Twins' key players come up short again

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 9, 2011 - 6:33 AM

Carl Pavano and Justin Morneau have avoided the DL this year, but they haven't produced on the field.

view larger photos


BOSTON - These are desperate times for the Twins, with injuries decimating the lineup, and it's clear they need more than they're getting from veterans Carl Pavano and Justin Morneau.

Pavano got rocked again in Sunday's 9-5 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, and Morneau went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts, extending his season-long slump.

At 12-20, the Twins have wide-ranging problems with their offense, defense and pitching, but pulling themselves out of this rut will require several individual comeback stories.

Eventually, Delmon Young, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Jim Thome and Joe Mauer will return from the disabled list. But if Pavano, Morneau and others don't improve, it might be too late.

"It's my job to pick guys up when times get tough, and I'm not doing that," said Pavano, the Opening Day starter who now sits 2-4 with a 6.54 ERA.

Morneau is batting .202 with one home run and nine RBI. He is 4-for-30 on this nine-game road trip, which concludes Monday night against the Red Sox.

"It doesn't look like he's covering the plate right now," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "That's something he and [hitting coach Joe Vavra] can work on. [Morneau's] frustrated. No one wants to do better."

Gardenhire harped on the team's defense again after the latest loss. The Twins had their first three-error game since June 10, 2010, and missed two other plays that don't show up in the boxscore.

Boston scored four runs to take a 5-3 lead in the third inning, but Gardenhire thought the defense could have made two plays to decrease the damage: Jacoby Ellsbury's hit bounced off shortstop Trevor Plouffe's glove, and second baseman Alexi Casilla failed to turn a double play three batters later.

"It's so hard to gauge what a pitcher does when you miss plays," Gardenhire said. "You can throw it on the pitcher: 'Well he didn't get us out of it.' Well, there comes a time when we've gotta make plays behind these guys, and then you won't see four more hitters going to the plate."

Still, Pavano isn't helping himself either.

In his past two starts, including a 10-3 drubbing at Kansas City on May 1, Pavano has given up 14 runs on 22 hits with zero strikeouts -- yes, zero -- in 10 1/3 innings.

Going deeper, Pavano has made 179 pitches in those two starts, and hitters have swung and missed only seven times. The 34-year-old has seen his rate of strikeouts per nine innings drop from 6.6 to 4.8 to 3.6 over the past three seasons.

"I don't remember the last time I didn't have any strikeouts two starts in a row," Pavano said.

That's because it's never happened. According to, Pavano has registered zero strikeouts in only seven of his 247 major league starts.

"I feel like my stuff was good today," Pavano said. "My fastball was a little short, but that'll get better as the year goes on and I get a little more consistent."

Pavano's fastball averaged 88.5 miles per hour Sunday, according to the PitchFX data on That is down about 1.6 miles per hour from last season, according to

But as Pavano said, "I've won games with a lot worse stuff than I had my last two starts."

Strikeouts aren't everything. Pavano won 18 games last year, and four came with only one strikeout.

"I'm just not getting the job done, so everything's magnified right now," Pavano said.

And the closer people look, the less hope there seems for a team-wide turnaround.

Joe Christensen •

  • related content

  • Add Plouffe to Twins' wounded

    Monday May 9, 2011

    The Twins widespread injury concerns now include shortstop Trevor Plouffe.

  • Recap: Boston 9, Twins 5

    Monday May 9, 2011

    IMPACT PLAYER: Jacoby Ellsbury, BostonHe had three more hits, giving him seven for the series, and extended his hitting streak...

  • Carl Pavano


    Up next: 6:10 p.m. today at Boston TV: FSN (1500ESPN)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Top 7th123456789RHE
Detroit0100300  470
Minnesota162000   9121
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
HR: DET- None MIN- None
8:10 PM ET123456789RHE
DetroitJ. Verlander (10-11)000
MinnesotaT. May (0-2)000
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box


Chicago WSox 3 Top 7th Inning
NY Yankees 5
Tampa Bay 3 Top 9th Inning
Toronto 4
Detroit 4 Bottom 6th Inning
Minnesota 9
Seattle 7 Bottom 5th Inning
Boston 3
Baltimore 2 Delayed
Chicago Cubs 4
San Francisco - T. Lincecum 3:05 PM
Washington - J. Zimmermann
Houston - C. McHugh 6:05 PM
Cleveland - D. Salazar
St. Louis - S. Miller 6:05 PM
Philadelphia - D. Buchanan
Atlanta - E. Santana 6:10 PM
Cincinnati - M. Leake
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez 6:10 PM
Milwaukee - W. Peralta
San Diego - A. Cashner 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Miami - T. Koehler 7:10 PM
Colorado - J. Lyles
Detroit - J. Verlander 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Kansas City - J. Guthrie 7:25 PM
Texas - N. Tepesch
LA Angels - C. Wilson 8:05 PM
Oakland - J. Lester
NY Mets - J. deGrom 8:10 PM
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke
Tampa Bay 3:30 PM
Tennessee 6:00 PM
Dallas 6:00 PM
Washington 6:30 PM
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Minnesota 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 7:00 PM
Houston 8:00 PM
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Atlanta 8/28/14 5:00 PM
Detroit 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Indianapolis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Kansas City 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Green Bay
NY Jets 8/28/14 6:00 PM
St. Louis 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Carolina 8/28/14 6:30 PM
New England 8/28/14 6:30 PM
NY Giants
Washington 8/28/14 6:30 PM
Tampa Bay
Baltimore 8/28/14 7:00 PM
New Orleans
Chicago 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Denver 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Minnesota 8/28/14 7:00 PM
San Francisco 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Arizona 8/28/14 9:00 PM
San Diego
Seattle 8/28/14 9:00 PM
(21) Texas A&M 8/28/14 5:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Wake Forest 8/28/14 6:00 PM
Boise State 8/28/14 7:00 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Tulane 8/28/14 7:00 PM
Temple 8/28/14 8:15 PM
Rutgers 8/28/14 9:00 PM
Washington St
Weber State 8/28/14 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
UCF 8/30/14 7:30 AM
Penn State
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Chicago 6:00 PM
Toronto FC
Montreal 6:00 PM
Red Bull New York
Chivas USA 6:30 PM
New England
Houston 6:30 PM
D.C. 7:30 PM
Sporting Kansas City
Vancouver FC 9:30 PM
Los Angeles
Montreal 16 FINAL
Winnipeg 24
Toronto 3:00 PM
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Winnipeg 8/31/14 2:00 PM
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Indiana 4:00 PM
Minnesota 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question