All right, it's a sunny day in Milwaukee, not that it matters at Miller Park. Before I head to the ballpark, let's talk Twins. Whaddya got today?
Not sure yet. Would have thought Eddie Rosario, because his problems at the plate have lingered, but it's too soon to say. But the question may be moot, because like most of the Red Wings, Murphy isn't hitting yet. After two hits in his debut last Friday, he's had only one since, so the Twins can't be too eager to get him up here yet.
I wouldn't expect more than 250-300, even if he keeps hitting. Paul Molitor has expressed some reservations about playing Nunez too much; he clearly believes full-time work might cut his effectiveness.
The Twins say they're not afraid to send anyone to the minors, but it's hard to believe they would do it to Sano, even as he goes through this slump. He still takes great at-bats -- 15 3-2 counts this season, fifth or so in the majors -- and hits the ball hard, when he hits it. Buxton, his defense is so valuable, they're going to hesitate to send him out. Certainly wouldn't happen before Santana returns.
I've thought all along they were considering a once-per-series role for Murphy, and that hasn't changed. I know they're disappointed that neither catcher is hitting much. Paul Molitor talked Monday about how Suzuki is visibly pressing at the plate.
Don't know how soon it's going to happen, but Twins fans should be pleased with how Berrios and Duffey have responded to being stuck in Rochester. Berrios has a 1.80 ERA in 10 innings, Duffey's is 1.72 in three starts. OK, it's been cold in the northeast, so pitchers have a big advantage, but both pitchers are living up to their billing so far.
I know it looks bad after a game like Tuesday's, but the Twins don't seem ready to budge on this. They really fear the disruption in shuffling players around during the season, and they believe Sano has the ability to improve.
Oh sure, he'll be up and down. Most inexperienced players are. And as Tom Brunansky said in spring training, nobody has a scouting report yet on how to pitch to him. They're developing one now -- don't hang breaking balls high in the zone. Even Park said he expected this year to be all about learning the league, and "the real me" comes next year.
Sure. But the Twins are going to be careful. Remember, one of their big projects this year was to make sure he didn't break down near the end of the year, as he has the past two seasons. This shoulder pain will make them even more skittish, so I wouldn't expect him back for another few weeks.
Bert turned 65 this week (did he mention that on the air? Hmm ...) I'm not sure how long he'll want to keep working. And that two-inning stint Cuddyer did on the air sure sounded like an audition, didn't it? I know it wasn't, but he seems like a natural, if he wants a job like that, to join a broadcast team somewhere. Torii Hunter, too. As for FSN, haven't heard of any change in the works yet.
Well, maybe not his approach. As I've said, they love how well he is able to wait for his own pitch, not get so anxious he swings out of the zone too much. But Sano rarely gives the impression he is intense about, well, anything. I think they'd like to see that working on getting better means a lot to him.
Exactly as advertised, right? Good bat speed, unbelievable power, but he's a guess hitter, especially with pitchers he doesn't know. Three of his four home runs came on pitches below 80 mph, and the other on a 90-mph fastball. So we don't know yet how he'll handle all the velocity he'll see.
Paul Molitor sure hopes so. They've been working with him on pitching with more confidence, and they liked what they saw Sunday -- just rear back and throw the ball by hitters. He's shown the stuff to succeed in the minors, but he doesn't trust it enough in the majors. Sometimes frustration can help -- you just say, the heck with it, I'm throwing my fastball as hard as I can. For him, that's a good thing.
Sure on his way, isn't he? It's striking (sorry) how few strikeouts he has -- Mauer is also among the league leaders in 3-2 counts, and hasn't struck out on one yet. Just four all year. Clearly it's a point of emphasis for him, and maybe he's seeing the ball better. Regardless, through the first two weeks, he's gotten back that feeling of being in control at the plate.
Sometime in 2018, that'd be my guess. Assuming he keeps hitting.
He's worked on it, but like a lot of guys, he is probably more concerned with breaking out of his slump right now, and guys tend to stick to what they know best in those times. Looks like he's been searching for those inside pitches that he can ambush and pull down the line. Once his batting average climbs above .200, I suspect he'll relax a little more.
Yeah, he's really been a victim of timing -- Oswaldo Arcia got hot just as he arrived. I expect Max to get a few at-bats, maybe a start in the day game tomorrow, then head back to Rochester when Danny Santana returns next week. I will say I've noticed Max working in batting practice, so he's not pouting about his playing time.
Thanks for joining the chat, Cory!
Well, they're different personalities -- Park came to the team intent upon trying to be just one of the players, trying not to be noticed, and Nishioka had much more of a star presence. But your memory of Nishi may be colored by the results, because he was embraced by the team during his first spring training. People forget, he legitimately won the shortstop job in the spring (albeit with JJ Hardy no longer a candidate, true) and there was a certain amount of excitement about his hitting. Didn't last, though.
Alex Meyer, though if he keeps throwing shutout innings as a starter, that may complicate matters. But he's looked great, and if he gets hot, I'm sure he'll be up here in a month or two.
People in the know think his head is full of instructions and he's not letting his natural talent take over. Seen him almost jump at inside pitches? He's awfully anxious.
See, this is where Kepler's presence on the bench, and not raking in Rochester, may be complicate his season. If they make that call on Buxton, I wouldn't be surprised to see Danny Santana or David Murphy (in LF) get the call ahead of Kepler, because he's not getting regular at-bats. I should point out about Murphy, though: If the Twins win some games and appear over the worst of their horrid start, the perceived need for veterans may become less urgent.
I've asked Terry how long he plans to keep working, and he insists he's enjoying the job and has no plans to go anywhere. I'm not sure he would ever tell us if he was thinking otherwise. I suspect the day he retires will be just like the last one in 2007: It'll take everyone completely off-guard, because he'll give no hints.