Postgame: 4-batter stretch undid Walters' night

  • Blog Post by: Phil Miller
  • July 4, 2013 - 12:26 AM


Quick turnaround for tomorrow, so I'll keep this short. It was a depressing night for the Twins, who took a 2-0 lead on CC Sabathia, but gave it back during one bad inning. P.J. Walters pitched well -- he allowed only one hit over five innings, but then four straight hitters reached base in the sixth, ending his night -- but his streak of six games without a win and his 5.95 ERA probably make him the odd man out when Mike Pelfrey is activated on Wednesday. It's too bad, he's a nice guy in the clubhouse, always cooperative, even during this rough stretch he's going through.

A few notable numbers from tonight:

-- The Twins outhit the Yankees 8-4, yet lost; that's just the second time that's happened this season. The Twins are now 24-2 when they outhit their opponents.

-- Caleb Thielbar continued his amazing pitching, and this time it had a twist: He entered a tie game. In Thielbar's previous 15 appearances, the Twins were always losing, by an average of 4.0 runs. He had only come into one game with even a one-run deficit. So the lefthander from Randolph, Minn., the former St. Paul Saint, has obviously earned a greater role. I understand why Ron Gardenhire has been reluctant to push him into high-stress moments, given that his fastball doesn't even touch 90 mph. But his numbers, which added two more perfect innings tonight, have gotten too amazing to ignore.

How amazing? Thielbar has pitched 18 2/3 innings and has yet to give up a run. (He has allowed a few inherited runners to score, like Wednesday's game-winner on a sacrifice fly.) That's the longest active scoreless streak in the American League and second-longest in baseball, behind Milwaukee reliever John Axford with 19 2/3 innings. The record for most appearances to start a career without allowing a run is 17, set by Mets reliever Joe Smith in 2007. Thielbar now has 16 appearances.

It's not just the runs, though. Thielbar has gone nearly a month without giving up a HIT. He's allowed five hits in total, four singles and a triple, but none since June 9 in Washington. He has recorded 29 outs since that last hit, giving him a kinda-sorta no-hitter over his last eight appearances.

-- Robinson Cano is 14-for-24 on the Yankees' road trip thus far, four of them home runs, and he's had multiple hits in every game. That's a .583 average over the past week. Yet he's only batting .299 on the season. After watching him this week, that's hard to believe.

-- Sabathia on collecting his 200th victory: "It makes me feel old." Probably makes the Twins feel that way, too. The last time they beat the lefty workhorse? It was in late July 2007, and the Twins game-winning rally off him began when Sabathia hit Jason Tyner with a pitch and Mike Redmond drove him home with a double. Dennys Reyes got the victory in relief of Matt Garza, and Lew Ford hit a home run. There, now I feel old, too.

-- Two starts into his big-league career, and already the Twins desperately need Kyle Gibson to step up. The Twins haven't won since his debut on Saturday, and they face a 10-game road trip, longest of the season, heading into the All-Star break. They also haven't won the season series against any of the upcoming opponents (Toronto, Tampa Bay and New York) since 2006. So yeah, they really need the kid to pitch another great game.

Happy July 4th, everyone.


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