Minnesota Twins Players of the Week: 4/30-5/6
The Minnesota Twins hit the road again last week and it turned out to be a historic trip—for all of the wrong reasons.
Starting pitching continued to be a major issue for the Twins, as their starters combined to allow 22 earned runs, 42 hits and 13 walks in 31.2 innings (6.25 ERA).
More troubling than the pitching was the hitting. No Twins player finished the week with a batting average above .300, the team scored eight runs total in six games and amassed a minuscule four extra-base hits all week (two home runs and two doubles).
The team was shut out in three of the six games played, none more jaw-dropping than the no-hit effort Jered Weaver produced in the series finale versus the Angels.
The Twins finished the week with a season record of 7-20, 8.5 games behind the first-place Cleveland Indians.
Not every individual performance was as awful as this last week's record might suggest. With that, let's name, better late than never, the Twins' players of the week.
Pitcher of the Week: Carl Pavano
The bright spot of the week for the Twins came in Friday's 3-2 victory over the Mariners, a game in which Carl Pavano was, well, Carl Pavano.
Pavano pitched six innings, gave up eight hits, two earned runs, no walks and struck out two batters on his way to victory.
Carl probably would have pitched deeper into the game, as he only threw 69 pitches through six innings, but the Twins' offensive outburst of three runs in the top of the seventh inning was enough to take Pavano off the hook for the loss and allow acting manager Scott Ullger to let the bullpen take over.
The win evened Pavano's record at 2-2 on the season.
Honorable Mention: Matt Capps
Matt Capps appeared in two games this past week for the Twins, allowing no runs, no hits, no walks and striking out two batters in the two innings he pitched.
His first appearance was in the eighth inning of the Twins' no-hit effort against the Angels on Wednesday night. He followed that up by earning himself his fifth save of the season in a one-two-three ninth inning versus the Mariners on Friday.
Capps used his newest weapon, a split-fingered fastball, to record two strikeouts during his save on Friday. The new pitch has seemed to bring confidence and consistency back to the Twins closer.
Hitter of the Week: Ryan Doumit
Going into Sunday's game against the Mariners, I believed the players of the week would be one slide shorter because no one would qualify to be the hitter of the week.
Ryan Doumit then proceeded to go 3-for-3 on Sunday with two home runs in a 5-2 loss to the Mariners, earning himself hitter of the week honors in the process.
Doumit ended the week 5-for-18 (.278 BA) with two runs scored, two runs batted in, two home runs, three walks and three strike outs in six games played.
I wish there was more to say, but really, he had one good game during an otherwise lousy week.
On the bright side, he did start at catcher in four of the six games, allowing Joe Mauer time to recover from being hit in the leg with a foul tip last week.
Honorable Mention: Alexi Casilla
Alexi Casilla, much like Ryan Doumit, had one good game at the plate this past week.
In Monday's 4-3 loss to the Angels, Casilla was 3-for-4 with one run scored, one RBI, one double and two stolen bases.
The rest of the week, Casilla was 1-for-17 with one run scored, one walk and six strikeouts.
The end of the week saw the Twins recalling shortstop prospect Brian Dozier from Triple-A Rochester and Casilla moved to a role where he will split time with Jamey Carroll at second base or play more of a utility role.
Least Valuable Player(s): The Offense
Francisco Liriano, you are off the hook for now.
Liriano is off the hook because the entire Twins offense decided that hitting just wasn't a priority this past week.
As hard as it was to pick a hitter of the week, it was just as hard to single out one or two players for the least valuable player of the week.
Denard Span did go 5-for-24 (.208 BA) this week with two RBI. He also did not cross the plate one time for a run scored.
Jamey Carroll had a nice game in the win against the Mariners (2-for-4 with an RBI). The rest of the week he was 1-for-17 with one run scored.
Joe Mauer was the designated hitter in four of the five games he played in this last week, but they might as well have let the pitcher hit instead.
Joe did have the game-winning RBI on an infield single versus the Mariners, but that was his only hit of the week. Mauer finished the week 1-for-17 (.059 BA).
Josh Willingham was 1-for-18 (.056 BA), Danny Valencia finished 2-for-17 (.118 BA) and Chris Parmelee hit 1-for-19 (.053 BA); a not-so-productive week from the heart of the order.
Willingham, Valencia and Parmelee certainly deserve all the criticism they received after such a poor week, but at least they got a hit.
Trevor Plouffe, Sean Burroughs, Clete Thomas and Erik Komatsu all went hitless this past week, with Burroughs and Thomas being designated for assignment as the week finished.
Oh, and Justin Morneau's wrist injury put him back on the disabled list.
The Week Ahead
The Twins return to Target Field this week to once again to play three against the L.A. Angels and four versus the Toronto Blue Jays.
This week will see the major league debut of Brian Dozier and the season debut of pitcher Scott Diamond on Tuesday versus the Angels.
Of course I am writing this after the completion of Monday night's game versus the Angels where Francisco Liriano took on Jered Weaver, but that will be covered next week (Spoiler alert! Weaver didn't pitch another no-hitter).
The Twins have made a number of roster changes over the last week, hoping to infuse some energy into a club that has looked uninterested at times, only 28 games into the season.
Hopefully this current homestand will see a rebound from the offense which will give the Twins a chance at a winning week.