The timely hitting has suddenly disappeared.
The Twins struggled with their situational hitting on Wednesday, and did it all over again on Thursday, losing 3-2 to the Kansas City Royals at home, despite connecting for 12 hits.
The problem? They were 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left 12 men on base. The bottom of the eighth inning was particularly painful because the Twins got three singles to load the bases with nobody out, but came away with nothing after Jose Miranda struck out, Nick Gordon struck out and Max Kepler grounded weakly to first base.
To make matters worse, lefty Devin Smeltzer’s excellent start went to waste. Smeltzer pitched seven innings of two-hit shutout baseball with six strikeouts, then watched as reliever Tyler Duffey blew up. Duffey, who has not been effective this year, was tagged with the blown save and loss after he allowed three runs on a walk and four hits in an inning of work.
Twins Territory was not happy with manager Rocco Baldelli’s decision to lift Smeltzer after seven innings.
Here’s what Rocco told MLB.com:
“I think sometimes the decisions are already made, and today, after the seventh, I think it was pretty solidly going to the bullpen,” Baldelli said. “When the decisions are made, there’s really no lobbying, no matter how hard they’re going to push for it.”
Bailey Ober gets the ball Friday.
-The Twins lost 4-2 to the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday because they were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base.
-The Twins are still getting their share of hits, but not from Byron Buxton who has gone into a terrible slump of late. Over the last seven games, Buck is hitting .034, or one hit in his last 29 at bats. He’s now hitting .202 on the season after a sizzling start in April.
-The Twins still have a 4.5 game lead over the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central after the South Siders were once again blasted by Boston, 16-7 on Thursday.
-In another lopsided game, the Cincinnati Reds clobbered the Chicago Cubs 20-5, leading the Cubs to call on Ex-Twin and infielder Andrelton Simmons to pitch the ninth. Simmons allowed five runs on a walk and five hits to end the game. Picking on the pitching position player is not a wise move. What goes around comes around, Cincy.