Week in Review: Wasted Starts
Image courtesy of Jennifer Buchanan, USA TODAY
Weekly Snapshot: Mon, 5/21 through Sun, 5/27
Record Last Week: 2-4
Run Differential Last Week: +1 (Overall -20)
Standings: 3rd place in AL Central (3.5 GB)
AKA, the pitchers.
The Twins pitching staff has done the seemingly impossible this year by not being a total liability. In fact, of late they have actually been pretty good. It seems they were sparked by the promotion of Fernando Romero, who has been lights-out over his first five starts.
The Twins rotation put out five quality starts in the six games this week. Overall, the starters combined for a 2.68 ERA over 40 1/3 innings pitched with 34 strikeouts and just six walks.
Jose Berrios has returned to form with two more excellent starts this week. On Monday against the Tigers, Berrios gave up just two runs over eight innings while striking out nine. He followed that up with another gem on Sunday, this time giving up two runs over 7 1/3 with eight strikeouts.
On Tuesday night, Lance Lynn had his best start in a Twins uniform. He looked sharp all night and most importantly he looked like he finally had control of his pitches. Lynn’s control has been a lot better going back a few starts. So far in May, he is walking just 3.1 batters per nine innings, down from the 8.75 he averaged in April.
As good as the rotation was this week, the bullpen was even better. Overall, they combined to give up just two runs across 12 innings, and they did it with 14 strikeouts and just one walk.
Even though he gave up the walk-off home run to Mike Zunino on Saturday night, Matt Magill continues to impress. So far this year Magill has worked 14 1/3 innings and given up three runs and walked just one hitter.
AKA, the hitters.
As great as Twins pitching was this week, the hitters were equally awful. They managed to score just 16 runs all week and just six over the current four-game losing streak.
What made the Twins offense so great during the second half of last season was the constant production they were getting up and down the lineup. So far this year that hasn’t been the case.
Brian Dozier hasn’t been anywhere near the All-Star level player that he was over the last few seasons. Miguel Sano finally returned to the lineup Friday night, but he hasn’t had all that special of a season when healthy as his OPS hovers around .700.
What’s really killing this team is the bottom of the order has turned into an almost guaranteed 1-2-3. Ehire Adrianza is batting just .214 with basically no power, and a below average walk rate. Bobby Wilson, who has been getting quite a bit of playing time since the Jason Castro injury, is just 4-for-28.
However, the biggest hole in the lineup has come from Byron Buxton. Entering play on Sunday, Buxton had a wRC+ of 4, which ranked 312th out of the 313 MLB hitters with at least 80 plate appearances this year. That was before another 0-for-3.
The big news of the week came Sunday afternoon when the Twins parted ways with Phil Hughes by trading him to the San Diego Padres. Minnesota also sent the 74th pick in next week's draft to the Padres in exchange for Janigson Villalobos and $7.25 million in relief off the Hughes contract.
The timetable on the return of Ervin Santana seemed to get pushed back yet again. Santana’s velocity has been down, sitting mostly in the upper 80s. As a result, Santana will make his next start down in Fort Myers.
Trevor May seems set to make his long awaited return to the Twins next week when he is eligible to come off the 60-Day DL. In what will likely by his last rehab start on Sunday, May worked just 2 2/3 and gave up seven earned runs.
DOWN ON THE FARM
Nick Gordon received his much-anticipated promotion to AAA Rochester this week, and it's well-deserved, as Gordon had been hitting the cover off the ball for Chattanooga this year. In his 181 plate appearances with the Lookouts, Gordon had a .333/.381/.525 slash line with five home runs. He was also 7 for 9 on stolen base attempts, and was striking out just 15% of the time.
Twins top prospect Royce Lewis broke out of a mini slump on Sunday afternoon, belting two home runs in game one of Cedar Rapids' doubleheader. He also made this spectacular running grab Saturday night, showing off just how much range he has, and why many people believe he will make it as a center fielder if he can’t stay at short.
Brent Rooker also had a big week. Heading into play on Sunday, Rooker had a .400/.478/.950 slash line with three home runs and two doubles.
The Twins will finish up their road trip with a three-game series in Kansas City starting on Monday. This will be just the first time the Twins get to face the Royals this year. They will then return home to take on the Cleveland Indians in a big four-game set.
MONDAY, 5/28: TWINS @ ROYALS – RHP Lance Lynn v. RHP Jakob Junis
TUESDAY, 5/29: TWINS @ ROYALS – RHP Kyle Gibson v. LHP Danny Duffy
WEDNESDAY, 5/30: TWINS @ ROYALS – RHP Fernando Romero v. RHP Brad Keller
THURSDAY, 5/31: INDIANS @ TWINS – RHP Carlos Carrasco v. RHP Jake Odorizzi
FRIDAY, 6/1: INDIANS @ TWINS – RHP Trevor Bauer v. RHP Jose Berrios
SATURDAY, 6/2: INDIANS @ TWINS – RHP Adam Plutko v. RHP Lance Lynn
SUNDAY, 6/3: INDIANS @ TWINS – RHP Mike Clevinger v. RHP Kyle Gibson
Catch Up On Twins Daily Game Recaps
- Game 43 | MIN 4, DET 2: It’s All Coming Up Rosie
- Game 44 | MIN 6, DET 0: Lynn Shows Will to Win
- Game 45 | DET 4, MIN 1: Niko’s Revenge
- Game 46 | SEA 2, MIN 1: Paxton Outduels Romero
- Game 47 | SEA 4, MIN 3: Zuni-Not Again
- Game 48 | SEA 3, MIN 1: Worst Birthday Ever
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