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Article: Can Aaron Hicks Be Fixed?

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 04:03 PM
One of the more critical openings the Minnesota Twins will have this year is in center field. If all goes well, that job will be Aaron Hi...
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Punto vs Nunez

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:53 PM
Punto was just released by the A's.  Should the Twins continue their welcome back tour and bring Punto back as the 2nd back up middl...
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Article: Twins Non-Roster Spring Training Invites

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 03:50 PM
On Friday afternoon, the Twins announced that they invited 18 non-roster players to Major League Spring Training. Among others, top prosp...
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Mike Quade Named Rochester Manager

Twins Minor League Talk Today, 03:47 PM
This morning, the Rochester Red Wings announced that former Chicago Cubs manager Mike Quade has accepted the job as manager of the team....
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2014-2015 MLB Offseason Moves Thread

MLB Baseball Today, 03:47 PM
First "big" trade of the offseason went down today with Adam Lind moving from the Blue Jays to the Brewers for Marco Estrada in a move th...
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Recent Blogs


The Pitchin' Has Been Bitc... Good.

Attached Image: pitchin.jpg With Joe Mauer having a big series and an outstanding pitching performance on the mound from a guy named Johan, er, Yohan Thursday night, I’m sure more than a few Twins fans (myself included) were imitating Robin Williams’ character in Jumanji, yelling “What year is it!?”, much to the chagrin to those in close proximity.

The year is 2014, and by all accounts the question is somewhat justified. The Royals are coming off a ten-game winning streak and are challengers in the AL Central, the Tigers schizophrenic while Justin Verlander’s ERA approaches 5.00, and the Twins are only five games out of first place through the end of June. No, I promise the date on your watch/phone/newspaper is correct.

Did I mention the Twins starting rotation has posted five quality starts last week?

Yes, that includes Kevin Correia.

Twice.

In fact, it was Correia’s start on Monday in Boston that got the train rolling. He pitched six innings giving up just one run and one walk while allowing five hits, the fewest he’s given up since May 20th against the Padres. Then he matched those numbers on Saturday.

While his strikeout count leaves a little to be desired (42 over 84.1 innings) he does have a K/BB ratio over two and has only allowed eight HRs, tying him with the likes of Gerrit Cole and Doug Fister. His last few starts are evidence he’s getting his act together, lowering his ERA month by month and seems to be returning to his 4.23 ERA back-of-the- rotation self from yesteryear.

Next up last week was Phil Hughes. Do we really need to talk about Phil Hughes? The dude has been lights out for most of the season. He leads the majors in walks per 9 IP (0.8, he’s twelfth in WAR (2.2) and eighth in WHIP (1.13) in the AL, plus he already has 2/3 of his strikeout total from last year (82/121) in about half as many games started. His win percentage is higher than it’s been since 2009 and is tied for seventh in wins in MLB.

The Twins concluded the series in Boston on Wednesday by losing in extra innings, cinching the sweep for the Red Sox. The offense was stagnant as it was all series, notching a total of two runs on eleven hits thus wasting a brilliant start by Kyle Gibson.

Earlier in the season there were some question marks surrounding Gibson but he appears to have called Stella (or run into Aaron Gleeman at Stella’s) and gotten his groove back. In his last three starts Gibby has been downright dominant, not allowing a run (21 IP) while giving up just nine hits and five walks while striking out sixteen, including a career high eight punch outs Wednesday in Boston. You can almost hear the raspy, metallic voice of Darth Vader uttering “Impressive…” Gibson’s 1.74 K/BB is a little concerning but he also has the tenth best batting average against in the American League at .228, right behind Sonny Gray, so whatever he’s been doing let’s hope he keeps it up.

Continuing the Twins quality start streak on Thursday night was Yohan Pino, a thirty-year-old (don’t scoff, he’s about six months younger than Samuel Deduno) career minor leaguer making his major league debut. If you have been paying any attention to the Twins' minor league system this year you are probably aware of Pino’s exploits at AAA Rochester. In fourteen appearances, (including seven starts as Scott Diamond floats away on his ballooning 6.68 ERA) Yohan has a 9-1 record, 1.93 ERA, 0.934 WHIP and a K/BB ratio of 61:16. While some argue that Trevor May deserved the call up it’s hard to argue with those numbers.

It's even harder to argue with the numbers he put up Thursday night against the White Sox in Target Field. Pino started off his major league career with back-to-back strikeouts of Adam Eaton and Gordon Beckham and cruised for most of the night, aside from a two-run hiccup in the third inning on his way to an exceptional first impression in a Twins uniform, going seven innings giving up five hits, two earned runs and one walk while striking out seven.

Optimism is at an all-time high for the newest addition to the rotation but expectations do need to be held in check. After all, there was another pitcher sporting the number 63 on the mound last year for the Twins who had fantastic starts in his first two outings. He now pitches in Korea.

With Hughes and Gibson looking like long term options in the starting rotation and a AAA affiliate brimming with skillful prospect arms chomping at the bit to make it to “the show” it’s hard not to feel good about the future of this club, especially when pitching has been the main problem during a streak of ninety loss seasons.
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Originally posted on twinsandlosses.com



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