Twins Insider Logo

Blog

Twins Insider

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

Postgame: Dozier now leads the majors in stolen-base percentage

    Brian Dozier didn’t hit a home run, but by stealing two bases, he moved into a tie for the major-league lead in steals percentage. Dozier is 18 for 20 this season, a 90.0 percent success rate that ties him with Arizona utility man Chris Owings (also 18 of 20), among players with 15 steal attempts.

    Dozier stole second base twice on Tuesday — he’s been successful on 10 straight steal attempts — and that’s a feat all the more impressive given that Gold Glove catcher Salvador Perez was behind the plate for the Royals. Coming into the game, Perez had thrown out exactly half of the 72 base-runners who ran on him; his 36 putouts are the most in the American League.

    Dozier, though, has something that few players can match: 42 home runs. Should he avoid being thrown out stealing over the season’s final five days, Dozier  would join Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Ken Griffey and Albert Belle as the only major leaguers since 1950 to hit 40 home runs and succeed on 90 percent of his steal attempts in the same season (minimum 10 steals). Not bad company.

XXX

    Raul Mondesi’s steal of second base in the 11th inning may have been the biggest play of the game, and it was a little annoying to Twins manager Paul Molitor. Mondesi faked catcher Kurt Suzuki with a delayed steal, and by the time Suzuki realized he was going, it was far too late to throw him out.

    “They’ve victimized us a lot this year with the delayed steal. The pitch was borderline, so Kurt was trying to hold it a fraction of a second,” Molitor said. “We talked about it [before the game], but they execute the delay. Early in the count, a bunt situation, your catcher’s just trying to get a strike.”

XXX

    Despite facing 18 hitters on Tuesday, Jose Berrios didn’t strike out any of them, and that’s a real rarity. In fact, it was only the third time in 112 career games, major or minor league, that he hadn’t whiffed anybody, and the first time since he’s been a Twin.

    Berrios said he didn’t mind the oddity, that outs are more important than strikeouts, but it still had to feel strange to him. It snapped a string of 61 consecutive starts, dating back to July 29, 2014 when he was with the Class AA New Britain Rock Cats, with at least one strikeout.

Twins arrive in K.C. just in time to see defending champs eliminated

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Paul Molitor has been trying to keep his team motivated for about five months now. This week, he’ll finally watch opposing managers do the same.

    The Royals, World Series champions 11 months ago, are on the brink of elimination from the postseason chase, and it could come tonight, if Baltimore wins or Kansas City loses. And this weekend, the Twins will close the season in Chicago, facing a White Sox team that was also eliminated long ago.

    It’s quite a change for the Twins, who have been facing a steady diet of teams in must-win situations for more than a month. In fact, since their visit to last-place Atlanta in mid-August, the Twins have played 36 games — and 32 of them were against teams within five games of a playoff spot.

    So it will be interesting to see how these playing-out-the-string games look this week, when neither team feels the urgency of postseason play. Molitor said he’s been trying to keep complacency away as best as he can.

     “It’s my job to try to keep these guys [in the] present as much as we can. It’s easy to let your mind start drifting to what you’ll be doing a week from today, instead of [on] today,” the Twins’ manager said. “It’s our our job to try to prevent that. We’ll be watching to see who comes out and gives us a good effort the rest of the week.”

    He gave Brian Dozier the option of sitting out a few games if he likes, but the Twins’ second baseman said he wants to play. He’s in the lineup tonight, with the now-usual jumble of players behind him. Tonight’s lineup is the 143rd different batting order Molitor has used this season, and the first one with Logan Schafer in the fifth spot. Molitor has used a unique lineup every day since early June, and while his shuffling won’t set a franchise record — Ron Gardenhire needed 150 lineups in 2011, and Tom Kelly used 152 in 1999 — it’s still a lot of daily fluctuation.

    Here are the lineups for the first game of three in Kansas City, all of which start at 6:15 p.m.:

 

TWINS

 

Dozier 2B

Grossman DH

Kepler RF

Sano 3B

Schafer LF

E. Escobar SS

Centeno C

Buxton CF

Beresford 1B

 

Berrios RHP

 

ROYALS

 

Dyson CF

Merrifield 2B

Hosmer 1B

Morales DH

Perez C

Gordon LF

Orlando RF

A. Escobar SS

Cuthbert 3B

 

Kennedy RHP

Final, 9/27 R H E
Minnesota 56-101 3 8 0
Kansas City 80-77 4 7 1