June 16, 2023

2-game sweep means very little after Twins lose to lowly Tigers

Twins Territory was riding pretty high after the two-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers. And why not?

Twins hitting seems to have picked up, Carlos Correa has been hot of late and even a recent MLB.com story took note of the improvement: ‘There’s a different vibe’ as Twins sweep Crew,’ the headline reads.

And then Thursday happened and the Twins lost 8-4 to the Detroit Tigers, a fourth-place team in the AL Central that is 2-8 in its last 10 games.

Although the Twins struck out 11 times, the problem wasn’t at the plate, but on the mound for a change as starter Sonny Gray and relievers Jovani Moran and Jorge Lopez all struggled.

Gray overall has pitched well this season, but he also tends to hit a wall at some point during his starts, which typically reveals itself as a loss of command. He tossed 79 pitches, but only 45 of them landed for strikes and he wound up walking four batters in four innings.

Gray didn’t figure in the decision. That fell to Moran who took the loss after allowing three runs in an inning. An even bigger concern is Lopez, who allowed three runs on five hits, including three doubles. His ERA ballooned to 5.00 after Thursday’s appearance. Lopez just can’t seem to recapture what made him such an effective reliever in Baltimore before he was traded to the Twins.

Joe Ryan gets the ball Friday.

Extra innings …

-The Twins are back to a game over .500 at 35-34, 2.5 games ahead of the Cleveland Guardians.

-Ex-Twin Jose Berrios, now with the Blue Jays, made another quality start in a 3-1 win over the Orioles this week. Berrios pitched seven-plus scoreless innings with a walk and five strikeouts to improve to 7-4 with a 3.28 ERA. I think Berrios has got a chance to be named to the All-Star team as well. My other pitching contenders: The Twins’ Ryan and ex-Twin Kyle Gibson.

COMMENTS

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.