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 Allen about the pressure to squeeze wins from this staff. Not to make light of Allen, who was recently arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, but I’m sure the team’s terrible start hasn’t helped his personal goal of avoiding alcohol. Hell, I’d be knocking back a few if I were in his shoes.
If the Twins are in the market for an arm — and a lefty at that — there’s a familiar face in Japan by the name of Kris Johnson. Johnson spent part of 2014 with the Twins before he was released. He later joined the Hiroshima Carp and won 14 games in 2015. This season he is 6-3 and I saw him secure his most recent win in style at home against Japan’s most famous team: the Tokyo Giants.
The Giants, the New York Yankees of Japan, were swept by the Carp (rare in itself), including Johnson’s effort. Johnson threw a complete game shutout of the Giants, striking out 10 while surrendering four hits. He also lowered his season ERA to 1.79. Hopefully, the Twins still retain the rights to his services.
Pitching coach Allen has been temporarily replaced by interim Eric Rasmussen, who apparently has been with the Twins since 1991. Before his interim role, he was a minor league pitching coordinator for the Twins.
As I write this post, the Twins have beaten the Mariners 6-5 to make it three wins in a row for the first time since April when they swept the Angels. Those wins against the Halos snapped a season-beginning nine-game losing streak.
Rookie Pat Dean beat Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners in his second career major league start, striking out eight over seven innings. Dean of Boston College was selected by the Twins in the third round of the 2010 amateur draft, according to Baseball-Reference.com.