After tough road trip, decision time nears for Twins

  • Updated: June 30, 2014 - 6:34 AM

– The Twins surprised baseball three weeks ago when they slipped by the Rangers, Mariners and other teams and signed designated hitter Kendrys Morales. They weren’t that far out of the wild-card picture, so General Manager Terry Ryan made the “Why not us?” speech that delightfully surprised the fan base.

Three weeks from now, that message might be different.

The Twins are limping home after a 1-5 road trip to Los Angeles and Texas that put them six games under .500. They managed to salvage the final game of the Texas series on Sunday with a 3-2 victory over the Rangers that ended a 10-game road losing streak. Righthander Kyle Gibson stepped up on Sunday, pitching eight strong innings thanks to a sinker that moved as well as it has all season. The offense performed to its recent standards, that’s all.

In six games during this road trip, the Twins batted .206, hit .216 with runners in scoring position and averaged 3.2 runs a game. Fans on Twitter during Sunday’s game clamored for Jorge Polanco, the 20-year-old shortstop called up for the weekend, to be retained. That’s because his two hits drove in three runs.

“The biggest thing is we’re not putting two and two together,” Twins second baseman Brian Dozier said. “We feel like when we have a good pitching performance, we’re sitting back thinking, ‘That’s good enough, just win by one,’ instead of taking that approach to just try to beat somebody as much as we can. We get down early and we say, ‘We have to hit our way back in,’ and we start hitting, We have to put two and two together.”

If the offense continues to underperform — can the absence of injured leadoff hitter Danny Santana really affect the team this much? — Ryan might be looking to go the other way as trade talks heat up in a few weeks before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline.

Ryan said before Sunday’s game that he will make his buy-or-sell decision sometime after the All-Star Game, which is quickly approaching.

“Somewhere around there, you start thinking about it,” Ryan said. “We’re not going in the right direction right now, you know that.”

Gibson’s outing halted a bad run by the rotation. But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is focused on squeezing more runs out of the offense.

Entering Sunday, Morales was batting .172 over his previous 15 games. He had the game-winning hit Sunday, an RBI double in the ninth. Kurt Suzuki is in an 0-for-17 skid. Dozier went 0-for-4 on Sunday and finished the road trip 4-for-24 with three walks.

So Gardenhire batted Chris Parmelee third on Sunday and gave Polanco his first start at short. Both had hits. Parmelee started in center, which is not his best position. But Gardenhire said to be prepared to see more of Parmelee out there if he keeps hitting. The hot bats will stay in the lineup.

“We’ll be tinkering with different parts, but it is what it is,” Gardenhire said. “We just have to keep ad-libbing, especially with the lineup from 1-9 with Santana [bone bruise near left knee] out. It does make a big different because we had him in the leadoff spot and we’re kind of trying to figure out where we need to go there.”

Remember when Joe Mauer was taking heat for not hitting? He has a 10-game hitting streak now, during which he’s batting .375 with 10 RBI — production, too! — but now no one else is.

July should be an interesting month, not just because we’re celebrating baseball during All-Star week here. Ryan appears ready to add if the Twins can stay in the picture. If not, then he could start to clear the deck to look at prospects during the second half of the season.

The Twins have about three weeks to show Ryan which way he should go.

“It’s a decision that comes up to the front office,” Ryan said. “I know where we are right now is not a good spot.”

 

La Velle E. Neal III lneal@startribune.com



 

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleveland 86 FINAL
Indiana 93
Washington 81 FINAL
Philadelphia 89
Golden State 113 FINAL
Toronto 89
New York 121 FINAL
Detroit 115
Orlando 88 FINAL
Atlanta 95
Charlotte 98 FINAL
Boston 106
LA Clippers 97 FINAL
Memphis 79
Brooklyn 98 FINAL
Houston 102
Miami 102 FINAL
New Orleans 104
Minnesota 89 FINAL
Chicago 96
Utah 104 FINAL
Denver 82
San Antonio 107 FINAL
Sacramento 96
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
LA Lakers 101
Oklahoma City 112 FINAL
Portland 115
Boston 3 FINAL(OT)
New Jersey 2
Calgary 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 2
Washington 0 FINAL
Carolina 3
Chicago 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 4
Colorado 5 FINAL(SO)
Dallas 4
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Anaheim 4
Siena 63 FINAL
Quinnipiac 73
Harvard 49 FINAL
Cornell 57
Penn 69 FINAL
Brown 75
Fairfield 65 FINAL
Canisius 72
Manhattan 75 FINAL
Iona 79
Saint Peters 67 FINAL
Marist 69
Princeton 60 FINAL
Yale 81
Ohio 58 FINAL
Akron 70
Dartmouth 84 FINAL
Columbia 71
Valparaiso 56 FINAL
Cleveland State 53
Louisiana Tech 75 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 88
Seton Hall 77 FINAL
Xavier 60
Cornell 54 FINAL
Harvard 60
Yale 49 FINAL
(14) Princeton 67
Elon 51 FINAL
Drexel 54
Northeastern 47 FINAL
James Madison 82
St Johns 60 FINAL
Butler 49
Creighton 71 FINAL
Georgetown 62
Brown 58 FINAL
Penn 75
Columbia 50 FINAL
Dartmouth 60
Canisius 54 FINAL
Siena 58
St Josephs Brooklyn 35 FINAL
NJIT 78
Western Carolina 86 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 80
Colorado 66 FINAL
Arizona 51
Southern Ill 72 FINAL
Bradley 66
Drake 59 FINAL
Wichita State 80
Indiana State 71 FINAL
Evansville 53
Illinois State 53 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 67
Northern Iowa 70 FINAL
Missouri State 72
Utah 42 FINAL
(10) Arizona State 46
Providence 62 FINAL
Villanova 71
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: Which Twins player are you most interested in during spring training?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close