Joe Mauer (Photo: Samara Pearlstein)

After winning two of three against the Tigers, the Boston Red Sox (53-52, 8.5 games back in the American League East) host the Minnesota Twins (44-60, 13 games back in the American League Central). Both teams are 5-5 in their last 10 games.

STARTING PITCHERS Sam Deduno, Brian Duensing, Cole De Vries, and Nick Blackburn

Sam Deduno (taking on Jon Lester in the opener) is a statistical nightmare. Although Deduno has a good 3.13 ERA, his FIP is a terrible 5.30 and his xFIP is a pedestrian 4.44? Why is that? Walks. Deduno is surrendering 6.26 walks per nine innings versus 7.06 strikeouts per nine (1.13 K/BB). Deduno’s batting average against of .241 shows that he can be effective, but like many young pitchers, it seems like Deduno tries to do everything himself. He’s the anti-Aaron Cook, if you will.

Brian Duensing (facing Felix Doubront) is Aaron Cook with strikeouts and walks. Minnesota’s sinkerballer is striking out 4.98 batters per nine in 2012 and walking 2.41 (2.06 K/BB). His pitching triple line of 4.53 ERA/4.19 FIP/4.77 xFIP is pretty average. Duensing’s ground ball rate of 43.7% should be higher, especially because 40% of his pitches are sinkers. At least Duensing is not surrendering many homers, giving up only 6 in 59.2 innings pitched.

Cole De Vries (against Clay Buchholz) gives up homers. I repeat – Cole De Vries gives up homers. His homer rate is a terrible 2.09 per nine innings (12 in 52 innings). With a groundball rate of only 29.3%, it’s no surprise. De Vries’s 6.23 K/9 is sort of average but his walk rate of 1.73 per nine is pretty good, resulting in an excellent 3.60 K/BB. But those homers…

Nick Blackburn (versus Josh Beckett in the finale) is having a terrible season. His triple slash line of 7.43 ERA/5.83 FIP/5.12 xFIP is as ugly as it gets. His problem is that he has been tremendously hittable – his batting average against is a stunningly bad .316. I’d suggest the Twins put him into the pen but honestly, who else do they have?

EXPECTED LINEUP

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Ben Revere, RF
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Josh Willingham, DH
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, LF
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. Brian Dozier, SS
9. Jamey Carroll, 2B

WHO’S HOT/WHO’S NOT

At least the Twins are hitting. In the last two weeks Ben Revere (.340/.392/.468, .402 wOBA, 158 wRC+), Denard Span (.380/.426/.480, .400 wOBA, 156 wRC+) and Justin Morneau (.308/.357/.513, .375 wOBA, 139 wRC+) are the hot hitters for the Twins. However, Trevor Plouffe (.143/.143/.286, .179 wOBA, 4 wRC+) and Jamey Carroll (.182/.282/.212, .234 wOBA, 43 wRC+) are doing their best Punto imitation.

In the bullpen, erstwhile closer Glen Perkins (2.96 ERA/2.86 FIP/3.28 xFIP) is having a very good season, and is joined by Jared Burton (2.36 ERA/3.61 FIP/3.85 xFIP) and Casey Fien (1.59 ERA/2.46 FIP/4.81 xFIP), although Fien’s xFIP is worrying. Alex Burnett (2.84 ERA/4.21 FIP/4.96 xFIP, 4.81 SIERA) has a decent ERA but otherwise pedestrian statistics. Conversely, Tyler Robertson (7.84 ERA/5.31 FIP/2.68 xFIP, 2.41 SIERA) has a terrible ERA but otherwise his stats show he is pitching very well.

INJURIES

RHP Scott Baker (recovery from April 2012 Tommy John surgery) is out for the year. RHP Carl Pavano (right shoulder) and RHP P.J. Walters (right shoulder inflammation) are on the 60-day DL. RHP Matt Capps (rotator cuff irritation), RF/SS Trevor Plouffe (bruised right thumb) and RHP Anthony Swarzak (mild right rotator cuff strain) are on the 15-day DL.

AND WHAT ABOUT THE RED SOX?

In the last two weeks, Will Middlebrooks (.341/.356/.523, .377 wOBA, 135 wRC+), Adrian Gonzalez (.327/.365/.469, .363 wOBA, 125 wRC+) and Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.267/.333/.600, .378 wOBA, 135 wRC+) are carrying the load for the Red Sox hitters. Mike Aviles (.143/.138/.179, .134 wOBA, -32 wRC+) and Carl Crawford (.175/.214/.375, .252 wOBA, 49 wRC+ but 2 homers), however, are the ones being carried.

As for the starters, Clay Buchholz (1.57 ERA/3.60 FIP/4.58 xFIP) was the only pitcher to have a decent fortnight. The bloom is certainly off the rose for Aaron Cook (9.00 ERA/8.62 FIP/4.60 xFIP) In the bullpen, Alfredo Aceves (0.00 ERA/2.77 FIP/4.64 xFIP), along with (technically) the newly acquired Craig Breslow (0.00 ERA/0.08 FIP/2.30 xFIP) and the now-demoted Clayton Mortensen (0.00 ERA/5.71 FIP/7.37 xFIP), hold the Blutarsky ERA Award. On the flip side, what is wrong with Mark Melancon (18.69 ERA/8.62 FIP/6.64 xFIP)?

SUMMARY

Bad times in Twins land. They need effective starters.

Categories: Aaron Cook Adrian Gonzalez Alex Burnett Alfredo Aceves Anthony Swarzak Ben Revere Boston Red Sox Brian Dozier Brian Duensing Carl Crawford Carl Pavano Casey Fien Clay Buchholz Clayton Mortensen Cole DeVries Craig Breslow Danny Valencia Denard Span Detroit Tigers Felix Doubront Glen Perkins Jamey Carroll Jared Burton Jarrod Saltalamacchia Jon Lester Josh Beckett Josh Willingham Justin Morneau Mark Melancon Matt Capps Mike Aviles Minnesota Twins Nick Blackburn P.J. Walters Ryan Doumit Sam Deduno Scott Baker Trevor Plouffe Tyler Robertson Will Middlebrooks

Scott Candage is a long-time Red Sox fan. He recently came in third in the 127th annual Upperclass Twit of the Year competition. His best friend is a tree and he is a stockbroker in his spare time.

One Response to “The Advanced Scout – Minnesota Twins” Subscribe

  1. Adam August 2, 2012 at 6:05 PM #

    Fun fact about Aaron Cook: he has the 11th worst K/9 of any pitchers to have thrown 40+ innings since 1900. His 0.81 K/9 rate is also the worst since WWII.

    I'd really be OK with Joe Blanton at this point.