August 13, 2016

Houston Astros come, conquer Twins

If you’re a Twins fan, this entire season has been about finding the positives amid a sea of losses. And we’ve had some, including the Twins’ 15-11 mark in July. But then the Houston Astros came to town and the positives all but disappeared after the Twins lost three of four games to the ‘Stros. They also dropped Friday’s game to the Kansas City Royals to make it four straight losses.

The week started well enough after Tyler Duffey limited the Astros to one run over six innings and struck out eight. But guess who got the night off on Monday? Jose Altuve, who leads the majors with a .363 average. Altuve was back in the lineup the remainder of the series and he carved up the Twins pretty good, collecting nine hits total, including back-to-back, four-hit games.

Twins pitching was terrible. Hector Santiago lost Tuesday’s game, followed by losses from Jose Berrios and Tommy Milone. All of it was a reminder that the Twins really do have the worst pitching in the American League. Berrios lasted all of two innings, while Milone was gone after three. Berrios deserves the chance to work out the kinks in the majors because he has proven he can win at the Triple-A level. But if he can’t win at the next level, what do the Twins do? What kind of trade value could he possibly have if he can’t win? I shudder to think that Berrios becomes a bust.

Extra innings…

-The Twins lost 7-3 to the Royals on Friday. Once again, starter Kyle Gibson wasn’t that good and fell to 4-7. Despite the lousy pitching of late, Miguel Sano and Brian Dozier both homered in the loss. Sano hit his 20th, while Dozier followed with his 24th.

-More promising on the pitching front was reliever Pat Dean’s appearance on Friday. Dean struck out six in three innings.

-Friday’s loss was the 70th of the season for the Twins. The Twins didn’t lose 70 games until Sept. 16 last season.

-Just when it looked like the Twins might “improve” to 19 games under .500, they get hit by another losing streak and once again fall to 20-plus games under that mark.

-How about the strange case of pitcher Andrew Albers? Albers was handed mop up duty after the Astros chased starter Milone in a 10-2 loss. Albers hadn’t pitched in the majors in more than a year and last made an appearance for the Twins in September 2013, according to Think the life of a journeyman pitcher is fun? After Friday’s loss to the Royals, Albers was designated for assignment.

-As sometimes happens in blowout losses, the Twins sent a position player to the mound in Thursday’s 15-7 loss to the Astros. Infielder Eduardo Escobar got the nod and pitched a scoreless inning of relief.

-After the poor pitching of late, anyone miss interim pitching coach Eric Rasmussen? Or do you prefer Neil Allen? Or does it matter with this team?






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.