When I listened to the Twins radio broadcast of their game against the Astros on Sunday while waterproofing my deck I found it amusing that Dan Gladden and Cory Provus seemed to be making fun of the Astros high strikeout total this season. I guess they both forgot that the Twins batters are no slouches themselves when it comes to not making bat contact. As of this morning Astros batters have struck out 1,034 times in 110 games, that averages out to 9.4 KO’s per game. The White Sox follow with 925 strike outs, the Red Sox have 909 strike outs and the Twins are next with 902 strike outs for an average of 8.4 per game. Had Willingham not gotten injured and Hicks played a full season in Minnesota the Twins might put up a serious challenge to Houston. Even without Willingham and Hicks the Twins are on pace to strikeout 1,356 times this season and blow away their previous team strikeout record of 1,121 that the 68-94 Twins of 1997 set.
On the good news side we have the Twins grounding into a total of only 60 double plays, the fewest in the league. The Orioles have the next fewest with 68.
Although the Twins seldom hit into double plays, stealing bases is not one of their strength’s as they have pilfered just 36 bases, only the Tigers with 29 and the Mariners with 35 have less.
The Twins OBP this season is .312. The Tigers and the Red Sox at .345 have the best OBP and as you might guess the Astros .299 trail the pack. The league average is .320. The Twins best ever OBP was .357 in 1996 while a .299 OBP in 1968 is the lowest full season OBP in Twins history.
Opposing batters have found Twins pitchers to be their league favorites as they have compiled a .278 batting average against Minnesota’s chuckers. Oddly enough, Twins pitchers have only given up 102 long balls ranking second best in that category behind the 86 given up by the Tigers.
There was a lot of speculation leading into the July 31 trading deadline that a number of Twins would be calling a new zip code home. When the trading deadline passed the Twins had made only one trade and he wasn’t even on the Twins 25 man roster at the time when GM Terry Ryan sent catcher Drew Butera to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a player to be named later or cash. The non-waiver Major League trading deadline has been July 31st since the 1986 season. Apparently that date is not necessarily circled in red on the Twins calendar of things to do. As a matter of fact, between 2000-2013 no team has made fewer trades in July then the Twins have. In the past 14 July’s the Minnesota Twins have consummated 15 trades.
July trade activity by club from 2000-201339 – Pirates, Padres 37 – Red Sox 36 – Cubs 35 – Dodgers 31 – Yankees 29 – White Sox, Indians, Rockies 28 – Royals 27 – Reds, Giants 26 – Orioles, Astros, Mets, Rangers 25 – Phillies 24 – Mariners 23 – Diamondbacks, Braves 21 – Marlins, Brewers, Cardinals 20 – Nationals/Expos 17 – Tigers, A’s, Blue Jays 16 – Rays 15 – Twins, Angels
Back on July 15 the Twins sent Oswaldo Arcia, Eduardo Escobar and Chris Parmelee down to Rochester and the next day called up catcher Chris Herrmann and infielder Doug Bernier. Herrmann has been with the Twins off and on but it was a long-awaited return to the big leagues for Bernier who saw action in just two games in a brief stay with the
Colorado Rockies back in 2008. Bernier has been in the minors since 2002 and has over a 1,000 minor league games under his belt. Though his primary position is shortstop, Bernier has played all over the diamond including pitching a couple of times but he has not ever squatted behind the plate. Bernier has spent time in the Yankee and Pirates organizations before hooking up with the Twins this past February. Todate Bernier has appeared in 10 games for the Twins and is hitting .261. It appears that the Twins will be letting Jamey Carroll go after this season or possibly trading him in a waiver deal this month and are auditioning for a new utility infielder. So far Bernier appears to be able to handle the role and I am sure he will be much cheaper than Carroll not to mention 6 years younger.
The Twins also recalled 27-year-old left-handed starter Andrew Albers from Rochester. Albers was originally drafted by the San Diego Padres in 2008 but shortly thereafter injured his elbow and had to undergo Tommy John surgery missing all of 2009 and then was released by the Padres. Albers spent 2010 pitching in an independent league in Canada and showed enough promise to be signed by Minnesota prior to the 2011 season. This year Albers was 11-5 with a 2.68 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP in Rochester. Albers has pitched 132.1 innings this year in 22 starts allowing 124 hits while striking out 116. Albers is expected to make his major league debut against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday. It will be interesting to see what Albers can do in the big leagues, he has not had an ERA over 3.75 on any team he has pitched for. Albers will be wearing number 63.
Manager Ron Gardenhire needs 20 more Twins victories in the remaining 54 games to reach the 1,000 win plateau as the Twins skipper. With his position at risk, it would be a real shame if Gardy can’t get those 20 wins. I hope he gets those wins and many more as the Twins manager.
Twins Minor League Standings as of August 5
AAA Rochester is 63-54 and in 1st place
AA New Britain is 54-60 and in 5th place 16.5 games out
High A Fort Myers is 67-41 and won first half title but is currently in 4th place in the second half at 22-19 but only 1.5 games out
Low A Cedar Rapids is 67-43 and won the first half title and is leading the second half with a 27-15 record.
Rookie Elizabethton is 19-23 and in fourth place 8.5 games behind
Rookie GCL Twins are 19-19 and in third place 2 games behind
DSL Twins are 27-26 and in fourth place 7.5 games behind