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Trying to avoid a sweep; Twins need more from Hicks

  • Blog Post by: La Velle E. Neal III
  • April 20, 2014 - 11:55 AM

Hello from Kauffman Stadium, where the Twins will have their hands full in trying to avoid a reverse facial sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals.

Reverse facial comes from Al Newman, who used the term to describe putting up crooked numbers the next inning after the opponent did the same to you. I'm extending it to series. The Twins swept the Royals at Target Field a week ago but face the same fate today. And they are facing Yordano Ventura, whose fastballs  average 97 on the gun. Averages.

Win or lose, the Twins will be disappointed leaving here. They had a chance to establish some momentum coming off the doubleheader sweep on Thursday but failed. Yesterday, they faced a lefty for the second straight day and failed. Now they get Future Ace Ventura.

Rough game for the outfield yesterday, which I mentioned in my Three Thoughts blog. That led to some interesting comments from readers. I agree, the Twins will have some tough decisions to make when Willingham and Arcia are healthy. Jason Kubel and Chris Colabello have provided some punch to this lineup and they don't deserve to be kicked to the curb when the others are ready to play.

There was a lot of talk about Aaron Hicks' catch over Chris Colabello on Saturday, but the kid is struggling. Gardy pointed out that Hicks was slow to back up Jason Kubel when Kubel lost Alex Gordon's fly ball in the sun in the second inning as well as Gordon's pop up that Brian Dozier caught in the fifth. And Hicks struck out twice in four plate appearances as his batting average dipped to .179. But they are committed to letting Hicks play through it - although there were a lot of coaches on his case yesterday about outfield hustle.

But Gardy said it was like Hicks was in, ``a fog,'' yesterday.

I'm starting to get questions about Hicks giving up left-handed hitting. I have not heard anything about the Twins considering that, and I would be stunned if they did that during the season.

One small news item. It looks like Kyle Gibson is getting a promotion. The pitching matchups for the series against Tampa Bay are out, and Gibson has moved ahead of Mike Pelfrey in the order. This was made possible by the rainout on Wednesday (snowout? freezeout?) that pushed Pelfrey back into a doubleheader with Gibson. So the Twins had the option of picking one to open the series, and it's Gibson.

Twins (8-9)

Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer. C
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Chris Colabello, RF
Jason Kubel, LF
Josmil Pinto, DH
Kurt Suzuki, C
Aaron Hicks, CF
Eduardo Escobar, SS

Pitching: Phil Hughes, RHP

Royals (9-7)

Nori Aoki, RF
Omar Infante, 2B
Eric Hosmer, 1B
Salvador Perez, C
Alex Gordon, LF
Billy Butler, DH
Mike Moustakas, 3B
Jason Maxwell, CF
Alcides Escobar, SS

Pitching: Yordano Ventura, RHP

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