The 2016 MLB Winter Meetings are Here

The Winter Meetings are Here - or is it Twinter Meetings?

You can’t spell Winter Meetings without T-W-I-N-S!

Now, will the Minnesota Twins make a move, a big move, during the Winter Meetings that begin Monday, December 5th and run through Thursday, December 8th. The general managers from every team are all in one place so if any of them are interested in pursuing a trade, they just have to find that team’s GM, walk over to them and/or set up a meeting, if they haven’t already, and start talking. Let the rumors fly….

It’s no secret that the Minnesota Twins biggest need is pitching. It’s been their biggest need for quite some time. Now, they have some new minds at the top of the organization who have experience acquiring and developing pitching. New “modern” minds that will use any and every way possible to find and develop pitchers as quickly as possible.

If you’ve been ignoring or not paying attention to Minnesota Twins news since the 2016 season ended or even before that since they had the worst season in Twins franchise history, we’ll try to catch you up on everything Twins before the Winter Meetings get underway tomorrow morning.

You can “Be the GM,” if you will, by going to TwinsDaily.com and downloading the TwinsDaily 2017 Offseason Handbook for FREE, with the option of paying/donating to the authors for their efforts. It’s a fun, quick read (54 pages or so) filled with all the information you need to handle the offseason for the Minnesota Twins. The TwinsDaily.com staff give you a blueprint at the end of what they would do, letting you see the roster heading into the 2017 season. Then they encourage every reader to do their own Offseason Blueprint. Show us what you got!

Let’s get you caught up so you’re ready for the #TwinterMeetings tomorrow morning.

Front Office Twins

After a crazy Fall Classic that ended with Theo Epstein’s Chicago Cubs breaking their 108-year franchise curse, the offseason ramps up pretty quick. The Minnesota Twins were in cram mode for their offseason as they introduced their new leaders, Chief of Baseball Operations Derek Falvey and new General Manager Thad Levine.

They were cramming because they had to wait for the end of the World Series to introduce their new Baseball Operations leaders due to Falvey’s former team, the Cleveland Indians, being in the World Series. Right after their introductory press conference, they headed to the GM meetings with former interim GM Rob Antony to get up to speed on their new team so they can get a feel for the rest of the league.

Both Derek Falvey and Thad Levine are known for using every possible avenue to acquire and develop talent and, most of all, pitching. For the Twins organization, that will include the use of a lot more analytics than they’ve ever used before. They are stepping into the modern era of developing baseball players, joining together old school scouting with new school analysis.

That’s why this offseason could very well be the most interesting offseason in Twins history.

Forty Twins

Every year, each MLB franchise has to make some tough decisions on players they’ve developed for years to decide if they want to keep them in the organization or make them available in the Rule 5 Draft. The Twins are no different and, actually, might have some tougher decisions as they might need these guys sooner rather than later because of the state of the team.

Here are the 6 players added to the Twins 40-man roster: RHPs Fernando Romero & Felix Jorge, C Mitch Garver, OFs Daniel Palka & Zack Granite and SS Engelb Vielma. Could we see any of these guys at Target Field next season?

Both Mitch Garver and Daniel Palka reached AAA last season and Zack Granite won the Twins Minor League Player of the Year Award after a stellar season in AA. Felix Jorge reached AA and Fernando Romero reached High-A so the pitchers could be a couple seasons away still.

Catcher, Framed

As soon as free agency began, word got out that the Twins were interested in signing former Houston Astros catcher, Jason Castro. Other teams had shown interest in him as well. The Twins believe he can have a big “role in helping develop our pitching.”

It’s impressive that Falvey & Levine can beat out other teams to convince Jason Castro that the Twins are his best option. The terms of the deal probably helped a little. The signing of Jason Castro will help the Twins in multiple ways. Obviously, the signing fills a need at the catcher position. The key to this signing is how much it will help the pitching staff but, it’s also about the defense and what he does behind the plate for the pitchers with pitch-framing, game-planning and calling the game for his pitchers.

This reminds us of why Joe Mauer was once a great catcher. He played great defense, called a great game and he loved being in control of that part of the game and helping his pitchers. That’s a big part of why he was given the contract that a lot of fans complain about. Unfortunately, a concussion forced a move out of the catcher position. Where would this team be if they had a healthy Joe Mauer all this time? We’ll never know.

AnalyzeD

Defense is a big part of why teams win and why other teams lose. The better teams win because their defense prevents runs. The Twins have struggled to prevent runs and have actually helped teams by giving them more runs with bad defense.

The new regime will analyze each defensive position and see how they can improve it. Signing Jason Castro is one step in that direction. They need to be better on the left side of the infield and in left field. Byron Buxton has gold-glove caliber defense in center field and Max Kepler has the ability to be a good defensive outfielder. Will Miguel Sano be able to be an MLB caliber 3rd baseman in terms of defense? He has a lot of work to do to get there. Is Jorge Polanco going to stick at shortstop? We haven’t seen enough of him yet. His bat should keep him in the lineup somewhere, possibly 2nd base and then Eduardo Escobar would be back to starting at shortstop.

This is just another area the new regime will have to make their mark.

Nick, Big Leaguer?

Maybe the Twins won’t have to wait too long to get that starting shortstop they’ve been looking for for a long time. Nick Gordon has only reached the High-A level with the Fort Myers Miracle but, he was sent to the Arizona Fall League and was picked as one of baseball’s next sensations.

Next Big Leaguers - Nick Gordon

Next Big Leaguers: Nick Gordon

Ferrin’s take: “While there isn’t one standout tool, he does run well, he plays very solid defense at shortstop, he has a strong enough arm for the position and there are bat-to-ball skills that are going to allow him to transition into a typical top-of-the-order leadoff hitter.”

Trade Brian Dozier?

There could be a spot for Nick Gordon very soon, too. Brian Dozier is the player getting all the attention as a player the Minnesota Twins could very well trade during these Winter Meetings. We wrote our ‘Take on Trading Dozier in July when he was in the midst of an all out tear with the bat.

I doubt anyone wants to trade Brian Dozier. He’s good for the team in many ways: leadership, lineup, defense, contractually and off the field. That being said, the bottom line is this Twins team needs pitching and they might have to make a big sacrifice to change how their pitching has performed the last 5 or 6 seasons.

The Twins have said they would have to be “really inspired” to trade a player they feel they don’t have a replacement for right now. No one player in their system can replace 42 home runs, 104 runs scored, 99 runs batted in and 18 stolen bases who can be a leader in the clubhouse. That sounds like a veteran a winning team could definitely build around.

Old, New, Borrowed, Blue?

There’s been a lot of change to the Twins organization since the offseason began. This was expected with a new Chief Baseball Officer and a new General Manager.

First, the old, coaches Tom Brunansky and Butch Davis were relieved of their duties. Also leaving are Ron Gardenhire, who was hired as a bench coach by the Arizona Diamondbacks, and Bill Smith, who will leave the organization when his contract expires on January 31st.

Also, Terry Ryan was hired as a Special Assignment Scout by the Philadelphia Phillies. He will do the bulk of his major league coverage at Target Field, seeing “a lot of whoever comes through here. Obviously, I’ll see the Twins a lot, so that’s a good thing. This is a pretty good fit. I was fortunate a few teams had interest. I ended up in a pretty good spot.”

The new, so far, only consists of James Rowson, who was hired as the Twins new hitting coach on December 1st. The 40-year-old played for four seasons in the minors for the Mariners and the Yankees and then moved on to coaching starting with the Angels before moving on to the Yankees, Cubs and back to the Yankees as minor league hitting coordinator. He was the Cubs hitting coach for a season and a half from 2012-2013. Here’s some of what he said about coaching different players:

“I think you accentuate the positives. To do that you have to build a partnership with each guy and talk to them and see what they feel their positives are and you have some back-and-forth dialogue.”

It’ll be interesting to see what Mr. Rowson can do with the Twins young hitters.

Rule #5

The Twins cleared a spot on its 40-man roster by not tendering a contract to RP Yorman Landa. They did that so they would have room to select a player, with the first pick, in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday.

The Rule-5 Draft was put into place so teams couldn’t stockpile talent in the minors. Good to great players have been found through the Rule 5 Draft. Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente was a Rule 5 Draft pick back in 1954. Oops!

The last time the Twins had the first overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft was in 1999 and it was a great Rule 5 Draft for the Twins, maybe the greatest. In 1999, they picked RHP Jared Camp. Do you remember Jared Camp? No? Well, you may remember the guy they traded him for in a pre-arranged deal (with cash) with the Florida Marlins for the 2nd pick, an okay pitcher, Johan Santana.

Obviously, they’d love to have that kind of pick again. Last year’s draft had 7 players stay with their new teams all year. That’s a pretty high number considering a lot of the players available haven’t seen time in the majors.

Freedom!!!

Some pretty good players became free agents following the non-tender deadline. Tyson Ross, Ben Revere, Chris Carter and Seth Maness are now available to any team. You’d think a guy like Tyson Ross would see some interest from the Twins. He’s a former ace for the San Diego Padres. He was non-tendered because he had some shoulder issues in 2016, making only one start before having to undergo surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome.

That’s something the Twins are familiar with since Phil Hughes season ended mostly because of the same problem. Former Twins minor leaguer Deolis Guerra also had to have that operation done. It might take a decent amount to sign Tyson Ross but it also might be well worth it.

Alright, hopefully, we’ve caught you up with Twins news and you can now enjoy the Winter Meetings…or the Twinter Meetings.

Thanks for reading our ‘Takes. Now, please share your ‘Takes in the comments section, on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. That’s why we call it…

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TwinsTakes on the 2016 Minnesota Twins – Season Review

TwinsTakes on the 2016 Minnesota Twins - Season Review

The 2016 Minnesota Twins. It’s finally over.

The 2016 Minnesota Twins were the worst team in all of baseball and the worst team in the history of the Twins franchise. So yeah, it’s a good thing that it’s over. There’s not a lot of positives you can take from being the worst team in baseball. That We’ll try to find the few positives of having this kind of season. Look at the bottom of the cover picture, that’s the Twins 2016 season game-by-game with the upward lines (green) being wins and the downward lines (red) being losses. Don’t look too long, though. Depression might set in.

The Bad, The Worse and The Ugly

After an 83-79 season in 2015 where they missed the playoffs by 3 games, you’d think a team could build off that, right? For some reason, the 2016 Minnesota Twins couldn’t get it done. They couldn’t get out of a losing funk that started with the first series in Baltimore and would last for the majority of the season. It started badly. It got worse and it was ugly.

They’d end up losing their first 9 games. Surprisingly, the pitching wasn’t that bad in that stretch, at least collectively. They had a staff ERA of 4.20 in those games but the offense would only score a total of 14 runs in those 9 games. There is no possible way to win if you score 1.5 runs/game and give up 4.2 runs/game. Throw away that recipe. It doesn’t sound good or look good. I don’t want to know how it smells or tastes.

Most people considered the Twins season done after that start but I still had hope. I’m a positive person and with 153 games left in a season, I thought this team still had a chance to be competitive. They’d win their next 4 games in a row then proceed to win only 4 of their next 21 games. That 4-game winning streak would equal their longest winning streak of the season, something they’d do 2 more times. Their longest losing streak was 13 games. They would also have a 7-game and an 8-game losing streak to add to that opening season 9-game streak. That’s 37 losses right there.

Is it Contagious?

There’s a saying in baseball, “good hitting is contagious.” First of all, the word contagious rarely means anything good. If you hear someone might be or is contagious, you don’t usually run to that person and see what they have because it might be something good. “Hey, I heard you were contagious. What do you have? Dangit, now I’m sick and contagious, too.” So, when I think of the word contagious in baseball, I would think of something like bad hitting, bad pitching and losing.

It has been said a few times that “losing a disease.”* I believe losing is contagious. A losing team will find ways to lose. They’ll lose games in some of the craziest ways because they’ve been losing. If the slightest thing happens in a game to turn the tides, it’s like here we go again. You can see teams start to hang their heads. The good teams find ways to get over those things and stop losing.

"Losing is a disease" from The Natural

*”Hobbs, get back in here!”

This Twins team was in a losing funk most of the season, losing games they should have won for whatever reason. Was the reason because they were a losing team and just couldn’t get out of that losing mode?

If you look at the 1st month of the season, if the offense would’ve scored more than 3 runs a game, who knows what could’ve happened. After that first month, the Twins offense scored 642 runs in 138 games. That comes out to 4.65 runs per game. That’s enough to win games as long as you have good pitching but, as Twins fans know, the Minnesota Twins haven’t had good pitching for quite awhile now.

The 2016 Twins didn’t respond to one loss with a win until July 5th vs Oakland. It took until game 83, over half the season, for this team to not lose consecutive games after losing one game. The very next day they won consecutive series for the first time. Not surprisingly, that’s when they were playing their best baseball of the season. In the month of July, they went 15-11, scored 144 runs (5.54/game) and only gave up 111 runs (4.27/game.)

Talk about your outlier month of baseball

2016 Minnesota Twins Season Win/Loss Splits

If you kept watching all season long, you probably know what also happened about that time that might have gotten the team going a little before July. Brian Dozier began his historic career tear of hitting the baseball better than he ever has before.

History with a Bat

Think of this, through April & May, Brian Dozier was hitting .202/.294/.329 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 21 runs, 35 hits, 7 doubles, 5 home runs, 3 stolen bases and 18 walks with 35 strikeouts. That’s about as ugly as it gets from one of the players you are counting on to be productive and lead your team. It may have been historically bad, actually. I don’t want to look.

brian-dozier-2016-batting-splits-april-thru-may

Now look at the rest of his season:

Brian Dozier Monthly Splits from June 2016 to October 2016

In almost every month after that horrid start, he had almost the same numbers, if not more, as he had in the first TWO months of the season. He always had more extra-base hits, home runs and RBIs (minus July.) In 109 games, he scored 83 runs, had 130 hits with 28 doubles, 5 triples, 37 home runs, 82 RBIs and 15 stolen bases with 43 walks and 113 strikeouts. Too bad it came in the worst season of his team’s history. Could the Twins trade Brian Dozier after that kind of a comeback? Should they?

The Changing of the Guard

Depending on how you feel about this franchise and how it’s been managed since the ‘91 World Series, maybe this is what this team needed to finally make a change from the old school ways that may have put them in this mess in the first place.

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan was fired in July. Later, we found out the Twins were searching for a presidential-level executive who will have authority over all baseball decisions and that person would hire the next General Manager. Are the Twins finally making the move to the modern day development of a baseball organization? It appears so.

On October 3rd, the Twins announced the hiring of Derek Falvey as their new Chief Baseball Officer. Mr. Falvey comes from the Cleveland Indians organization of which he has been a part of for 9 years. Hired in 2007 as an intern, he assisted in amateur and international scouting for 3 years then spent 2011 as the assistant director of baseball operations. He was then named the director of baseball operations where he focused on player personnel and acquisitions. He held that role until he was named assistant GM last year.

He has helped the Indians in all areas of baseball operations and also assists manager Terry Francona and his staff on a daily basis. Francona has called him a rising star but the thing that should get Twins fans excited is when Francona said this, “Over the course of time, because he’s a hardworking kid, he made it his, probably his passion, to understand pitching and the delivery…”

Pitching is the Minnesota Twins greatest need and has been for a long time. It is why they’ve had to resort to signing free agent pitchers like Ricky Nolasco, Phil Hughes and Ervin Santana. Obviously, that hasn’t worked out well. Any Twins pitcher should be excited about this as well. They should all get a fresh start because they will be looked at from the perspective of new eyes of a person who has helped the Cleveland Indians achieve success with its pitchers in a variety of ways.

Closing Time

I’ve probably spent too much time talking about the 2016 Twins season. Now, you don’t have to go home but you can’t watch Twins baseball for awhile. Even though it was hard to watch Twins baseball this season, it was still Twins baseball and I’ll miss it until next April 3rd when they open the 2017 season at home against the Kansas City Royals.

Heck, I’ll miss it until Pitchers and Catchers report in February, until the winter meetings or until 5 days after the World Series ends and free agency begins sometime in the first week of November. This might be the most interesting offseason in Twins history because of the change at the top and what’s to come with a new General Manager, a new coaching staff, new acquisitions, possible trades and the beginning of a new era of Twins Baseball!

Thanks for reading our TwinsTakes! We’d love to see your TwinsTakes too so let us know what you think in the comments, on Twitter or on our facebook page.

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TwinsTakes on Trading Brian Dozier

Should the Minnesota Twins Trade Brian Dozier?

Should the Minnesota Twins Trade Brian Dozier?

I threw out a question the other day on Twitter asking if the Minnesota Twins should look into trading Brian Dozier while he’s hot. I got several responses ranging from absolutely to not a chance. Bear with me and see if you agree that Trading Brian Dozier might be a good thing for the Twins.

The Minnesota Twins are in a spot where they should think about improving this team in any way possible. They have prospects that are ready or very close to ready for a shot at significant playing time on the Twins roster.

One of them is Jorge Polanco and he’s been playing 2nd base for basically the entire time he’s been with the AAA club this season, 48 out of 49 games. The other game he started at SS and he had an error in that game. He has 5 errors at 2nd base this season.

He’s better defensively at 2nd base than he is at SS but that can probably be said about most shortstops since 2nd baseman are closer to 1st and they usually have more time to make a shorter throw to 1st than a SS does.

Brian Dozier was once the SS of the future for the Twins not that long ago. He couldn’t handle the position defensively so he was moved to 2nd base and he became a great player. He just had a historic stretch in June where he had an extra-base hit in 11 straight games to set a franchise record for the Minnesota Twins.

In 27 games during the month of June, he hit .369/.435/.728 going 38-for-103 (115 PAs) with 19 of those hits going for extra bases (9 doubles, 2 triples and 8 HRs) with 19 runs scored, 3 stolen bases, 11 walks and 14 strikeouts. He was also hit by a pitch. He has started to hit the ball the other way, too.

There’s other reasons the Twins might want to try to trade #2…uhhh…too. He’s 29. He’s struggled in the 2nd half of the last two seasons. Some of that is likely due to injuries. I guess the big question is, should the Twins be trying to build around a 29-year old 2nd baseman?

That’s not the only question, though. Add in the way the Twins have played for the majority of this season. Their record has eliminated them from making anything out of this season. Doesn’t that mean they should see if the prospects are ready to make the jump?

Brian Dozier should have a lot of trade value right now because of the way he hit the ball in June. The Twins could take advantage of that and try to help a weakness, presumably pitching since that is obviously their biggest problem right now. But, of course, you try to get any kind of great prospect in a trade. The Twins have needs at other spots, too. Catcher and shortstop are certainly areas they could use a high-end prospect in, especially someone who’s almost ready.

The Other Side of the Argument

You know, the side that says the Minnesota Twins should not trade Brian Dozier and build the team around him. I get that side, too. He’s a top of the order bat with power who can steal bases, play above average defense and is one of the best baserunners in the league. He’s only 29 years old in only his 5th season in the Major Leagues and he’s on a team friendly contract for the next two seasons. He’s also becoming a leader on this team, is a great teammate and is great for the organization on & off the field.

Also, there’s the argument that the Twins need some veterans on this team. You can’t just go 100% youth movement. Sometimes that youth doesn’t work out or it takes a little longer for them to adjust to the major leagues. So, you’d have a veteran at 2nd base with Dozier, a veteran at 1st base with Mauer, an available veteran at 3rd with Plouffe (if he’s not traded) and a veteran at SS in either Nunez or Escobar.

If you take Dozier out of that mix, does it make a huge difference? It’s hard to say without actually seeing it happen and, obviously, without knowing what other moves the Twins could make in the next few weeks. If they move Trevor Plouffe, Eduardo Nunez, Kurt Suzuki, Ervin Santana and Ricky Nolasco, that leaves a very young team.

The oldest infielder would be Joe Mauer. The oldest outfielder would be Robbie Grossman. The catcher would be Juan Centeno or John Ryan Murphy. The oldest starting pitcher would be Phil Hughes then Kyle Gibson. The oldest relief pitcher would be Glen Perkins (if healthy) then Brandon Kintzler.

Now if you trade all of those guys but don’t trade Brian Dozier, you still have a veteran leader in the infield for the next two seasons.

The Bottom Line

For me, it all comes down to if the Minnesota Twins can be competitive in the next two seasons, with or without Brian Dozier on the team. A bad 2016 makes it appear difficult to compete in 2017 but a good finish in the next 75 games could make that change. 2018 seems possible but, by that time, you would also think Jorge Polanco has shown if he can be a starter for this team. Also, prospects you get in trades could play into 2018.

My opinion is trade anyone and everyone except Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler, Trevor May, Tyler Duffey and Jose Berrios. The Twins should be Open for Business, listening to any and every offer presented to them as they’ve said they are.

What are your TwinsTakes on the Minnesota Twins Trading Brian Dozier?

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TwinsTakes Game Recap – Twins at Oakland – June 1st, 2016

TwinsTakes Game Recap - Minnesota Twins at Oakland Athletics - June 1st, 2016

Can the Twins win today and earn their first winning road trip of the season?

The Minnesota Twins closed out a 6-game road trip Wednesday afternoon. Pat Dean started for the Twins while Sean Manaea started for the Oakland Athletics. Pat Dean has been pitching very well since getting the opportunity to start. He was pretty good in his relief but allowed more hits in those appearances. He’s also been striking out more batters than expected as he’s not been a high strikeout pitcher since he was in the rookie leagues in 2010 and that’s mostly because he was a 21-year-old getting his feet wet as a professional pitcher in the short season leagues.

LHP Sean Manaea is a former 1st round pick of the Kansas City Royals. He helped them win the World Series by being the main piece in the Ben Zobrist trade. He was called up to the major leagues on April 29th when RHP Chris Bassitt went down with a strained right elbow. He took that spot in the starting rotation and has kept it. His first few starts were kind of rough but he’s righted the ship somewhat, going past the 6th inning in each of his last three starts. He’s been a strikeout pitcher in the minors but hasn’t developed into that kind of pitcher yet with the big club.

Minnesota Twins 1, Oakland Athletics 5
W-Manaea (2-3)L-Dean (1-2)
2B-Dozier (8)

Pat Dean wasn’t the same pitcher he’s been in his last two appearances but some plays maybe should’ve been made to help him get out of a couple jams. Sean Manaea’s final line of 6IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 4 BB and 8 strikeouts looks better than it was because the Twins can’t get a big hit to save their lives. They were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position (RISP) for the game and are now 83-for-380 for the season or a sparkling .218. They had the bases loaded with no outs in the 6th and all they got was their one run on a sacrifice fly.

Should we be frustrated about that? Well, it’s hard not to but, at least the Twins are putting themselves in those situations. Now, they just need to figure out how to actually start getting hits with runners on so they can capitalize in those spots. They are trying to do too much and wind up with nothing from those key at-bats.

Oakland is hot right now and the Twins did nothing to put out that fire. It’s somewhat crazy to see former Twin, 3B Danny Valencia, hitting the ball like he is right now. He’s locked in at the plate and it isn’t just against the Twins. They are just the latest victim. He’s now hitting .346/.380/.579 with 5 doubles 1 triple, 8 HRs and 21 RBIs with 8 walks and 24 strikeouts.

Up Next

The Twins have 10 straight games at home starting with 4 against the Tampa Bay Rays starting on Thursday night with:

Phil Hughes (1-7) vs Matt Moore (2-3) – Thursday at 7:10pm
Ricky Nolasco (2-3) vs Jake Odorizzi (2-3) – Friday, June 3rd at 7:10pm
Ervin Santana (1-4) vs Matt Andriese (3-0) – Saturday at 3:10pm
Tyler Duffey (2-4) vs Drew Smyly (2-7) – Sunday at 1:10pm

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TwinsTakes Game Recap – Twins at Oakland – May 31st, 2016

TwinsTakes Game Recap - Minnesota Twins at Oakland Athletics - May 31st, 2016

Can the Twins get back in the win column and start a new winning streak?

Winning 4 out of their last 5 games, the Minnesota Twins look to get back in the win column with Tyler Duffey on the mound. The majority of the Athletics have never faced the Twins young pitcher so will Tyler get them off-balance with the combination of his fastball and his curveball?

Eric Surkamp starts for the Oakland A’s. He’s made 5 starts this season and has only pitched past the 5th inning once and in his last two starts, he’s given up 10 runs including 3 HRs and raised his ERA from 3.68 to 6.55. This is actually his 3rd call-up to the A’s this season with 4 of his starts coming at the beginning of the season, one coming on May 11 and he was recalled today for tonight’s start.

Of course, the big news for this game is the Return of Byron Buxton, who was recalled by the Minnesota Twins last night after the Twins found out Danny Santana injured his left hamstring in yesterday’s game.

What Should We Expect This Time?

Byron Buxton was sent down to AAA Rochester on April 25th after hitting just .156/.208/.289 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with 5 runs, 7 hits, 4 doubles, 1 triple, 2 RBIs, 2 stolen bases and 2 walks with 24 strikeouts in 45 at-bats during 17 games at the beginning of the season. Since he’s been down at AAA, he’s changed his swing mechanics and he started hitting right from the 1st game down there and he never stopped. In 29 games at AAA, Byron Buxton hit .336/.403/.603 with 39 hits, 9 doubles, 2 triples, 6 home runs, 14 RBIs, 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts with 11 walks and 26 strikeouts while scoring 26 runs. BOOM! WOW! Will he be able to do that up with the big boys now?

The Twins opened the scoring with back-to-back doubles from Robbie Grossman and Byung Ho Park in the top of the 2nd inning but Oakland would tie it up in the bottom of the 2nd on a Billy Burns triple that got past Miguel Sano and as he turned to his left to chase the ball, he started limping a little. He would take his next at-bat and be safe running out a double play ball but come up lame and be replaced by Oswaldo Arcia. It turned out to be a left hamstring strain. Sano was put on the 15-Day DL and the Minnesota Twins recalled OF Max Kepler from AAA Rochester. That’s the same injury that forced Danny Santana to be placed on the 15-Day DL after Monday’s game.

Danny Valencia has been on a bit of a tear lately and he was none too shy to show his former team how he’s been hitting. Danny had a couple big hits for the A’s in this game. He hit a 2-run HR (8) to right field in the 3rd that gave his team at 3-2 lead and then he hit a double (3) in the 5th that gave his team the lead again at 4-3. He’s now hitting .333/.370/.558 for the season.

Robbie Grossman did all he could do to keep the Twins in the game, doubling in the 2nd (then scoring the 1st run), 5th (knocking in the tying run) and 8th innings (later scoring to bring the game within 1 run.) Unfortunately, the Twins couldn’t come up with a big hit and couldn’t hold a lead. You can’t win that way.

Tyler Duffey had a rough night tonight to go along with his last two starts. He gave up 10 hits tonight in 4.2 innings. That means, in his last 3 starts, he has an 8.47 ERA and a 1.88 WHIP. Phil Hughes might not be in the bullpen long in that keeps up.

FINAL
Minnesota Twins 4, Oakland Athletics 7
W-Dull (1-0) L-Duffey (2-4) S-Axford (1)
2B-Grossman (4,5,6), Park (7), Nunez (10), Buxton (5)

The Good

Eduardo Nunez, Joe Mauer, Robbie Grossman and Kurt Suzuki had multiple hits in tonight’s game. Byung Ho Park had a an RBI double to put the Twins in the lead in the 2nd inning. Byron Buxton looked better at the plate and hit a double but still struck out twice. We’ll see how he does tomorrow afternoon.

The Bad

Trevor Plouffe finished the month of May hitting .213/.231/.280 with 2 doubles, 1 HR, 5 RBIs and 2 walks with 14 strikeouts. Is it injury related? It could be. He may deserve some slack on the injury front. On that note, he was starting to get on a roll in April when he went down with a right intercostal strain. He even had it going a little bit in May about 4 games after being activated but he’s in the midst of a 4-for-32 slump with those 4 hits all being singles. He also has zero walks and 8 strikeouts over that 9 game span.

The Milestone, The Trivia, The Interesting?
With his hit in the top of the 9th inning,

Up Next:
MN-Pat Dean (1-1, 3.43 ERA) vs OAK-Sean Manaea (1-3, 7.03 ERA)
2:30pm-FSN

Can Pat Dean keep up the good/great pitching and get the Twins a winning road trip before they go home for 10 games?

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