Postgame: Thielbar knows how to throw strikes
- Blog Post by: Phil Miller
- May 20, 2013 - 10:44 PM
A handful of leftovers from the Twins' sixth straight loss:
-- Caleb Thielbar's father Calvin was at the family's cabin in northern Minnesota on Monday, when his son called around noon. That ended the fishing trip.
"That's at least a four-hour drive home," the Randolph, Minn., native said after making his major-league debut for the Twins. "I think they're trying [to fly to Atlanta], but I don't know if it's going to happen."
Too bad they couldn't have been at Turner Field on Monday, because Thielbar was the same pitcher who was working on a streak of 11 1/3 scoreless innings in Rochester, a streak dating back to April 27. He threw eight pitches, all strikes, in the seventh inning, then followed up with 12 strikes in 17 pitches as he went strikeout-popup-strikeout in the eighth. His fastball topped out at 93 mph, to three different batters.
His secret? "Just pounding the [strike] zone, throwing strikes with all my pitches, and trusting the defense behind me that they're going to make plays," the 26-year-old rookie said. "Really, nothing new. It's just reminding yourself that's what you need to do every outing."
Now that he's accomplished one huge goal, he faces a new challenge: Responding to all the text messages that poured in once news of his promotion got out. His phone had received 81 and counting by the time he showered after the game.
-- Thielbar wasn't the only reliever to have a strong night. Ryan Pressly retired all six hitters he faced, driving his ERA down to 1.66.
-- Nice save for Cory Gearrin. The rookie righthander needed two pitches to retire pinch-hitter Oswaldo Arcia on a foul fly ball to end the game, an out recorded when left fielder Justin Upon made a nice backhanded running catch in foul territory. Two pitches, one save.
-- Aaron Hicks had a third-inning single on Monday, and raised his batting average to .144 -- or one point higher than Atlanta's center fielder, B.J. Upton, who also batted eighth. Upton has played 40 games this season, and has been horrible; he has six RBIs, three of them himself on home runs. And while Hicks is earning the major-league minimum, Upton, who signed as a free agent after six seasons with the Rays, is earning $12.45 million in the first year of a five-year, $75 million contract.
-- The Twins believed their run-scoring was emerging two weeks ago, when they went through a streak of six straight games of scoring five runs or more. But while the weather has warmed up, the bats have gone once more; they have scored five runs just once in the past week, and have averaged just 2.5 runs in that time.
© 2013 Star Tribune