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 to the Cleveland Indians, and now they hit the road for six games: three against the Detroit Tigers, followed by three more versus the Boston Red Sox. If recent history holds true, the Twins finish 1-5 over the next six games to fall to 34-63, nearly 30 games under .500.

The Twins are winless versus the Tigers this season (0-6) and are 1-2 against the Red Sox. The good news is that the last time I made such a dire prediction (1-11 over 12 games), it didn’t come true (thankfully) and the Twins actually played fairly well over that earlier stretch of games.

And Detroit’s team pitching isn’t much better than what’s on display in Minnesota. The Twins are dead last in that category in the American League, but the Tigers are ranked 13 out of 15 AL teams. Red Sox pitching ranks ninth in the AL.

The bigger concern for the Twins and the team’s trip to Fenway Park is that Boston has the best offense in all of baseball with a team batting average of .289. Twins outfielders better prepare themselves to play a few balls off the green monster because the Red Sox lead all of baseball — and by a pretty healthy margin — in doubles with 217. The next closest team, Colorado, has 190.

The Twins don’t face anyone particularly special in the first two games against the Tigers, but then they get Justin Verlander (9-6, 3.91 ERA) on Wednesday. Verlander, despite a so-so record, is 166-103 for his career, a winning percentage of .617.

Ricky Nolasco gets the ball on Monday.

Extra innings…

-Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel once said that “good pitching will always stop good hitting and vice-versa.” Well, perhaps this much is true: good pitching will always stop mediocre hitting. That was the case on Sunday as the Tribe’s Josh Tomlin held the Twins to one run over seven-plus innings to win his 10th game of the season. The Twins only run came courtesy of Max Kepler, who hit his ninth home run in the sixth inning.

-Twins starter Kyle Gibson wasn’t great, giving up 10 hits and four runs over six innings. But relief pitcher Neil Ramirez was worse, surrendering three hits, including two home runs. He also walked two in three innings of work. Despite his performance, Gibson got hung with the loss to fall to 2-6.



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.