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Twins Insider

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

Twins postgame: Road woes continue, now 2-12 away form Target Field

Thoughts after the Twins loss to Houston:


THIS IS NOT GOOD: The Twins were blasted by the Rockets, er, Astros 16-4 on Wednesday, easily their worst loss of the season and their biggest loss since Cleveland beat them 17-4 last Aug. 8. Phil Hughes lasted just two innings before Paul Molitor took him out - reasoning that throwing that many pitches (58) that early in a game could do long-term damage. It was Hughes' shortest outing since signing with the Twins.
Other nuggets:

The Twins are 2-12 on the road.
They have not won a series on the road.
Their starters' ERA rose from 4.60 to 4.90.
The last time they had back-to-back starts that lasted less than three innings was Sept. 21-22, 2013 when Pedro Hernandez and Cole De Vries did it, or couldn't do it.
It was their worst loss ever to the Astros. 

THE EJECTIONS: Was totally caught off guard by how things transpired. Apparently, Ryan Pressly's 3-2 pitch to Luis Valbuena should have been called strike three instead of ball four. Jason Castro followed with a two-run double. Home plate umpire Scott Berry was taking heat from Pressly so he tossed Pressly. Molitor then came out of the dugout to engage Berry and also was tossed. ``I went out and had a conversation,'' Molitor said, ``and followed Ryan up to the clubhouse.'' Molitor was ejected for the first time this season and fourth of his career. It was Pressly's first ejection.

WHO MADE THE RIGHT PICK?: While Byron Buxton is at Class AAA Rochester figuring out his talents, Carlos Correa, the player selected one spot ahead of him in the 2012 draft, went 3 for 5 with a home run on Wednesday. The Twins would have had a discussion, but there were officials ready to take Correa if Houston had taken Buxton that year.

WHAT NOW?: I'll try to get into this in Friday's paper, but everything has to be on the table at this point. Molitor shouldn't have to worry about hurting feelings now because they have have TWO stretches of bad baseball. They started the season 0-9 and now are in a 4-11 freefall. If he wants to shake up the lineup any way he wants, go for it. If he wants to try someone else in the No. 2 hole (with acknowledgement that Brian Dozier hit a three-run homer on Wednesday) he should go for it. Eduardo Nunez should shuffle around second, third and short until his bat cools off (although dropping the pop fly in the seventh wasn't his proudest moment). If they aren't happy with the bullpen mix right now, try J.T. Chargois, or Nick Burdi when he's ready. The Twins pretty much are at nothing-to-lose mode right now, a team that is making mistakes every night. THE TWINS ARE ONE-HALF GAME FROM HAVING THE WORST RECORD IN BASEBALL.

Nunez back in lineup as Twins try to win first road series

Twins manager Paul Molitor has Eduardo Nunez in at short tonight instead of Eduardo Escobar. Escobar is not in a slump, but Molitor said the move was because of how Nunez has been hitting lately.

This won't be the last time Molitor will have to find a way to get Nunez's bat in the lineup, at least as long as the utility player continues to produce at the plate. The question is if Nunez can spell Trevor Plouffe and Brian Dozier a day as well. It's a tricky situation for Molitor because the Plouffe was the leading run producer last season and Dozier was an All-Star last season. Those are his main guys. But he's got to consider it if Nunez has a chance to produce.

The Twins made it official on Wednesday. Rick Nolasco will start on Friday and remain on his regular pitching schedule. Ervin Santana will start on Saturday. Tyler Duffey will get a week off between starts and start on Sunday.

The eye of the storm has passed over, as far the rotation is considered. Well, as long as Santana doesn't have a setback on Saturday. Kyle Gibson's recovery is the last hurdle to clear before things can return to normal. The Twins hit rock bottom when they had to start Alex Meyer on Tuesday. Meyer isn't ready yet, but now has see what it takes to get hitters out on this level.

Twins

Danny Santana, CF
Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, DH
Miguel Sano, RF
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Byung Ho Park, 1B
Oswaldo Arcia, LF
John Ryan Murphy, C
Eduardo Nunez, SS

Phil Hughes, RHP

Astros

Jose Altuve, 2B
George Springer, RF
Carlos Correa, SS
Colby Rasmus, LF
Carlos Gomez, CF
Preston Tucker, DH
Marwin Gonzalez, 1B
Luis Valbuena, 3B
Jason Castro, C

Mike Fiers, RHP