Found June 01, 2013 on
Fox Sports North:
MINNEAPOLIS The Minnesota Twins thought they lucked out by not having to face Mariners ace Felix Hernandez in this weekend's three-game series.
It turns out Hernandez may have been a welcomed sight at Target Field.
Instead, the Twins were shut down by Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma. The 32-year-old right-hander blanked Minnesota for 7 23 innings as the Mariners won Friday's series opener 3-0.
"Their guy was pretty good," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Iwakuma. "There's a lot of movement. You talk to hitters, his ball disappears. He's got a great splitter and his fastball, he can locate it in and out."
It wasn't the first time Iwakuma has had Minnesota's number. Friday marked the third time he's faced the Twins in his two seasons with the Mariners. He entered Friday's start having gone 2-0 in those two starts during the 2012 season. He also had not allowed an earned run in 13 innings while strikeout out 10 and walking five.
Friday Iwakuma extended his streak against the Twins to 20 23 innings without allowing an earned run. Minnesota certainly had chances, though. In the third inning, right fielder Chris Parmelee was on third base after his leadoff double was followed by a Pedro Florimon single. Jamey Carroll then bounced one up the middle that was fielded by Mariners shortstop Brendan Ryan.
Parmelee headed for home on contact and Ryan's throw beat Parmelee to the plate. Despite Parmelee's efforts to lodge the ball free from catcher Jesus Sucre with a collision, Sucre held on to keep the Twins scoreless and help preserve Iwakuma's streak of zero unearned runs allowed.
"I was just a hair late leaving," Parmelee said. "Ryan made a pretty good play at shortstop. He was blocking most of the plate. I was originally going to slide and then I saw him standing right in front of home plate. Zero-zero ballgame, trying to make something happen."
Minnesota again looked as if it might finally get to Iwakuma in the fifth inning, and Parmelee and Florimon were involved in the action yet again. Parmelee drew a one-out walk one of the two issued by Iwakuma and Florimon later came to the plate with two outs. Florimon's slicing drive down the left field line bounced into the seats for a ground rule double, leaving Parmelee at third.
Parmelee said he believed he would have scored if the ball stayed in play. Instead, he was stranded on third when Carroll tapped back to Iwakuma to end the Twins' second scoring threat of the game against the Seattle starter.
"Just an unlucky bounce right there," Parmelee said.
Minnesota finally chased Iwakuma after 7 23 innings and 88 pitches, but he ended his night without allowing an earned run. As the Mariners bullpen preserved the 3-0 lead, Iwakuma improved to a perfect 3-0 against the Twins in three career starts.
Everyone talks about Hernandez, the former Cy Young winner and ace of the staff, when talking about the Mariners' rotation and rightfully so. But Iwakuma perhaps deserves to be a part of those talks.
With Friday's performance, he inserted himself into the conversation. Iwakuma improved to a team-best 6-1 on the year and lowered his already-impressive ERA to 2.13 in 12 starts. He now has 74 strikeouts and just 13 walks in 80 13 innings on the year.
Hernandez may still be Seattle's ace, but Iwakuma isn't far behind him this season. The Twins found that out the hard way Friday.
"He had some really good stuff," said Parmelee, one of the few Twins batters who actually got a hit off Iwakuma. "He threw the heck out of that split-finger tonight. Timely hits, some hits we could have gotten and put some runs on the board."
Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
MINNEAPOLIS Trevor Plouffe is heading to the disabled list. Again.
On the same day the Twins third baseman was activated from the 7-day concussion DL, Plouffe injured his left calf during pregame warmups on Wednesday. He was scratched from the lineup and was not in the lineup Thursday. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said Plouffe will land on the 15-day DL due to his strained calf...
Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero was diagnosed with a
torn meniscus in his left knee on Saturday and is set to undergo surgery next
week, the team has announced. The procedure is expected to sidelined Montero
for four to six weeks.
The Mariners recently demoted Montero – the former top
prospect acquired in the trade that sent Michael Pineda to the New York Yankees...
MINNEAPOLIS Ryan Doumit has been in a groove lately. The Twins catcher had a stretch of four straight multi-RBI games earlier this week as he helped Minnesota win four straight against Milwaukee.After going 0-for-4 on Friday against the Mariners, Doumit found his groove again in dramatic fashion.With two runners on and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Doumit delivered...
Who would have thought a simple slip and fall while shoveling snow would end someone's season? Carl Pavano's season ended before it ever began - before he even had a team to play for. This past winter he suffered a ruptured spleen and now says he will not pitch at all this year.
According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Pavano is still battling through recovery from...
MINNEAPOLIS All offseason, the Twins preached the importance of bolstering a starting pitching rotation that was among the worst in baseball in 2012. Through two months of the 2013 season, Minnesota is still near the bottom of many starting pitching categories.
Prior to Thursday, Twins starters had a combined 5.64 ERA, tied with Houston for the worst in baseball. By comparison...
The Seattle Mariners have outrighted short stop Robert Andino to their Triple-A Tacoma farm club after he cleared waivers following his designation for assignment a few days back.
Battling a cold bat all season long, he batted a mere .184 in 76 at bats for the Mariners this season.
Short stop is a pretty weak position, so to go unclaimed shows you just what major league organizations...
Well, the Twins are who we thought they were. They're clearly lacking in the pitching department, but the offense that "isn't a problem" has kind of been a problem too.
Rather than go over how much everyone sucks in the majors, let's look at some of the players that make up one of the deeper groups of prospects in major league baseball.
Joe Mauer is batting second in today’s game against the Mariners, which most people think is the right move. You want your best on base hitters to get on early and often. Line up efficiency researchers have even said that the best hitters should bat 2nd, because it allows for them to be on base with good hitters behind them and chances to hit with runners on base immediately behind...
The Seattle Mariners have spent the past few games without sluggers Mike Morse and Justin Smoak. That should change this weekend, as the M's expect to get both players back from their injuries, according to Greg Johns of MLB.com.
Morse has been recovering from a quad injury that he suffered during Tuesday's contest. He sustained the ailment while attempting to score...
Ryan Doumit's two-run triple off Tom Wilhelmsen with one out in the ninth inning sent the Minnesota Twins to a 5-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners on Saturday afternoon.
This was the third blown save of the season for Wilhelmsen (0-1), all in his last four tries. The right-hander pitched a perfect ninth for the save Friday night, but he walked the first three batters he faced...
Hisashi Iwakuma struck out five in 7 2-3 innings and Kendrys Morales homered to lead the Seattle Mariners to a 3-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins on Friday night.
Iwakuma (6-1) gave up seven hits and walked two and Jesus Sucre added two hits and an RBI for the Mariners, who snapped Minnesota's four-game winning streak. Tom Wilhelmsen picked up his 12th save.
Trevor Plouffe had not even been off the 7-day disabled list long enough to play in a game before he was placed back on the 15-day disabled list. The 26-year old outfielder was recovering from a concussion, but now he is battling a calf strain.
Tyler Mason of Fox Sports North confirmed the strange move yesterday. It was only strange in the fact that Plouffe had not been available...
While the Minnesota Twins appear to be playing some of their best baseball, they're likely in for a tough test against a right-hander who hasn't lost in more than a month.
The surging Twins look to match their season-best winning streak Friday night when they face the Seattle Mariners' red-hot starter Hisashi Iwakuma.
Minnesota (23-28) took advantage of struggling Milwaukee...
Nick Franklin hit his first two big league home runs and Kendrys Morales, Brendan Ryan and Endy Chavez also went deep to give the Seattle Mariners a 7-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Thursday.
The five homers were a season high for the Mariners, who worked over Andrew Cashner and Petco Park in earning a split of their home-and-home, two-game series with the Padres.