest World... Continue Reading »

May 30, 2016

Twins notch second sweep with wins over Seattle Mariners

Winning streaks apparently come in small doses for the Twins after the bats fell silent in a 3-2 loss to the Oakland A’s. Still, prior to Monday’s loss, the Twins had put together a rare four-game winning streak, including an even rarer three-game sweep of the previously AL West-leading Seattle Mariners. It was the Twins’ second... Continue Reading »

May 29, 2016

Kris Johnson of the Hiroshima Carp: The Twins need you

Despite consecutive wins against the Royals and Mariners, the Twins still need a lot of help, particularly in the rotation. The Twins have the worst team ERA in the American League, and while Pat Dean and Tyler Duffey have made encouraging starts this year, there’s more work to be done. Just ask pitching coach Neil... Continue Reading »

May 23, 2016

Tyler Duffey and the curse of the Toronto Blue Jays

Here’s a telling stat: Twins pitcher Tyler Duffey has a 2.13 ERA in 13 of 15 major league starts, but in two games against the Toronto Blue Jays — his major league debut and last week’s start — Duffey apparently can’t pitch at all, surrendering enough runs that he has an ERA of more than... Continue Reading »

May 19, 2016

Twins implode in Motown

Don’t remember the Twins’ back-to-back wins against the Indians? Well, there’s a reason for that because the Twins rode those rare wins to Detroit and completely fell apart, getting swept by the Tigers, the fourth-place team in the division. The Twins are 4-2 against the Indians, 0-14 against rest of AL Central. The Tigers are... Continue Reading »

May 15, 2016

News to share: Twins snap eight-game losing streak with 6-3 win over Tribe

Roll the presses because the Twins avoided their second nine-game losing streak of the season by beating the Cleveland Indians 6-3 on Saturday. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak. The win, believe it or not, was only the team’s ninth of the season — that’s right, nine wins in their first 35 games. That’s... Continue Reading »

May 12, 2016

Twins’ Phil Hughes is a mess, it’s probably in his kiss

Forgive the reference to the X song of the same name, but I feel like I’m running out of ways to describe the Twins and their awful play so far this year. Starting pitcher Phil Hughes didn’t help matters on Wednesday after he got shelled and the Twins lost 9-2 to the Baltimore Orioles. It... Continue Reading »

May 8, 2016

Blow it up: The Minnesota Twins are terrible

Time to face facts, Twins fans: This team is terrible, and all the hope created by last season’s team and its 83 wins — plus the near playoff berth — can be forgotten. All that’s left is to find those silver linings that bode well for the future. As for 2016, forget it; I don’t... Continue Reading »

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Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

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.