April 21, 2024

Twins win. Barely

The Twins snapped a five-game losing streak on Saturday with a 4-3 win over the Detroit Tigers.

Although the Twins won, the one element of their game that was a problem last season and has become a major issue this season is hitting with runners in scoring position. Given the win, one might think they did just enough in that department to edge the Tigers. They did not. Instead, they were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.

So how did the Twins score? With three sacrifice flies and an error. No one is going to confuse this team with the 2019 Bomba Squad.

Louie Varland gets the ball Sunday in the rubber match.

Extra innings…

-It’s good to see Oregon State man Trevor Larnach back in the Twins lineup and I hope he sticks around this time. So far he has four hits, including a home run, in 12 at bats with a run scored and three RBI.

-One reason the Twins have been bedeviled by a lack of clutch hitting is because there are some ice cold bats in the lineup. Manuel Margot is hitting .175, Willi Castro .148, Carlos Santana .123 and Kyle Farmer who is hitting a woeful .088. And three key players — Carlos Correa, Max Kepler and Royce Lewis — are all dealing with injuries.

-Yet the pitching hasn’t been too bad. Bailey Ober made another quality start on Saturday, allowing just a run across six innings with a walk and six whiffs. His ERA is 4.91, but he has whittled it lower after it shot skyward during his debut against the Kansas City Royals.

-Another bright spot: Rookie Austin Martin continues to produce. He had two hits and scored two runs in Saturday’s win.

-What does a struggling team and cold weather equal? Not exactly a full house at Target Field. About 20,000 fans attended Saturday’s game, up from the 13,000 fans who saw Friday’s 5-4 loss to the Tigers. As of Friday, the Twins ranked 14th out of 15 American League teams in attendance, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

-How about that Jose Berrios? The ex-Twin did it again, delivering his fifth quality start in a 5-2 Blue Jays win over the Padres. He is now 4-0 with a 0.85 ERA. He blanked the Friars for six innings on Saturday with two walks and six strikeouts. Berrios has to be an early contender for the All-star game.

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.