The past four games have been a microcosm of the Twins’ entire season.
Inconsistent hitting, pitching and defense have plagued the team since April, and once again they were good enough to take two of three games from the New York Yankees, but not good enough to beat the Kansas City Royals, a team on the verge of losing 100 games.
The Twins lost to the Royals on Thursday and Friday. Friday’s 8-4 loss was especially painful because it was the Twins’ 13th walk-off loss of the season. They also wasted a good pitching effort from Jose Berrios, who struck out nine batters over six innings, and a three-hit night from Internet sensation, Willians Astudillo, who also made a nice defensive play as the starting catcher.
Berrios limited the Royals to two runs over six innings. He stepped aside and the Royals tied the game in the seventh inning, then won it in the ninth on a walk-off grand-slam home run.
Chase De Jong gets the ball Saturday.
-The Twins scored only four runs on 13 hits in Friday’s loss. They left 12 men on base and were 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
-Despite losing on Thursday, rookie pitcher Stephen Gonsalves pitched much better for the Twins and appears to have benefited from the “opener” format. Reliever Gabriel Moya got the start, followed by Gonsavles, who gave up one unearned run in three innings with four strikeouts. That performance slashed his earned run average by two runs.
-In the rubber match against the Yankees, Jake Odorizzi took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before giving up one extra-base hit and exiting the game. Odorizzi is not the most efficient pitcher, but he still got the victory after throwing 120 pitches in seven-plus innings.
-After Friday’s loss, the Twins fell to 8-9 versus the Royals this season with two more games to go.
-Joe Mauer, who has spent his entire career with the Twins, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he is considering retirement at the end of the season. His health and a growing family are things he is thinking about.
“The concussion, third baby on the way,” he told the Star Tribune. “So we have a lot of things to go over. I want to do that and take a deep breath and try to think with a clear mind.”
Mauer is a six-time all-star and the 2009 AL MVP. That season he hit .365.