The Twins looked today to extend Cleveland’s losing streak to 12 games by completing a sweep at Progressive Field. The team, however, couldn’t overcome the defensive miscues on the field to hand the Indians their 12th loss in a row. Today was the first time that Cleveland had won a game since July 26th, and a win today would have tied the Twins with the Indians for third place in the AL Central. Unfortunately for Minnesota, Justin Masterson and Tsuyoshi Nishioka had other plans…
Brian Duensing wasn’t very sharp today, but he would have had a much better day with solid major league-level defense behind him. He did give up six runs in seven innings pitched, but only 4 of those runs were earned. With a botched double play in the second inning, a lost pop-up in the sun on a partly cloudy day in the sixth, and a poor throw home (also in the sixth), Nishioka allowed at least three runs to score, and a debatable fourth (if the throw had been good and on target, it’s arguable that he’d have gotten the runner at home).
Full recap, notes, and studs & duds after the jump.
The Twins just couldn’t figure out Justin Masterson today. The righty gave up just two runs on three hits and four walks in seven strong innings for Cleveland, though Alexi Casilla hit his first home run of the year in the fifth inning--a 2-run bomb off Masterson that marked 'Lexi's first homer since June of 2011.
Other than that burst of offensive prowess, the Twins went down pretty meekly against the Cleveland pitcher. There were only four hits total today, and Alexi Casilla had two of them. Denard Span and Ryan Doumit were the only other Twins to notch a hit, though Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau both drew a walk, and Brian Dozier managed to walk twice. Other than that...a pretty poor showing from the offense. Granted, they'd outscored the Indians by a lot this series (24-13), but it would've been good for the team to complete the sweep today.
Brian Duensing—7 IP, 11 H, 6 R, 4ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Casey Fien—1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 K
Offense—31 AB, 2 R, 2 H, 2 RBI, 4 BB, 7 K, 14 LOB, .264 BA
Doubles—1, Denard Span
HR—1, Alexi Casilla
After the past two games, it should be abundantly clear that Nishioka is overmatched in major league baseball games in the United States (3 errors in 2 games is pretty rough). I’m not sure how—or why—he was unable to adjust either the first or second time he was with the team, but at this point, he really needs to be sent back down or the Twins need to just cut their losses. Having him on the field behind an already sometimes shaky starting rotation is not going to work for a big league club. While you may find some of the comments made on this website about his talents mean or harsh, it can no longer be denied that Nishioka is just not ready to play with the Twins at this current time.
-ALEXI CASILLA. BOOM, amirite?
-Uhhh…Casey Fien? Scoreless 8th appearance, so that’s cool. We can ignore the walk.
The Twins take the day off tomorrow, and face the Tampa Bay Rays at home on Friday night. Trevor Plouffe will be back with the team, and a corresponding roster change is expected by Friday. Pitching Friday will be Cole DeVries (2-2, 3.81 ERA) for the Twins and Jeremy Hellickson (6-7, 3.43 ERA) for the Rays. Game starts at 7:10 pm CST.