Even after making history, Glen Perkins couldn’t pretend to be impressed with himself on Wednesday. See, he knows the statistics lie.
“There are two times this year I haven’t done my job,” Perkins said. “Just because it’s not a save situation, that doesn’t matter.”
Yes, after a six-pitch ninth inning Wednesday against the Orioles, he’s 28-for-28 in holding a lead, breaking Joe Nathan’s 2004 franchise record of converting 27 consecutive saves. But he’s also entered five tie games, and only three times preserved the tie. “I still think about the at-bat [April 21 in Kansas City] against [Mike] Moustakas,” Perkins said, referring to Moustakas’ game-winning single. “And the two-run homer to [Chris] Colabello” — which led to a Twins loss May 29 game against Toronto — “I didn’t do my job.”
See, Perkins understands that the streak is more fluke than feat — his numbers are perfect, but his pitching, while among the best in the league, is not. He has to keep telling himself that, as he fires 95-mph fastballs and skid-mark sliders, to prepare for the night when random chance goes the other way. “I’m going to blow saves. It’s going to happen, whether it’s because I made a bad pitch or they hit a good pitch and blooped it in,” Perkins said. “I feel like I’m pitching the same as ever. It’s just worked out.”
That part, there is no arguing with. Perkins hasn’t allowed a hit since June 20, 7 ⅓ innings ago, and hasn’t allowed a run since May 29, 13⅓ innings ago. He has retired all 12 hitters he’s faced in July, and hasn’t thrown 10 pitches outside the strike zone in any of his 37 appearances this year. His 28 consecutive saves to start the season rank as the ninth-longest such streak in major league history.
Impressive, right? Perkins shrugged. “The more you play,” he said, “the more things happen like that.”
Fryer answers the call
Eric Fryer was having lunch in Cary, N.C., on Tuesday when he got a call from Jim Tracy, manager of Team USA in the upcoming Pan Am Games, asking him to come to the ballpark a little early. “No hurry or anything,” Fryer said, laughing about it a day later. “It was like, ‘Oh yeah, if you get a minute …’ ”
When he arrived, Tracy and USA Baseball Executive Director/CEO Paul Seiler told him he was off the team — because the Twins needed him. Suddenly, his two-week trip to North Carolina and Toronto turned into a who-knows-how-long call-up to the majors.
“It was pretty unexpected. I only had my Team USA stuff,” said Fryer, who was on the Pan Am Games team in part because he wasn’t on the Twins’ 40-man roster. But that changed Tuesday when the Twins decided to send Chris Herrmann, hitting .156, back to Class AAA Rochester to work on his batting stroke. “And [Team USA] is probably scrambling now. They only have one catcher.”
Fryer is known as a good defender; he spent parts of the past two seasons with the Twins because of it. But “he’s worked hard on his offense, to be a guy who contributes both ways,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. It’s paid off with a .299 average and .385 on-base percentage for the Red Wings — and then a line-out, a walk and two hits, including a two-run double in the seventh inning, on Wednesday for the Twins.
“He gave us four good at-bats today. It was a nice return for him,” Molitor said.
• Miguel Sano played third base for the first time in the majors Wednesday and handled three ground balls flawlessly. “I played like I played in Chattanooga — normal,” said Sano, who committed 16 errors for the Class AA Lookouts. “Catch the ball, throw to first. Easy.” Molitor said Sano will remain the designated hitter but will play third base occasionally.
• Sano also extended his hitting streak to seven games with a third-inning single, and drew two walks. But he misread a sign from third-base coach Gene Glynn in the seventh inning, and was thrown out trying to steal second. “He thought he saw something he didn’t,” Molitor said. “But it’s our job to coach better and make sure they understand the communication.”