Steep learning curve for Twins

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 21, 2011 - 11:16 PM

There's no substitute for experience, as the Twins are discovering with some inconsistent young players.

view larger photos

  

On Sunday morning, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was asked if Saturday's 9-4 victory over the Yankees was particularly satisfying because of all the inexperienced players in his lineup.

"Well," Gardenhire said, "let's see how we do today."

Gardenhire and his staff are never quite sure what they're going to get, especially from the likes of Ben Revere, Trevor Plouffe, Danny Valencia, Rene Tosoni and Luke Hughes.

Sunday's 3-0 loss to the Yankees re-emphasized the point.

New York gave the Twins chances to split the series, but Minnesota couldn't capitalize and fell to 20-62 against the Yankees under Gardenhire, counting the postseason.

Gardenhire described his coaching staff's frustration in trying to get the inexperienced players to focus at all times -- offensively and defensively -- pay attention to scouting reports and anticipate what to do in every situation.

Gardenhire specifically referenced Plouffe misreading Joe Mauer's first-inning double off the right-field wall Saturday, advancing only from second to third. The manager noted that Mauer and Danny Valencia recently made the same baserunning mistake.

"They don't pay attention," Gardenhire said. "Maybe we have to be more forceful in the minor leagues about that stuff."

Despite losing Nick Blackburn because of a forearm injury in the second inning Sunday, the Twins kept the Yankees scoreless for five innings. Minnesota should have taken the lead in the fifth, after center fielder Curtis Granderson and right fielder Nick Swisher let Valencia's fly ball fall between them for a double, putting runners at second and third with no outs.

The Yankees pulled their middle infielders back, conceding a run, but righthander Ivan Nova (13-4) fanned Tosoni and Matt Tolbert before Drew Butera grounded weakly to first base, ending the inning.

Never mind that Tosoni is batting .191, Tolbert .210 and Butera .166. This went beyond batting average. Gardenhire noted that Tosoni had a good at-bat his next time up, hitting a ball to deep center field in the seventh.

"You're going to get some of that with young kids when they try to do a little too much with runners in scoring position," Gardenhire said. "Matty Tolbert, I'm surprised because normally he's pretty good about putting the ball in play, and he kind of was chasing pretty bad all day."

Russell Martin's sacrifice fly off Phil Dumatrait gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the sixth, before Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira hit back-to-back homers off Jose Mijares in the seventh.

Granderson's ball bounced high off the right-center wall, and shot right back past Revere and Jason Kubel, letting Granderson race home for the first inside-the-park homer at Target Field.

"I think Ben might have thought the ball was out of the ballpark and kind of relaxed a little bit," Gardenhire said. "Two outfielders, normally one goes for the ball and the other one backs up the play."

Revere went to the wall, when he should have been backing up Kubel on that play.

"You can't relax at all, and it looks like we did a little bit," Gardenhire said.

Call it a teachable moment, but add it to the list of reasons the Twins are 9-22 in their past 31 games.

Joe Christensen • jchristensen@startribune.com

  • related content

  • Reusse: Rotation needs fixing, so Cuddyer must go

    Monday August 22, 2011

    Any salary the Twins can free up should go toward securing a hard-throwing No. 1 starter and a No. 2 guy who is better than their other options.

  • Swarzak takes Blackburn's spot

    Sunday August 21, 2011

    The Twins have used the disabled list 22 times this season, and Nick Blackburn likely will make it 23 on Monday.

  • Sunday's Twins-N.Y. Yankees game recap

    Sunday August 21, 2011

    He tossed seven innings, improving to 9-0 in his past 10 starts.

  • Twins-Baltimore series preview

    Sunday August 21, 2011

    A FOUR-GAME SERIES AT TARGET FIELDMonday, 7:10 p.m. • FSN 1500ESPNRHP Carl Pavano (6-9, 4.52 ERA) vs. LHP Zach Britton...

  • Drew Butera (left), Curtis Granderson

  • N.Y. YANKEES 3, TWINS 0

    Up next: Four-game series vs. Baltimore at Target Field • Game 1: 7:10 tonight • TV: FSN (1500ESPN) • Series preview on C5

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Minnesota000000000040
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to manage Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close