June 29, 2023

No surprise: Braves sweep Twins (and it was ugly)

The Atlanta Braves, one of the best teams in baseball with the power and pitching to prove it, had no trouble with the Twins this week, finally punctuating a three-game sweep with a four-hit shutout to win, 3-0. The Twins struck out 14 times as a team on Wednesday.

The dismal series reportedly prompted a players-only meeting after the game and spurred manager Rocco Baldelli to rip his team, according to an MLB.com story.

“ … The truth of the matter is we were flat, and we made no adjustments in the game almost whatsoever,” Baldelli told MLB.com “And if you’re going to call a spade a spade and say how it is, that’s not good baseball.

“We got wiped this series by the team on the other side of the field. There’s no way we can walk out of this with any positives, to be honest with you, and that’s the truth.”

There were plenty of positives for the Braves, but it was downright ugly for the Twins who “stranded 20 runners on base, hit 0-for-23 with runners in scoring position and struck out 31 times,” according to MLB.com.

The sweep means the Twins no longer have the lead in the AL Central (and it was pretty tenuous to begin with) and are now two games under .500 and a half-game back of the Cleveland Guardians.

The Twins are off Thursday, then stay on the road to face another good team in the Baltimore Orioles on Friday. Pablo Lopez gets the ball.

Extra innings …

-Controversial pitcher and New York Yankee Domingo German, who was recently suspended for pitching with a sticky substance on his hand, tossed a perfect game on Wednesday to beat the Oakland A’s, 11-0. German struck out nine over nine innings with no hits and no walks.

-Brock Stewart, arguably the Twins’ best reliever, has landed on the 15-day injured list with right elbow pain. Ugh.

-How about revisiting some better news for the Twins? On June 28, 1992, the Twins took three of four games from the Oakland A’s to tie them atop the old AL West with a record of 43-31. The fourth game was a 10-2 win over the A’s, the Twins scoring all 10 runs in one inning. Scott Erickson went eight innings to get the win and Chili Davis had a 4-for-5 day at the plate with a run scored and two RBI.

“The Twins just did the things a good baseball team does,” A’s manager Tony La Russa told the Star Tribune. “When they got up in the count they spun and hit the ball harder. When they got down in the count they just put it in play. They play good baseball. We can do it, too. They’ve just done a better job lately than we have.”

Doesn’t sound like the 2023 Twins at all, does it?

-About that 1992 season: The Twins played well, but stumbled in August with a 12-17 record, which included a five-game losing streak. The A’s won the division, the Twins right behind them.

Sources: MLB.com, Newspapers.com, Baseball-Reference.com

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.