April 24, 2016

Twins on the verge of being swept by Nationals

Just when I thought it was safe to celebrate a Twins’ 8-1 victory over the Brewers — and I read way more into the win than I should have — the team heads to Washington, D.C. (the birthplace of the Twins, by the way) and drops two in a row for the third time in three weeks.

Friday’s loss marked a terrible outing for pitcher Kyle Gibson, once again showing the inconsistent play that has defined his career with the Twins, followed by free-swingin’ Saturday as the Twins strikeout 18 times as a team and lose 2-0, wasting another quality start from Phil Hughes.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the Twins get to face Stephen Strasburg on Sunday. Forget the dog days of summer, how about the dog days of April? One more week to go, guys. Let’s hope May 2016 is as fruitful as May 2015 was for the Twins.

Some positives since Thursday:

-Offense: The eight runs scored against the Brewers was the most so far this season.

-Ricky Nolasco: Nolasco has done very little in his time with the Twins, but suddenly in his third season with the team he’s pitching like the ace of the staff. He has an ERA of 2.66 — the lowest among all Twins’ starters — plus he’s pitched 20-plus innings in three starts with 15 strikeouts.

-Miguel Sano: Sano might struggle in right field, but his bat is finally starting to heat up. His batting average, once well below .200, now stands at .250. He leads the team in strikeouts, but he’s also second in walks, has 15 hits, including five extra-base hits.

-Joe Mauer: Despite some down years recently, Mauer’s play this month reminds us that he can be the team’s best hitter. He’s hitting around .330 with a team-leading 21 hits and 14 walks. I shudder to think where the Twins would be if Mauer had gotten off to a slow start. Maybe no wins?

I wish there were more positives. Tyler Duffey, recalled from Triple-A Rochester to spell Ervin Santana, gets the ball on Sunday.

Extra innings…

Chris Colabello, who spent two seasons with the Twins in 2013-2014, was suspended 80 games on Friday for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs. He is eligible to return July 22, according to Baseball-Reference.com.






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.