June 8, 2024

What the doctor didn’t order: A loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates

What did the Twins need after a gut-wrenching sweep at the hands of the New York Yankees? They needed a win at Pittsburgh on Friday to get this team back on track.

Instead, they were blanked by the Bucs and exited with a 3-0 loss and what is now a four-game losing streak. The Twins have slumped to 33-30 on the season and are now 4.5 games back of the Kansas City Royals and 7.5 games behind the Cleveland Guardians in the AL Central.

The Twins outhit the Pirates eight to four but had nothing to show for it because they were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.

Joe Ryan pitched well for the Twins as did Bucs hurler Mitch Keller, who my son and I saw pitch at Target Field last August. He was dealing then with 12 strikeouts and he was dealing on Friday, scattering seven hits across six innings with two walks and eight strikeouts to improve to 8-3 with a 3.16 ERA. Ryan allowed two runs over seven innings with two walks and eight whiffs as well, but he fell to 4-5 with a 3.30 ERA.

The Twins will try again Saturday. Simeon Woods Richardson gets the ball.

Extra innings…

-Although Ryan and Keller pitched well, they also served up a total of four walks and their pitch to strike ratios were not ideal. Ryan landed 62 pitches for strikes out of 92 thrown, while Keller checked in at 65 strikes on 99 pitches.

Those results may have been less about them and more about home plate umpire Paul Clemons and his strike zone. Listening to the game, it sounded like Max Kepler expressed his displeasure with Clemons and then Twins assistant hitting coach Derek Shomon got an early shower after arguing from the dugout.

-Speaking of Kepler, along with catcher Ryan Jeffers, both are struggling again after hitting close to .300 earlier in the season. Over the past 15 games, both are hitting .149.

-Byron Buxton hasn’t really hit well all season, but he had two hits on Friday and made a great diving catch to rob a hit from the Bucs.

-On June 10, 1950, the Washington Senators/Nationals blanked the Chicago White Sox 6-0 in a five-inning game shortened by rain.

Future Twins manager Sam Mele anchored center field for the Sens that day and he had a hit, scored a run and drove in one more. Mele was a decent ballplayer. He slashed .274/.351/.432 that season with more walks than strikeouts, as well as 86 RBI on 119 hits across 126 games. The following season he would lead the American League in doubles with 36.

Senators pitcher Sandy Consuegra emerged with an interesting pitching line. He picked up the win scattering three hits over five innings with one walk and no strikeouts. Here’s how the local papers covered the game:

The (Washington, D.C) Evening Star

“Cass Michaels reached into the rain for a line drive, grabbed it with a backhand stab and converted it into a double play precisely at a moment when a deluge descended on Griffith Stadium yesterday afternoon. That defensive brilliance enabled the Nats to blank the Chicago White Sox, 6-0, in a 4-plus inning game.”

The Chicago Tribune

“It took the Washington Senators only five innings of defensive exercise and four innings of offensive play today to dump the White Sox into the American league cellar. Led by a right hander fresh from Havana of the class B Florida-International league, one Sandalio Consuegra, the Senators made it seven victories in seven games against our meek outfit, 6 to 0.”

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