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The Twins Beat

La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Postgame: Twins work over Tigers pitchers in dominating victory


Here are three thoughts from LEN3 following the Twins' victory over Detroit


WORKING OVER PITCHERS: I wrote for the dead tree edition how the Twins have a chance to walk 600 times this season, which would be the third most ever club history (604 is the second most, so they could pass that mark as well). Thursday was a great example. The Twins drew 10 walks, their season high for a nine-inning game. Brian Dozier saw 24 pitches in his at bats - 18 over his final two plate appearances. They took advantage of a struggling Jordan Zimmerman and a bullpen full of inexperienced arms. That's the way to open a series, as Detroit used seven pitchers on Thursday. Another game like that, and the Twins could have a depleted bullpen to toy with - even with September callups around.

KEPLER REALLY NEEDED THAT: Max Kepler entered the game in a 1-for-15 skid. Granted, the one hit was a home run off of C.C. Sabathia. But he was till in the dumps. So Twins manager Paul Molitor was encouraged to see Kepler get hits in his last two plate appearances, including a two-run double in the eighth. "If we can get him going a little bit, it would really help our cause," Molitor said. "It hasn't been as productive as of late. We know he is more than capable of getting on a hot streak here over the last nine days."

MEJIA BETTER: Adalberto Mejia gave up one run over 42/3 innings before Molitor pulled him with a man on and Miguel Cabrera at the plate. It was a wise decision to not feed the young lefty to the mighty Miggy. But Mejia was better in his second time out since coming off of the disabled list. I counted 12 swings and misses by Tigers hitters, which is an improvement for him. Mejia has struggled to finish off hitters, and will occasionally get frustrated then groove a pitch because he didn't control his emotions. That did not happen on Thursday. "I thought he pitched better tonight in terms of pitching," Molitor said. "His stuff might have been a little better than the last time he was out there. I thought he didn't try to overthrow, relied on movement."

Twins sputter into the Motor City looking for a tune up

Greetings from Detroit, where if you aren't driving at least 20 miles over the speed limit, you're getting blown by on the highway.

That's the way it's always been here. And NASCAR is missing out on a recruiting goldmine. The lane-changing here is a great learning tool. And there's a move I call, "The Detroit Sweep," in which a driver in the left lane realizes that his/her exit is just a few hundred feet ahead and makes a series of right lane changes in less that 10 seconds to get off the road.

Crazy stuff. But the Twins will have to get a little crazy this series if they want to tighten their grip on their wild card lead.

They need to get their offense going after scoring just seven runs in three games against the Yankees. They ran into some good pitching, but they had their chances to score runs and missed the opportunities. They must finish off drives this week if they want to beat up on a Tigers team that is playing the spoiler role.

And they can get off to a good start against Tigers righthander Jordan Zimmermann. He has posted a bloated 11.03 ERA over his last five outings, during which he's failed to pitch more than 5.1 innings. They need to make him work, get runners on base, drive them in, drive him off the mound and get into that middle relief corps.

Twins lefthander Aldalberto Mejia makes his second start since coming off the disabled list. He lasted just three innings in his start over the weekend against Toronto. If he can give the Twins a solid five innings, they will be thrilled.

Meanwhile, all eyes will be on the Angels-Indians game. The Halos are 1.5 games behind the Twins for the second wild card spot. Danny Salazar vs Parker Bridwell will be a great matchup. Cleveland is going for its 11th straight win over Los Angeles.

Heck, Texas is just 2.5 games back now. 

So it's time for the Twins to get back to doing with they do well, and pound on a team that has little to play for. This is the first of seven games against the Tigers over the final 10 games of the season, a huge opportunity to build a lead and nail down the wild card.

The accelerator is on right, Twins. The right.

Second baseman Brian Dozier said the young fan who was hit in the face by the line drive at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday remains in the hospital with a broken nose and plenty of swelling. He was reaching out to Yankees players this afternoon for further updates.

Miguel Sano continues to treat the stress reaction in his left shin, while mixing in baseball-related activities when he can. There is no shut down date in place. While it's becoming less likely that Sano will be available before the end of the regular season, Sano could still be available at some point if the Twins make the postseason and get past the wild card game.

Preposterous, some of you are saying. But the Twins have to keep the option open in case they can play a few games into the postseason.

Twins

Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Jorge Polanco, SS
Eddie Rosario, F
Eduardo Escobar, 3B
Max Kepler, RF
Byron Buxton, CF
Jason Castro, C
Robbie Grossman, DH

Adalberto Mejia, RHP

Tigers

Ian Kinsler, 2B
Jeimer Candelario, 3B
Miggy, 1B
Nick Castellanos, RF
Mikie Mahtook, LF
James McCann, C
John Hicks, DH
JaCoby Jones, OF
Jose Iglesias, SS

Jordan Zimmermann, RHP

6:10 PM (FSN)
Minnesota 79-74
Detroit 62-91