Monday, April 24, 2017


Well, that was a bummer of a homestand.

The Twins went 2-7 (with a rainout). Even worse than the record was the play. The fielding, which had been a strength, got downright sloppy during the weekend.

The Twins have only been out of four games this season, but three of them came in the just completed homestand, including the final two. Sunday in particular was an echo of the dreary play of much of 2016 -- hittable pitching plus unmade plays equal lots of runs.

Some roster shuffling took place: Fifth starter Aldaberto Mejia was optioned out after his poor start on Saturday, and long man Justin Haley went on the 10-day disabled list. Haley is a Rule 5 guy, and his DL time doesn't count as roster time, but he can spend a good part of the season on DL without jeopardizing his status. I'm in no position to question the diagnosis of biceps tendonitis, and he has been worked pretty steadily (13 innings, more than Mejia and close to that of two other starters), but the timing of the injury is pretty convenient.

Up are LHP Buddy Boshers and 1B/DH Kennys Vargas. Boshers is not a good fit for the long man part of Haley's role, and the sudden lack of innings from the back end of the rotation make this an odd time to strip length from the 'pen. The Twins apparently intend to use just four starters the next couple of weeks (there are off days), and it may be that they will try to stretch out Tyler Duffey for the rotation in the meantime.

As for Vargas ...Paul Molitor has been grumbling about his lack of bench options late in games, and that is a genuine issue. But getting Vargas at-bats will be ... interesting.

Robbie Grossman has been a productive designated hitter. Joe Mauer has not hit particularly well, and Byron Buxton has been horrendous at the plate -- and a pair of homers during the weekend not withstanding, Eddie Rosario hasn't been productive either. Molitor could cut back on Mauer's playing time, particularly versus lefties, and give Vargas time at first base. He could give Grossman more outfield time at the expense of Buxton or Rosario, freeing up the DH spot for Vargas. Any of those moves weakens the defense, and that creates more problems for the pitching.

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