Surprise! The Twins swept the Tigers. Judging by the comments I saw from Tiger fans on Twitter, this turn of events does not sit well with people in Detroit. But Twins fans seem to be happy with it.
This series was short, but there were was plenty to make us happy. Justin Morneau returned and mashed a home run. Brian Dozier continued his impressive debut with a three run bomb in the first game. And Trevor Plouffe somehow managed to hit homers in both games. Matt Capps earned his eighth save in as many attempts, which should up his trade value (make no mistake, the Twins will need to trade veterans this season). And they got another quality start from P.J. Walters.
They sorely needed it. As depressing as it is to see the Twins’ starting pitching stats, I feel the obligation to keep talking about them until things improve. Before today’s Walters-led victory, the Twins’ starters were 7-21 with a 6.59 ERA, last in the Majors in all three categories! They were also last in K/9 (4.92), HR/9 (1.76), and second to last in innings pitched (194). Perhaps saddest of all is the fact that the Twins’ starters were the only team with a negative WAR, a staggeringly-bad -0.4. Since WAR is roughly meant to be an estimate of how much better a player is than a AAA callup, the Twins’ starting staff as a whole is actually worse than a typical minor leaguer. Reality seems to confirm that, as Walters and Scott Diamond, the two players called up from AAA to make starts, have made the others look terrible with their competence.
On a more positive note, I got to see Luke Hughes play earlier this week. I live in Northern California, so it’s rare that I can catch a Twins game in person. But Sacramento has a AAA team, the River Cats, and their games are usually fairly fun to watch. I ended up going to the game at the last minute Monday night, and I found out that Luke Hughes was starting at second base. After being claimed by the A’s, Hughes was designated for assigment again, and this time he was not snatched up by another team, so Oakland sent him to Sacramento.
Unfortunately, it was not a good game for Hughes. He made an error at second base and was later thrown out of the game for arguing a called third strike. For the record, the pitched looked outside by a mile.