Down on the Farm: AAA Report
Kevin Mulvey continued to impress this week, winning his sole start by going 7.0 innings and allowing just one run on 6 hits while striking out 9 batters, bringing his season ERA to 1.02. He by far continues to outshine fellow former-Met Philip Humber, who in two starts this week went 8.2 innings, allowing a combined 7 runs (5 earned) on 9 hits and 8 walks with 5 K's. Humber's season ERA sits at a rather precarious 5.09 this season, which is not particularly encouraging.
Meanwhile, lefty Brian Duensing had a reasonably solid week, picking up a win and a loss in his two starts. He actually pitched better in the loss, but his line for both games was pretty consistent -- he allowed 5.2 innings, 4 hits, and 2 walks in both starts. In his win, however, Duensing allowed 3 runs and struck out just 1 batter, while he allowed just 1 run and struck out 5 batters in the game that he lost. Baseball can be a bit strange that way. These two starts took Duensing's season ERA to a solid 2.74. Fellow lefty Glen Perkins continued to struggle this week, going just 4.1 innings in his lone start and allowing 4 runs (3 earned) on 8 hits and 3 walks while striking out five. He now has a 5.14 ERA on the season.
The Red Wings also got spot starts this week out of Casey Daigle (2.2 innings, 2 runs on 5 hits with a K in a losing effort) and Heath Totten (4.0 innings, 4 hits, 5 K's). Expect Kevin Slowey to get at least one start for the team while he's on his rehab assignment -- and maybe more than that. If there's nowhere in the Twins rotation for Slowey to slot into, he could wind up starting for the Red Wings for quite awhile.
Closer Bobby Korecky was the workhorse this week, getting into 5 games and picking up 3 saves, a win, and a loss. On the downside, he allowed his first earned run of the year -- but that still leaves him with an extremely solid 0.73 ERA on the season. Overall, Korecky pitched 6.1 innings over those 5 games, giving up 7 hits and 2 walks in addition to that previously mentioned run while striking out 4 batters.
Two bullpen lefties also turned in solid performances for the Red Wings this week. Carmen Cali put together four solid outings, going 3.2 innings and picking up a couple of wins while not allowing any runs and giving up just 3 hits and 3 walks along with 2 K's to bring his season ERA down to 2.08. Meanwhile, off-season addition Mariano Gomez pitched 6.2 innings in 3 games, picking up a save while not allowing a run and giving up just 3 hits and a walk while striking out 4 batters. Gomez has been stingy enough to have a 0.77 ERA this season, and may be involved in the conversation if the Twins lose a reliever to injury and need to call someone up. A third lefty, Ricky Barrett, also had an OK week as he went 3.0 innings in 2 games, allowing an earned run on 3 hits and 2 walks while striking out 3 to bring his season ERA to 2.79.
On the right-handed side of the 'pen, Julio DePaula got into 3 games and went 6.0 innings, allowing 1 run on 2 hits and 5 walks while striking out 6 (all in one game, in which he pitched 3.2 innings). DePaula's 2.84 ERA this year testifies to the fact that he's been pretty consistent so far this season. Spot starters Casey Daigle and Heath Totten also got a relief appearance each, with Totten going 1.1 innings and allowing an unearned run on a hit with 2 K's to bring his season ERA to 3.18, and Daigle going 2.0 innings allowing just 3 walks to bring his season ERA to 3.86.
I really wish I had good news for you Jose Morales fans, but he still hasn't quite snapped out of his offensive slump. He was a little better this week, going 4-for-21 (which, on the good side, did include a homer) in 6 starts behind the plate. That certainly was an improvement, but it still only brought his batting average to .143 on the season. Morales's backup Eli Whiteside also continues to be terrible at the plate, going 0-for-5 in two starts to drop his season average to .071.
Recently promoted Brian Buscher got 4 starts at 1B this week, which was the most of anyone. By now, you're probably aware that Buscher was hitting .345 by the time he earned his promotion. Before getting the call, he went 9-for-23 this week with a couple of long balls. Matt Macri also got a couple of starts at 1B, along with two starts at 3B and three as the DH. Macri went 7-for-23 this week to raise his season average to .271. The best thing about Macri's week was that he continued to cut down on his strikeouts, with just 3 K's this week. Meanwhile, Randy Ruiz also got a couple of starts at 1B this week along with 2 as the DH, going 4-for-15 with a double and an RBI to go along with 6 K's.
Howie Clark continues to be the starting shortstop for the Red Wings, and he actually hit pretty well this week, going 8-for-29 with 2 doubles and a triple to raise his batting average to .244. I personally would still prefer to see someone (anyone!) younger playing at this position, but there aren't a ton of candidates in AA who are ready to take it over, so I'll live with Clark for now.
With Macri spending most of his time at 1B and DH, Chris Basak picked up the bulk of the playing time at third, starting five games there and two at short. Basak went 5-for-21 on the week to raise his season average up to the lofty heights of .211. I guess starting Basak irks me more than starting Clark, incidentally. I still don't know why the Twins claimed him (how many times have I said that? I need to let it go!).
Finally, Alexi Casilla started 6 games at SS and 1 at 2B while continuing his epic struggles at the plate. Casilla went just 4-for-26 on the week, and his season average now sits at .164. Casilla's status as a prospect is starting to take a hit in my book -- but it's still very early, and there's plenty of time for him to turn things around and put together a decent season. He has to start in a hurry, though!
I was proud of myself last week for correctly predicting that Tommy Watkins would start to get some playing time in left field, but even I didn't see this coming -- Watkins started 6 games in LF this week and didn't get so much as one play as an infielder. Unfortunately, his change of position didn't improve his hitting, as he went just 4-for-17 to bring his average to .160 on the season. Jon Knott, who had been starting regularly in left, got two starts at the position along with 1 as the DH, and he was even worse than Watkins for the week: he put together a 1-for-11 week, and is now hitting just .179 on the year.
Jason Pridie started all 8 games for the Red Wings in center this week (they had a double-header on the schedule due to first week weather issues), and really turned himself around offensively, going 11-for-29 with 2 doubles, 2 triples, and a dinger. His season average now sits at .274, and while that isn't great it's a whole lot better than the .182 he sported a week ago. He also drove in a bunch of runs -- 9 of them, to be precise. It's nice to see Pridie get his offense on track after a weak start to his season.
Right field primarily belonged to Darnell McDonald, who was activated after a season-starting stint on the 7-day DL. McDonald went 9-for-24 to get his season off to a strong start, hitting a homerun and pickin up a couple of doubles (he went 3-for-3 with those two doubles and a couple of walks in his last start of the week). I'm not big on McDonald's future as a big leaguer (remember how he looked up during his short callup last year?), but that doesn't mean I don't wish him well, and I'm happy to see him start off hot. Meanwhile, Garrett Jones also got two starts in right along with a game as the DH, and he went just 1-for-11 to drop his season average to .224.