Minnesota Twins Sunday Wrap-Up: The Good, Bad, and Ugly from Week 4
By Otto Johnson
The Minnesota Twins moved through the week with only two losses, but questions about the lineup and rotation abound.
There was some good, some bad, and some downright ugly for the Minnesota Twins this week, but the team still managed to win four of their six games against two struggling teams. The bullpen and half of the rotation looked very good, while the rest looked average at best.
It was still an improvement over last week, but as good as the team was last year, we still aren’t seeing the juggernaut we expected. We dig into that, and more, as we break down yet another week of Twins baseball.
The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and more from Minnesota Twins Week 4:
- Before his rough outings in the doubleheader, Byron Buxton absolutely tore up the Brewers and Royals with his bat and glove, and it was so good to see him playing up to his potential. If he really gets going, the rest of the league should watch out.
- Similar to Buxton, Mitch Garver also wasn’t great in the doubleheader, but he did earn four hits in two games against the Brewers, his first hits since August 2nd. He and Miguel Sano finally got their bats moving a little bit, which is very needed.
- Randy Dobnak and Kenta Maeda continue to deal, with both pitchers earning another win. Dobnak leads the MLB in ERA, while Maeda has the perfect record. Here’s the season-long stat line for the pair:
- Dobnak: 3-1, 0.90 ERA, 11 K-5 BB
- Maeda: 3-0, 2.66 ERA, 21 K-4 BB
- Both pitchers currently sit in the top 5 of ESPN’s Cy Young Predictor (Dobnak is 3, Maeda is 4), and if you even act like you thought that would happen, you’re a total liar. Four starts into the year, they look like the real deal.
- Lastly, Nelson Cruz is now on a four game hitting streak and leads the Twins in every single offensive category outside of WAR and stolen bases. The 40-year-old marvel continues to dominate, and honestly we’re glad someone’s bat is going.
- The Minnesota Twins lineup has forgotten how to score. If you take away the Twins’ 12 run outburst on Wednesday, the Twins scored 16 runs over 5 games (3.2 runs per game). That mark would rank them dead last in the MLB over a full season. Yikes.
- The lineup isn’t the only group that needs to get it together. Outside of Maeda and Dobnak, the rotation has been a mess, as bullpen games and short starts from Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi has put a strain on the bullpen. The two All-Star starters need to step up.
- Taylor Rogers has got to get it together. The Twins closer allowed 5 Hits, 2 Runs, while throwing sixty pitches over just three innings. For a bullpen that’s generally been very good, Rogers has looked out of sync.
- Josh Donaldson, who has been out since July with a calf injury is slowly improving, but still doesn’t have a timetable for a return. He would definitely help the lineup figure out how to hit, but he may not return until late August.
- To start the ugly, how about going 1-2 against the worst team in the division and scoring just eight runs across three games this week. The Royals are 4-1 against the Twins and 5-11 against every other team. This cannot continue.
- The Minnesota Twins have been struggling to hit from day one, but the team has reached a new low now that their team batting average has sunk to .244. For reference, last year they hit .270. Ouch.
Injured List, Transactions, Notes, and More
- Cory Gearrin was called up to replace Sean Poppen, pitched two shutout innings, then was sent back down to the alternate training site for Zack Littell, who came off the IL and pitched his own shutout inning on Saturday.
- The Twins traded for Ildemaro Vargas over the week, and sent Willians Astudillo to the alternate training site. We broke down the trade and why it was a good one here.
- Lastly, Aaron Whitefield was sent outright off the 60-Man roster and to the minors on Monday, meaning he will be unable to return to the Minnesota Twins this season. A surprise inclusion on the original thirty man roster, Whitefield appeared in just three games as a pinch runner/hitter.
Around the AL Central: Taking a Look at the Minnesota Twins Rivals
- Cleveland Indians (12-9): After a 3-2 week, where the Indians continued to beat up bad teams and lose to good teams, Cleveland sits just one game back of the Twins. Despite two of their star pitchers breaking protocol, the pitching continues to dominate with the best ERA and strikeout numbers in the AL.
- Detroit Tigers (9-9): The Tigers missed two games they were supposed to play against the Cardinals, but a 2-4 week sunk them behind the Indians and into third place in the division. It was fun while it lasted, but the hot bats are returning to normal and the Tigers can’t stay afloat.
- Chicago White Sox (10-11): The White Sox played lost both games of a doubleheader Saturday against the Cardinals in their first games back after the COVID-19 outbreak. The team lost 4-6 this week, but remains just three games out. If their pitching finds consistency, be ready.
- Kansas City Royals (9-12): The Royals went 3-2 this week, keeping them right with the rest of the division, as their lights-out bullpen and decent offense have been surprising. If the rotation can even be serviceable, don’t count the Royals out for the expanded playoff bracket (they’re just a couple games out of a spot).
Around the MLB: Looking at Minnesota Twins-related news around the league.
- The Cincinnati Reds had a positive COVID test, leading to their games on Saturday and Sunday postponed. The hope is they can be back on the field by Monday, and that it doesn’t take a big chunk of time like it did for the Cardinals.
- Former Minnesota Twins RHP Ryne Harper (Washington Nationals) and RHP Blake Parker (Philadelphia Phillies) were called up to the roster, while RHP Mike Morin (Miami Marlins) went on the IL.
- Meanwhile, RHP Aaron Slegers (Tampa Bay Rays) was sent down to the alternate training site and 1B Logan Morrison (Milwaukee Brewers) declined to go to the alternate training site and elected free agency.
- Lastly, and most unfortunately, C.J. Cron announced he would be undergoing season-ending knee surgery. The former Twins first baseman had already hit four homers in 13 games and had been a positive player for the Tigers, so it was a very tough decision for him.