Let’s be glad last week is over. Even judging by the standards of the worst team in the American League this one was a stinker. With Denard Span and Ben Revere on the shelf most of the week, the rest of the Twins’ offense evidently decided to take some time off as well. In six games, Minnesota scored a total of 20 runs. If you ignore last Monday’s nine run outburst, the team averaged just north of two runs per game. The end result was a series loss at home against the Tigers followed by an embarrassing sweep against the lowly Mariners.
On the plus side, last week witnessed the Twins debuts of Pedro Florimon and Matt Carson. Both played well this weekend, but neither is likely to be more than a role player for the Twins over the long run. Alas, that’s the best news in this edition of TWIT, because the Twins are stuck in a heavy malaise.
Coming up this week: three games in Oakland against the 65-55 Athletics and four games in the sweltering Texas heat against the Rangers, who are currently 70-50. Since the Twins’ top two hottest both pitched this weekend, they’ll be sending the dregs of the rotation to face the A’s, so that series could be a bloodbath. Scott Diamond and Samuel Deduno will both pitch in the Ranger series, but Texas is always a strong hitting club. In short, the Twins will be lucky to come out of this week with more than a pair of victories.
Twins Goals for the Week Ahead:
1. Score Some Runs! You know how many runs the Twins scored in Seattle? Six. Sure, the Mariners are a decent pitching team, but it’s not as if the Twins ran into Felix Hernandez. No, instead they were stymied by such pitching legends as Hisashi Iwakuma and Blake Beavan. Can they manage a few hits against the great Dan Straily in Oakland? Stay tuned.
2. Make a Decision on Span. Denard Span injured himself over a week ago in a game against Tampa. He’s been “day to day” since then. He’s already missed more than half the time he would need to spend on the 15 day Disabled List, and the Twins have been prevented from calling up another hitter (like Chris Parmelee). Yes, things are going exactly according to the plans of Twins head trainer Dr. Nick Riviera.
3. Make a Rotation Change. Aside from Diamond, who is a consistent starter, and Deduno, who is inexplicably effective, the Twins’ starters have been getting knocked around lately. It’s time to shorten the leash. The next time a Twins’ starter has a bad start, they should consider promoting Esmerling Vasquez or Liam Hendriks from AAA.
Joe Mauer. Mauer was the best hitter on a slumping team this week, going 8-24 (.333) with a home run. He even stole a base, once again proving that he can do it all.
Deduno. Deduno raked in a win on Monday, and he would have won on Sunday if the Twins were capable of scoring. He notched two quality starts and pitched a total of 13 innings with five earned runs (3.46 ERA). He also walked 11 batters in those 13 innings, which leaves us wondering how exactly he manages to not get shelled every start.
Jared Burton. It was tough to find winners this week. Burton pitched a scoreless inning in a tight game on Saturday, and he didn’t do anything to mess up the rest of the week, so he makes the list.
Nick Blackburn. Friday was another discouraging start for Blackburn, who dug a two run hole in the first inning and went on to allow five in the loss. He finished the game with an ERA of 7.39. If he were to end his season today, that number would tie him with Jim Deshaies (1994) for the worst ERA ever by a Twins’ pitcher with at least 80 innings pitched.
Trevor Plouffe. Hopefully Plouffe is just suffering the after-effects of his thumb injury and he’ll snap out of it soon. But whatever the cause, he has been ice cold at the plate. Last week, Plouffe was just 1 for 22.
Alexi Casilla. Brian Dozier was demoted, but the team still managed to bench Casilla two games this weekend, another sign that they don’t have much confidence in Casilla for the future. He went 2 for 14 at the plate.