Twins need a rally in second half just to show 'progress'

  • Article by: LA VELLE E. NEAL III , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 19, 2013 - 8:44 AM

The Twins have discovered in the season’s first half just how challenging it is to teach and win at the same time.

When establishing expectations for the 2013 season, Twins officials frequently used the word, “progress.” They hoped to compete, but at a minimum wanted to see signs from manager Ron Gardenhire had the club was moving forward after 195 losses over the two previous seasons.

With the regular season now down to 71 remaining games, the Twins need a rally to achieve their minimum goal.

The pre-All Star break portion of the season looked a lot like the last two years, as the Twins wobble into this weekend’s series against visiting Cleveland with a 38-53 record. Starting pitching, once again, is not reliable. The bullpen showed signs of stress in recent weeks. And the offense has lacked clutch hitting.

The Twins have discovered in the season’s first half just how challenging it is to teach and win at the same time.

There’s a core of veterans, led by Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau. But Gardenhire writes out lineups each day that always include several inexperienced players. Shortstop Pedro Florimon, second baseman, Brian Dozier, and outfielders Aaron Hicks and Chris Parmelee (demoted last week) began the year without a full year in the majors. Righthander Kyle Gibson and outfielder Oswaldo Arcia (demoted last week) made their major league debuts this season.

“I think with how young we are, guys are learning and getting some experience,” said Mauer, who injected youth into his comment when asked about the team’s outlook for the rest of the season. “Guys are learning and, hopefully, in the second half we make a run here.”

The Twins roster added more inexperience last weekend when they sent Arcia, Parmelee and Eduardo Escobar to Class AAA Rochester and called up infielder Doug Bernier (two games of major league experience), catcher Chris Herrmann (14) and are expected to add outfielder/first baseman Chris Colabello (seven) in time for the Twins’ weekend series against Cleveland at Target Field.

Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said on Thursday that he has seen some positive signs during the first half. He’s encouraged about Glen Perkins’ rise as a closer, Samuel Deduno figuring out his control and the contributions relievers Ryan Pressley, Casey Fien and Caleb Thielbar have made.

“I know that’s hard to accept with the record that we’ve had,” Ryan said. “We had a few guys who did quite well. Brian Dozier has made progress. Pedro Florimon has made progress. I’m not going to say that’s satisfactory. I don’t want to make it sound like we are doing fine because we are not.”

Ryan, in response to a Star Tribune column last week calling for Gardenhire’s job, stated that he’s not interested in making an in-season move and prefers to give the second longest-tenured manager in baseball time to salvage the season.

Twins could get younger

So it’s up to Gardenhire to try to get the mix of veterans and unfinished products to get on a roll during the second half. It will be quite a task. In 2011 and 2012, the Twins played .346 ball after the All-Star break. If they do that again this year, they will finish 62-100.

Developing younger players isn’t the only problem. Their .248 batting average with runners in scoring system is a team-wide problem. And they need better outings from veteran starters Mike Pelfrey, Kevin Correia and Scott Diamond.

Few outside the club felt the Twins were going to compete this year and based their success on how Dozier, Florimon, Parmelee and Aaron Hicks moved forward. For the Twins to head into 2014 with some momentum — and make it easier to bring Gardenhire back — the inexperienced players on the team need to show enough improvement to provide hope for the next season.

It’s also likely that the Twins will be even younger after the July 31 deadline for trades without requiring waivers to deal players. The Twins are definitely in sell mode, and scouts have been checking out players in recent games.

Perkins could fetch a nice return in a deal, but indications are that the Twins want him to be part of the future. Morneau reportedly has drawn interest from the Rays, Pirates and Yankees. While he’s not hitting for a lot of power, he’s driving in runs and has playoff experience. Another report linked the Rockies to righthander Vance Worley, who is pitching at Class AAA Rochester. Correia, Pelfrey and Ryan Doumit could also draw interest. Josh Willingham’s recent knee surgery will make it tough to trade him, since he’s not expected to be back until sometime in August.

No matter. Expect the Twins to be active before the July 31 deadline. And that could lead to even more growing pains

If a veteran or two are dealt, a young player will likely replace them. And if the Twins deal veterans for prospects, that could lead to more growing pains, a fact that isn’t likely to keep the Twins from exploring their trading options.

“ ‘We’re not doing very good,” Ryan said. “We should be somewhat active here and see what’s going on. Whether or not it comes to something we have to see what possibilities are out there.’’

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago 17 FINAL
Detroit 34
Philadelphia 33 FINAL
Dallas 10
Seattle 19 FINAL
San Francisco 3
Cleveland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Washington 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Tennessee 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
NY Giants 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Cincinnati 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Oakland 11/30/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
New Orleans 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Carolina 11/30/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Arizona 11/30/14 3:05 PM
Atlanta
New England 11/30/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Denver 11/30/14 7:30 PM
Kansas City
Miami 12/1/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
Edmonton 0 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 1
ULM 54 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Santa Clara 57 FINAL
Tennessee 64
Oklahoma 59 FINAL
Butler 46
Austin Peay 79 FINAL
Brown 58
Princeton 56 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 62
Coastal Carolina 67 FINAL
Chattanooga 78
Kansas 76 FINAL
Rhode Island 60
Wisconsin 68 FINAL
Georgetown 65
FIU 53 FINAL
USC Upstate 68
Long Island 54 FINAL
Stony Brook 73
San Diego 71 FINAL
Xavier 82
Illinois 88 FINAL
Indiana State 62
Cal State Fullerton 67 FINAL
Wright State 62
Western Ky 62 FINAL
Saint Josephs 59
Michigan State 77 FINAL
Rider 45
UCLA 56 FINAL
North Carolina 78
Long Beach State 73 FINAL
Western Mich 55
Marquette 72 FINAL
Georgia Tech 70
Stephen F Austin 73 FINAL
Prairie View 61
UAB 47 FINAL
Florida 56
Rice 71 FINAL
Mercer 77
San Jose St 56 FINAL
Washington 78
Washington St 9 1st Half 7:33
UC Santa Barbara 20
Baylor 33 2nd Half 17:35
Memphis 37
LSU 23 FINAL
Texas A&M 17
(6) TCU 48 FINAL
Texas 10
Northern Ill 11/28/14 10:00 AM
Western Mich
Nebraska 11/28/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
Western Ky 11/28/14 11:00 AM
(19) Marshall
UCF 11/28/14 11:00 AM
So Florida
Houston 11/28/14 11:00 AM
SMU
Akron 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Kent State
Ball State 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
Buffalo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Massachusetts
Toledo 11/28/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Arkansas 11/28/14 1:30 PM
(17) Missouri
Navy 11/28/14 2:00 PM
South Alabama
(13) Arizona State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(12) Arizona
Stanford 11/28/14 2:30 PM
(9) UCLA
(21) Colorado State 11/28/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
Virginia 11/28/14 7:00 PM
Virginia Tech
East Carolina 11/28/14 7:30 PM
Tulsa
North Texas 11/29/14 11:00 AM
TX-San Antonio
Old Dominion 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Fla Atlantic
(16) Georgia Tech 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(8) Georgia
Kentucky 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(24) Louisville
So Carolina 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(23) Clemson
West Virginia 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Rice 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Louisiana Tech
Michigan 11/29/14 11:00 AM
(7) Ohio State
Purdue 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Indiana
Illinois 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Northwestern
Cincinnati 11/29/14 11:00 AM
Temple
NC State 11/29/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Syracuse 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Boston College
Louisiana 11/29/14 11:30 AM
Troy
Utah 11/29/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Texas State 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Idaho 11/29/14 1:00 PM
Appalachian St
Wyoming 11/29/14 2:00 PM
New Mexico
New Mexico St 11/29/14 2:00 PM
Arkansas State
UAB 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Southern Miss
(4) Miss State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(18) Ole Miss
Notre Dame 11/29/14 2:30 PM
USC
(10) Michigan State 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Penn State
(22) Minnesota 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(14) Wisconsin
(5) Baylor 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Texas Tech
Florida 11/29/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
Rutgers 11/29/14 2:30 PM
Maryland
San Jose St 11/29/14 2:30 PM
San Diego St
Tennessee 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Kansas 11/29/14 3:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Connecticut 11/29/14 3:00 PM
Memphis
BYU 11/29/14 3:30 PM
California
ULM 11/29/14 5:00 PM
Ga Southern
Middle Tennessee 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Hawaii 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Fresno State
Wake Forest 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Duke
Pittsburgh 11/29/14 6:00 PM
Miami-Florida
(15) Auburn 11/29/14 6:45 PM
(2) Alabama
(3) Oregon 11/29/14 7:00 PM
Oregon State
Utah State 11/29/14 9:15 PM
(25) Boise State
Washington 11/29/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Nevada 11/29/14 9:30 PM
UNLV
UCF 12/4/14 6:30 PM
East Carolina
Hamilton 11/30/14 5:00 PM
Calgary
Hartford 43 FINAL
Furman 53
Clemson 77 FINAL
Ohio State 86
Idaho State 53 FINAL
San Diego State 68
East Carolina 58 FINAL
(22) Syracuse 69
Santa Clara 0 Cancelled
Texas-El Paso 0
Florida State 68 FINAL
Washington 80
Wichita State 39 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 56
Wisconsin 44 FINAL
(1) South Carolina 67
Kansas State 0 Cancelled
LSU 0
BYU 73 FINAL
BYU-Hawaii 52
Charlotte 58 FINAL
Montana 67
Illinois 77 FINAL
(9) Kentucky 71
Central Michigan 61 FINAL
Richmond 56
Oklahoma 68 FINAL
South Florida 83
Princeton 72 FINAL
Wake Forest 55
(19) Oregon State 85 FINAL
Butler 53
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: What do you think of the new Twins home uniforms?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close