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.

Worley can't figure out what's wrong

Posted by: Phil Miller under MLB Updated: April 30, 2013 - 10:29 PM

Three thoughts about the Twins' 6-1 loss to the Tigers:

-- Vance Worley doesn't understand what's wrong. He's 0-4, his ERA (7.22) is the worst of any American League pitcher with 25 innings or more (and ahead of only Arizona's Brandon McCarthy in the majors), and his last victory was Aug. 1. But Worley likes how his pitches look when he lets them go.

"I made my pitches today, and they hit them," Worley said. "Mechanically, I've been working on a lot of things, and everything is coming along fine."

Well, except for all the runs he's giving up. The Twins had been encouraged by his last two starts, in which the righthander gave up only three runs over 12 innings, but tonight was a setback. Two runs in the first inning -- the fifth time in six starts he's allowed first-inning scores -- and another in the second, the fourth time he's allowed a second-inning run. It's easy to chalk it up to "Cabrera and Fielder are great hitters," but you can't let theose guys beat you every night.

Ron Gardenhire made it clear the Twins are sticking with Worley, though he wasn't nearly as upbeat as the pitcher. "He didn't command very well in the strike zone," the manager said.

But "I'm seeing a lot of positive things in my bullpen," Worley insisted. "If you see what I'm doing out there, everything is the way I want it to go. ... I'd say I'm where I need to be -- it's just the results aren't there."

-- Wilkin Ramirez played center field tonight, and had two hits besides. It was clear Ramirez isn't in awe of Justin Verlander, his former teammate with the Tigers. "When I'm in the box, I don't think about who's pitching," he said. "I'm just there to hit."

Verlander gave him fastballs and sliders in his first at-bat, working the count to 3-2. Then he tried a curveball, and Ramirez put it in the gap for an RBI double. Later, he lined a single to left, raising his average to .381.

But Ramirez's ability to play center was as interesting as his hitting on Tuesday. If the Twins have any thoughts about giving Aaron Hicks a month or so in Rochester, once Darin Mastroianni returns from the stress reaction in his calf, to lighten the pressure on him, they'll need to know that Ramirez can handle the backup job. That's just speculation, understand; there's no telling what will happen when Mastrioanni heals, and that's still more than a week away anyway. But if the Twins want to keep Oswaldo Arcia in the majors,  Ramirez's night in center likely gave them more confidence.

-- It's becoming almost routine, but shouldn't be overlooked: The Twins' bullpen continues to be steady and reliable. Tonight Anthony Swarzak and Ryan Pressly combined for more than three shutout innings, and the bullpen has combined to throw seven straight scoreless innings. Glen Perkins has the highest ERA in the bullpen, and it's only 4.15. Four relievers have ERAs below 2.00.
 

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