As we hit the final stretch of the baseball season, the Twins are positioned well in the AL Wild Card race. The Twins are currently sitting in the second Wild Card spot, just a game up on Baltimore and Toronto. However, major flaws have occurred in recent weeks. Here is the rundown on how the Twins can survive the season.
- Hours before the July 31 trade deadline, the Twins made their one lonely and disappointing trade. The Twins acquired Tampa Bay’s reliever Kevin Jepsen in exchange for low-ball pitchers Chih-Wei Hu and Alex Tapia. GM Terry Ryan said he likes Jepsen because he is effectively wild. Jepsen, an eight-year veteran, has a career record of 15-24 with a 3.85 ERA. He also has 306 strikeouts while surrendering 20 homers in his career. Jepsen’s ERA is slowly getting better as each year goes by. Still, this trade has me a little worried because teams around the Twins made bigger trades; including Toronto adding Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Ben Revere and LaTroy Hawkins while trading away 13 prospects. I wish we had Toronto’s GM!
- Everybody (used to) loves Joe! However, if the Twins plan on being contenders down the stretch, veteran first baseman Joe Mauer needs to be benched! Mauer has looked miserable at the plate, batting just .160 with 7 strike outs during the past seven games. That’s not good for a hitter in the 3rd spot of the line-up! I feel like the Twins should call-up struggling slugger Kennys Vargas to give him a shot at first base. Ultimately, Mauer is holding the offensive production back from where it needs to be.
- Since I can’t seem to find just relief pitching stats on the web, these next numbers look better than they really are. Since the break, Twins pitchers have an ERA of 4.77, while giving up 23 home runs, 146 hits, and 30 walks. Most notably, All-Star closer Glen Perkins has been off lately, recording an 11.12 ERA while giving up 4 long balls and 11 hits in his 6 appearances since the break. Now that starter Tommy Milone was placed on the 15-day DL on August 2 with a “mild left elbow strain”, the Twins’ bullpen needs to wake up to give the Twins any chance of staying in the playoff race.
It’s time for the Twins to play like they did in May, where they had a 20-7 record. The Twins are now in the perfect spot to make a run and clinch a playoff berth after 4 90+ loss seasons! Time to step it up!
Written by: Michael L. Sack