Phil Miller covered three seasons of Twins baseball, but that was at a different ballpark for a different newspaper. Now Miller returns to the baseball beat after joining the Star Tribune as the Gopher football writer in 2010, and he won't miss the dingy dome for a minute. In addition to the Twins and Gophers, Miller covered the Utah Jazz and the NBA for six years at The Salt Lake Tribune.
Some of you might have seen this item on Samuel Deduno in the first edition of the Twins notebook, but we had to replace it with the postgame news on Brian Dozier. Anyway, here goes:
Twins pitcher Samuel Deduno is 4-0 with a 3.38 ERA, but he’s walking batters at a faster clip than all but one other pitcher in the majors, which raises a natural question: Is this success sustainable?
Among pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched, Deduno’s rate of walks per nine innings (6.75) ranks second to Jonathan Sanchez (7.38), who has combined to go 1-9 with an 8.07 ERA this year for the Royals and Rockies.
Deduno issued five walks in Monday’s 9-3 victory over the Tigers, but Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson noted that three of the free passes came in the first two innings. Over the next five-plus innings, Deduno allowed two walks.
“You’d have more concern about that if you never got command,” Anderson said Tuesday. “He’s shown stretches where he walks a couple guys, and all of a sudden it’s strike, strike, strike, strike. I don’t know if that’s a concentration thing or what.”
Walks often come back to haunt, but Deduno has held opponents to a .225 batting average. Here are the opponents batting averages for the Twins other four starters: Scott Diamond (.272), Cole De Vries (.253), Brian Duensing (.291 entering Tuesday) and Nick Blackburn (.334).
Joe Mauer and Ryan Doumit have talked about how hard it is to catch Deduno, let alone hit him.
“I kind of laugh because I won’t stand in [the batter’s box during Deduno’s bullpen sessions], like I will for the other pitchers,” Anderson said. “I mean, can it work [long-term]? It has.”
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