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, Brian Dozier, Trevor Plouffe, Max Kepler, Eduardo Nunez and Juan Centeno. After Duffey’s last start, it appeared that he might be headed to Triple-A Rochester, but the two-hitter against the Yanks likely has saved him for now. The win gives him three on the season to tie fellow starter Ricky Nolasco. Old friend Aaron Hicks, now with the Yankees, broke up Duffey’s perfect game with a double in the sixth. Kyle Gibson gets the ball on Tuesday.

Earlier: Need another reason why the Twins are struggling? Team defense. Eduardo Escobar, who is filling in at shortstop because Eduardo Nunez is filling in for the ailing Trevor Plouffe at third, committed two more errors on Saturday to give him three in two games versus the Yankees. Saturday’s goofs sunk the Twins and they lost 2-1. Starter Ervin Santana threw too many pitches and was done by the fifth. Meanwhile, Yankees starter Michael Pineda struck out eight over six-plus innings and then handed the ball off to the trio of Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman and they shut out the Twins the rest of the way.

The Twins’ defense currently ranks 14th out of 15 teams in the American League with 50 errors so far this season — and that doesn’t include Saturday’s miscues. A season ago the Twins committed a total of 86 errors, which contributed to them having the third best defense in the American League.

Original post: The Twins find themselves on the road in the extremely unfriendly confines of Yankee Stadium. No surprise: they lost Game 1 of the three-game series on Friday, which, if history holds true, won’t be pretty for the team from the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

But that’s just the beginning, because after they play the Yankees, they travel to Chicago to take on the White Sox and then come home to meet the AL West-leading Texas Rangers, followed by the Oakland A’s. Then it’s back on the road again to play the Rangers.

This season the Twins are winless against the White Sox (0-6), winless versus the A’s (0-3) and have yet to play the Rangers. The Twins, historically, have beaten the Rangers more often than not, compiling a franchise winning percentage of .526 against the club from Texas. But as I write this, the Rangers are 20 games over .500 this season and have a nine-game lead on the second-place Houston Astros.

As I was saying, this could be a tough run for the Twins. If recent history holds true, the Twins take one game from the Yankees, get swept by the White Sox and A’s and take three or four games from the Rangers. But this is the 2016 Twins versus a Rangers team that is ranked seventh in team batting and 12th in team pitching. Worst case scenario: The Twins finish 1-11 over the next 12 games and fall to 24-61. Ugh.

Extra innings…

-The Twins lost 5-3 to the Yankees Friday night to fall to 23-50. The Twins last season didn’t lose their 50th game until Aug. 2.

-Starter Tommy Milone, recently recalled from Triple-A Rochester, lasted all of three-plus innings Friday, but it wasn’t entirely his fault because the team committed three errors behind him.

-Old friend Aaron Hicks, who was traded by the Twins to the Yankees for catcher John Ryan Murphy, homered in the 8th off Buddy Boshers.

-Masahiro Tanaka of the Yankees went six innings and then turned the ball over to the bullpen from hell: Betances, Miller and Chapman. Betances and Miller each had a strikeout and Chapman struck out the side in the ninth. Ballgame.

-The Twins have traded outfielder Oswaldo Arcia to the Tampa Bay Rays for cash or a player to be named later. Phil Miller of the Strib had this to say:

Arcia, designated for assignment June 16, spent parts of four seasons in the majors with the Twins, hitting 14 home runs as a rookie in 2013 and 20 more, second-most on the team, in 2014. But two subpar seasons and the rise of other young outfielders ended his time with the Twins.

-Twins closer Glen Perkins, who decided to have season-ending surgery to correct a torn labrum, likely endeared himself to all baseball fans for the following tweet:





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.