Their series in Chicago was like watching two minor league teams. Although bad pitching ruled the day, with each team scoring around 20 runs in the three games, both lineups also squandered plenty of other opportunities to score. They combined for 6 errors, and that didn’t include a myriad of other sloppy plays.
The Twins scraped one win out of the deal, though they could have easily won two. They blew a four-run lead on April 2nd thanks to an uncharacteristically erratic performance from closer Glen Perkins, an errant throw home from Trevor Plouffe, and a weird outing from Samuel Deduno. The strange way the game ended – a bunt single by Chicago shortstop Leury Garcia, a balk that sent him to second, and two wild pitches that ultimately led to his scoring – was characteristic of how haphazardly they played all game.
Deduno, sadly, was Deduno. When his pitches were on, they were on – great movement, great control. But when they were off…he cost the Twins the game. He redeemed himself with a decent inning in their 7-2 win over Cleveland on April 5th.
Unexpectedly, the playoff-hopeful Indians looked worse than the rebuilding White Sox. They easily handled the Twins 7-2 in their home opener before falling to them 7-3 and 10-7 over the next two games. Yesterday Justin Masterson, their best starting pitcher, surprisingly got shelled for 6 runs in 3 and 2/3 innings. Looks like the Twins aren’t the only AL Central team with a shaky rotation.
At this point the most impressive thing about the Twins is that their lineup is producing. They scored 6+ runs in 4 of their first 6 games. Their offense is coming from some unlikely sources, including Kurt Suzuki (.429, 5 RBI), independent league castaway Chris Colabello (.391, 11 RBI), and returning veteran Jason Kubel (.412, 4 RBI). Of the young players that need to make an impact, only Trevor Plouffe (.391, 5 RBI) is looking good. If they want to keep up this offensive streak prospects Oswaldo Arcia, Aaron Hicks, and especially Brian Dozier need to step up.
Although sometimes sketchy, the Twins pitching was better than anticipated. Supposedly big free-agent signing Ricky Nolasco looked like the back end of the rotation starter he’s always been, losing both his starts and giving up 10 runs in as many innings. Sure, he’s expected to surrender 3-5 runs a game, but the hope was that he’d eat more innings. Hughes (4 earned runs in 5 innings), Pelfrey (3 earned runs in 5 innings) and Correia (2 earned runs in 6 innings) pitched about as well as they’re advertised to, perhaps a little better. #5 starter Kyle Gibson looked the most impressive, though, holding the Indians to 1 run on 3 hits through 5.
This week the Twins face two beatable teams, the Oakland Athletics and the Kansas City Royals, at home. If they can win one of the two series I’ll be happy. Hopefully pitcher-friendly Target Field will help their rotation and not slow their bats down too much.
Erik Ritland is a writer and musician from St. Paul, Minnesota. His blog and podcast Rambling On features commentary on music, sports, culture, and more. He is also a contributor for Minnesota culture blog Curious North. Support Erik's music via his Patreon account, reach him via email, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.