June 14, 2021

Framber Valdez. Remember him?

Houston Astros pitcher, Framber Valdez, the left-handed pitcher who tossed five scoreless innings against the Twins in last year’s postsason, was back on the mound to face them on Sunday.

What’s his secret? I’m not exactly sure. He’s certainly not a power pitcher, but whatever he’s throwing, he sure knows how to keep the Twins off balance. They spent most of the afternoon, with few exceptions, hammering the ball into the dirt. Meanwhile, Twins starter Michael Pineda absorbed the loss after he allowed three runs over four innings, finally exiting because of right forearm stiffness.

If only Pineda’s performance had been the low point of the day. It was not.

Big Mike was followed by Randy Dobnak, Alex Colome and Matt Shoemaker, all of whom were terrible, allowing 11 more runs, all earned, in an ugly 14-3 loss to the Astros. Once again you can stick a fork in the Dobber, Colome and Shoe. They are done, done, done.

Kenta Maeda finally returns from the injured list to face Seattle on Monday.

Extra innings…

-The Astros scored the 14 runs on 20 hits.

-The bright spots at the plate for the Twins were Nelson Cruz and Oregon State man Trevor Larnach. Each had two hits, including a home run for Cruz, his 13th, and a double for Larnach. They had four of the Twins’ seven hits on Sunday. The Twins were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.

-On June 13, 2006, the Twins got a much better pitching performance out of ace Johan Santana, who struck out 13 over eight innings in an extra-innings contest against the Boston Red Sox at the dome, according to Baseball-Reference.com. The Twins finally won the game on a Jason Kubel grand slam in the 12th inning, 5-2. The Twins were 96-66 in 2006.

-Twins Territory was not happy on Sunday. A sampling:


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.