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  • Big Night for the Twins: Arcia, Pressly, Gibson & More

    It was a very good night for the Twins on Wednesday. Expectations coming into the season were that the Twins offense could be very good. To this point in the season, the Twins offense has been pretty non-good. A 15-run game can help get things going for individuals and, we all hope, also for the offense and the team as a whole.

    There were a lot of highlights in the game, and amazingly, there were even a couple important highlights for pitchers as well.

    The one negative from this game was the performance of lefty Pedro Hernandez. The soft-tosser certainly has had his moments this season, but he was only able to get through two innings and he gave up six runs. It was especially disappointing, certainly, because the Twins offense gave him plenty of support.

    However, in a night full of hitting highlights, the player of the game, in my mind, was Ryan Pressly. And, just to be thorough, we have to explain the back story. As you know, this year the Twins made Pressly their Rule 5 selection, taking him from the Boston Red Sox organization. He likely came to spring training with an outside shot at making the Twins bullpen. As some injuries and poor performances crept in, Pressly continued to get outs. Thinking long-term, the Twins kept him on their opening day roster and he has pitched pretty well in limited duty so far this season.

    So, coming into a crazy game in the third inning in Fenway Park, a place he likely wanted to call home for the past several years, you can only imagine the thoughts and nerves running through his mind and body. In spite of this, he showed up and he performed. He gave the Twins exactly what they needed. That is, he pitched effectively. Even the most optimistic Twins fans could not have realistically hoped for four shutout innings from the rookie. That’s exactly what he did, giving up just two hits and two walks. In the end, Pressly was rewarded with the W, giving him the first win of his big league career.

    The other pitching performance of note on Wednesday took place in Toledo, Ohio, where the Rochester Red Wings got a 3-0 win over the Toledo Mudhens. Why is this important? A night after these two teams went 16 innings and the Red Wings used nine pitchers, Kyle Gibson gave the team a complete game shutout. He yielded just four hits, walked two and struck out eight. He threw 114 pitches.

    Why is this this important? The fact that Gibson is pitching on the same day as Hernandez, who has struggled his last couple of outings, may not be completely coincidental. Could it be possible that Gibson’s next start will be on Monday, not in the International League, but at Target Field against the White Sox? It is certainly not a given, but it is possible.

    Gibson has had two poor starts in Rochester this year. He has had one OK start. He has had three good starts, and Wednesday’s start would likely be classified as great. He will continue to need to gain consistency, but both his pitch count and that he recorded a strikeout for the final out tell us that his arm is where it needs to be. Whether he debuts with the Twins next Monday or next month, it is very encouraging.

    Red Wings play-by-play man Josh Whetzel tweeted some interesting details about Gibson’s complete game shutout. “He induced 11 ground outs (2 for DPs), 2 infield pop ups, 1 infield line out and 3 outfield fly ball outs.”

    It’s encouraging for Gibson for another reason. First, Sam Deduno has now made his first Red Wings start. Cole De Vries pitched on Sunday in a rehab start for Ft. Myers. He is scheduled to start for New Britain on Friday. Along with Liam Hendriks and PJ Walters, options are lining up to take a spot in the Twins rotation. (Do the Twins have too much pitching?)



    Now to the hitting. Oswaldo Arcia enjoyed his final day as a 21-year-old by becoming the first Twins rookie to get four hits in a game since Joe Benson did in September of 2011 against Ubaldo Jimenez, Chris Perez and Cleveland. Arcia came into the game hitting .255 and ended the night at .300. The first hit came off of Red Sox starting Allan Webster. The next three hits came off of southpaw Felix Doubrant: two solid singles to left field and a big double off the wall.

    The scouting reports on his offense have been accurate to this point in his career. He is quite aggressive and he wants to go up to bat swinging. I love watching that. That said, he doesn’t go outside the strike zone a lot either. As we saw in his 2-0 green light swing, he is not afraid to take a mammoth cut. We have already seen him launch two homers. I had always heard about his power to all fields. I watched him take a couple of rounds of batting practice two years ago and watched him hit long balls to left, center and right. But to see him stay down on pitches and hit them hard the other way is very encouraging, long term.

    Arcia hitting left-handed pitching is also important. A year ago at this time, he was playing in Ft. Myers and struggling against southpaws. He moved up to AA New Britain in mid-June and at that point he suddenly was able to hit lefties. Was that a short-term, small sample? Or, was it a sign of notable improvement? It’s something to watch, but thus far, the results have been quite positive.

    Two days ago, Ryan Doumit was hitting .158. After five hits in the last two games, he is now hitting .239 and looking like the hitter he was in 2012.

    Trevor Plouffe had three hits on Wednesday and is now 8-21 (.381) over his last six games, beginning the streak with a couple of home runs in Cleveland. One year ago today, Plouffe was hitting .103, the low point of his season. Maybe it should be encouraging he’s hitting .244 so far this year.

    Getting Plouffe and Doumit going will be very important in helping the Twins extend their lineup. Likewise, it was good to see Justin Morneau take some quality at-bats. He has kept his batting average in the .250 to .267 range, which is where it is after a 2-3 night. However, he has shown very little power while batting in the middle of the lineup. Looking ahead, I think the patience we have seen in recent games bodes well.

    Pedro Florimon had a home run and a double in the second inning. His home run was a lined shot to right field while batting left handed. Later in the inning, he came up right-handed and hit a double off The Monster. Any offense from Florimon is welcomed.

    I almost forgot… Joe Mauer had three hits, including two doubles. Sure, he had his little slump and saw his batting average drop to “just” .282. Now, over the past four games, he is 8-16 (.500) and has raised his average to .311. Of those eight hits, six were doubles. He has also walked five times in those four games. In other words, yes, he is pretty good.

    It was a big night for the Twins, their offense, their bullpen and for one of their future pitchers. It is important to remember that it is just one night. In baseball consistency is often one of the most difficult things to find. However, there were some nice performances from hitters that will, we hope, find a way to continue heating up. There are also some nice trends to provide optimism. The older veterans are known commodities. The second-tier veterans are, perhaps, starting to take a step toward being more productive. And the hope is the young players can continue to improve and contribute.
    This article was originally published in blog: Big Night for the Twins: Arcia, Pressly, Gibson & More started by Seth Stohs
    Comments 30 Comments
    1. Brodin4Calder's Avatar
      Brodin4Calder -
      Its awesome to see Gibson doing so well, we need a guy that can throw the ball hard in our roto. Im sick of seeing 89mph fastballs getting crushed to all fields, I dont think we have one starter that can get close to mid 90s like Gibson. We have alot of great young arms that im super excited to see. Gibson, Meyer and Borrios could all be great. Hopefully to Twins draft Manaea too.
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      A great night and a great article. Last year we had only great articles.
    1. Carneal&Gordon's Avatar
      Carneal&Gordon -
      Great article, what a night!

      This team is about to takeoff offensively
    1. roger's Avatar
      roger -
      Seth, I have a prediction of sorts. When Mastroianni is ready to come off the DL, do the Twins send Hicks to Rochester rather than Arcia?

      I have been most impressed with the adjustments Arcia has made in several games against top pitchers. The other night he struck out in his first at bat against Buchholz. He then had several solid at bats later in the game against one of the league's best. Have seen this in several games recently which is an indication that he should continue to get better as the year goes on.

      Even though Hicks is hitting a bit better, they may want to make a point about his defensive lapses and give him a chance to collect his thoughts and gain some experience in AAA. Could start Mastroianni in center with Ramirez available to pinch hit. Would keep getting Arcia playing time at the expense of Parmelee, Doumit and whomever.

      Do you think this is possible?
    1. troyhobbs's Avatar
      troyhobbs -
      They have to send Hicks down over Arcia don't they? Hicks is the future but isn't playing like a quality big leaguer to this point, Arcia is.
    1. Seth Stohs's Avatar
      Seth Stohs -
      Can't imagine Mastroianni coming off the DL and being thrust into everyday duty. I hope Garcia is sent down for a week to get him over 20 days in the minors to hold his free agency back a year. Then bring him back and send Hicks down.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      I don't think Mastro will ever be ready for everyday duty. He hasn't been an everyday player for a few years, even in the minors. He's great as a fourth outfielder, though. I'd send Wilkin down before either Hicks or Arcia. I think those two can learn a lot more up here with Bruno as their coach than they can down in Rochester, not the least of which is the pitchers up here.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      "Expectations coming into the season were that the Twins offense could be very good."

      I'd say that's a bit of an exaggeration. It seems most of us "optimists" thought the offense would be somewhere in the "acceptable" range. Outside of the most pie-in-the-sky homers, I think most of us saw a regression from Willingham and the loss of Span hurting the offense over the course of 162 games. Sure, that could be offset by an uptick from Plouffe and Morneau but overall, I think the best case scenario is something close to the 2012 offense output.
    1. twinscowboysbulls's Avatar
      twinscowboysbulls -
      Send down Ramirez, instead of Hicks or Arcia, PLEASE.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by twinscowboysbulls View Post
      Send down Ramirez, instead of Hicks or Arcia, PLEASE.
      I don't understand even entertaining the thought of sending Arcia back to Rochester.

      Hicks is more of a mixed bag... He's definitely been better in the past two weeks and is posting a .704 OPS in May (only ~25 PAs so SSS). Still, I think you have to let him ride this "hot streak" and see if it continues.

      Give him until the end of the month and then reconsider.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      "Expectations coming into the season were that the Twins offense could be very good."

      I'd say that's a bit of an exaggeration. It seems most of us "optimists" thought the offense would be somewhere in the "acceptable" range. Outside of the most pie-in-the-sky homers, I think most of us saw a regression from Willingham and the loss of Span hurting the offense over the course of 162 games. Sure, that could be offset by an uptick from Plouffe and Morneau but overall, I think the best case scenario is something close to the 2012 offense output.
      exactly. I remember saying that the offense was gonna take a hit with the loss of our #1 and #2 hitters. Never for a moment did I think our offense would be 'very good.'
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      exactly. I remember saying that the offense was gonna take a hit with the loss of our #1 and #2 hitters. Never for a moment did I think our offense would be 'very good.'
      The Twins had a #2 hitter last season?

      I don't consider Revere a "loss". Somebody would be able to step in and replace or surpass his relatively meager output in 2012. Looks like that guy is Arcia.

      Losing Span was definitely a blow, though.
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
      The Twins had a #2 hitter last season?

      I don't consider Revere a "loss". Somebody would be able to step in and replace or surpass his relatively meager output in 2012. Looks like that guy is Arcia.

      Losing Span was definitely a blow, though.
      The .333 OBP that vacated the #2 spot was enough of a loss we now have to use our #3 hitter in the #2 spot...and the ripple down that causes.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      The .333 OBP that vacated the #2 spot was enough of a loss we now have to use our #3 hitter in the #2 spot...and the ripple down that causes.
      1. It's not that difficult to replace a .333 OBP, particularly when it is accompanied by a .342 slugging percentage.

      2. Some of that is offset just by moving your 3, 4, 5 and 6 hitters to the the 2, 3, 4 and 5 slots.

      Replacing Revere's offense is not a challenge, especially considering the outfielders in the farm system.
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      Kind of interesting that the two best pitching performances for the Twins in Boston have come from Rule 5 draftees.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
      I don't think Mastro will ever be ready for everyday duty. He hasn't been an everyday player for a few years, even in the minors. He's great as a fourth outfielder, though. I'd send Wilkin down before either Hicks or Arcia. I think those two can learn a lot more up here with Bruno as their coach than they can down in Rochester, not the least of which is the pitchers up here.
      But then, Arcia would no longer have his interpreter. If Florimon or Escobar are nominated to take over, something is bound to get lost in the translation.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      Quote Originally Posted by ThePuck View Post
      The .333 OBP that vacated the #2 spot was enough of a loss we now have to use our #3 hitter in the #2 spot...and the ripple down that causes.
      The only ripple down I see in the stats is from the leadoff spot. Here's the slash line that ranks worst in the league for that place in the order:

      .197/.246/.242/.488

      And that number is way up due to Dozier and Carroll replacing Hicks.

      Here's what's actually happened over the season and in May:

      Mauer OPS .846 May OPS .1156
      Willingham OPS .877 May OPS .657

      Morneau OPS .684 May OPS .673
      Parmelee OPS .611 May OPS .678


      Plouffe OPS .793 May OPS .1125
      Doumit OPS .713 May OPS .1136
      Arcia OPS .810 May OPS .1023

      Hicks OPS .441 May OPS .704
      Dozier OPS .607 May OPS .598


      Florimon OPS .663 May OPS .778

      To reiterate, I don't see a ripple down effect from moving Mauer up. What I do see is no solid plan, only hope, from management that somehow a reliable leadoff hitter would rise to the challenge and take the spot.

      Of their own accord, Morneau clearly isn't carrying his weight, Parmelee still has the jury out with his streakiness, while Hicks and Dozier have a ways to go to be considered decent major leaguers.

      The other 6 players listed in the order above are well on their way to having anywhere from career-norm to career-best seasons at the plate.
    1. cmathewson's Avatar
      cmathewson -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      But then, Arcia would no longer have his interpreter. If Florimon or Escobar are nominated to take over, something is bound to get lost in the translation.
      Maybe the Twins could hire a translator? Or we can continue to have interviews like Florimon's in the post game show last night:

      "What's it like playing in Fenway park with the atmosphere and the fans and the history of the ballpark?"

      "I just try not to do too much. I just put a good swing on de ball and it go out."

      Entertaining stuff.
    1. jokin's Avatar
      jokin -
      I give Pedro all the credit in the world for going out there and at least trying. But somehow, I think this is the only complete phrase he's mastered, given he used it 5 times. ( if you got "I just put a good swing on de ball..." from anything else he said, you might want to apply for Wilkin's job! )


      I just try not to do too much....

      ....I just try not to do too much...

      ....I just try not to do too much...

      ....I just try not to do too much...

      ....I just try not to do too much...
    1. ThePuck's Avatar
      ThePuck -
      Quote Originally Posted by jokin View Post
      The only ripple down I see in the stats is from the leadoff spot. Here's the slash line that ranks worst in the league for that place in the order:

      .197/.246/.242/.488

      And that number is way up due to Dozier and Carroll replacing Hicks.

      Here's what's actually happened over the season and in May:

      Mauer OPS .846 May OPS .1156
      Willingham OPS .877 May OPS .657

      Morneau OPS .684 May OPS .673
      Parmelee OPS .611 May OPS .678


      Plouffe OPS .793 May OPS .1125
      Doumit OPS .713 May OPS .1136
      Arcia OPS .810 May OPS .1023

      Hicks OPS .441 May OPS .704
      Dozier OPS .607 May OPS .598


      Florimon OPS .663 May OPS .778

      To reiterate, I don't see a ripple down effect from moving Mauer up. What I do see is no solid plan, only hope, from management that somehow a reliable leadoff hitter would rise to the challenge and take the spot.

      Of their own accord, Morneau clearly isn't carrying his weight, Parmelee still has the jury out with his streakiness, while Hicks and Dozier have a ways to go to be considered decent major leaguers.

      The other 6 players listed in the order above are well on their way to having anywhere from career-norm to career-best seasons at the plate.
      I'm talking about how it's affected the lineup from last year to this year. Mauer has ONLY batted 2nd this year. I read somewhere, maybe in here, that we have one of the worst heart of the order 3/4/5 in baseball stats-wise. Do you remember seeing that in here?
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