Found August 18, 2013 on Fox Sports North:
MINNEAPOLIS -- The record's been shattered into so many pieces, it's unclear who even appears on the cover. The Twins' descent continues. Among manifold problems, an almost complete lack of production with runners in scoring position stands out as a central reason. Even affable second baseman Brian Dozier is tired of talking about it. "We've been asked that a lot," said Dozier, one of the few Minnesota players who hangs around the clubhouse long after games these days. "It's not a different mentality or anything. You just have to bear down a little more." Manager Ron Gardenhire's frequently addressed it. "I don't know if it's trying too hard," Gardenhire said. "I think that probably comes into play. Guys read about it. Guys know about it. They're all working at it. The unfortunate part is the only way you can get better at it is for it to come up in game situations. You can't practice game situations during batting practice." They're numbers sitting in a vacuum, ready-made evidence for painful stretch after painful stretch. In their past 11 games, the Twins are 17-for-108 with runners in scoring position. In a 3-1 series loss to the Chicago White Sox that concluded Sunday afternoon with a 5-2 defeat, they went 9-for-46. They're batting .234 with a runner at second, third or both for the season, second-worst in the American League. And they've had plenty of opportunities; the Twins' 1,062 at-bats with runners in scoring position ranks third in the AL only behind Boston and Detroit. They have Major League Baseball's No. 3 doubles hitters in Joe Mauer. They get on base. But they stay on base. "The day someone says hitting's easy, I want to know the secret," said Dozier, who went 2-for-5 and scored a run Sunday. "It's definitely not easier (with runners in scoring position), but at the same time, you've got to get those big hits. "We've been struggling with that." The most recent glaring example came in the bottom of the fifth inning Sunday, when Minnesota (54-68) loaded the bases with one out. Josh Willingham drew a walk, Justin Morneau singled on a line drive to center, and Ryan Doumit followed with a base hit to left. With a chance to erase a three-run deficit, six- and seven-hole hitters Trevor Plouffe and Oswaldo Arcia both popped out in foul territory. "There you have it," Gardenhire said. "We missed opportunities again." A broken RISP, however, wasn't the only obstacle to Minnesota's chances to salvage a series split in front of 32,905. Pitcher Samuel Deduno suffered the worst of three straight rough outings: five innings pitched (tied for a season low), three hit batters (tied for a season high), four doubles and five earned runs. He hasn't pitched past the sixth since July 27, the last of six quality starts in a seven-game stretch. The breaking balls that fooled batters then have been spinning upward and offering a solid chance at contact. Deduno (7-7, 3.82 ERA) sent mixed messages when discussing his recent downturn. When asked if his arm was tiring, the 27-year-old right-hander responded, "a little." When asked if he still feels the same as he did in July, though, he said yes. "I think Sammy was a little erratic today," Gardenhire said. "I don't know. If he says he feels fine, he's not tired. It's just one of those erratic days." After permitting a 3-1 Twins series win in Chicago last weekend, the White Sox (49-74) closed out the return favor with a win from Hector Santiago. The third-year left-hander gave up nine hits and struck out just one but benefitted from Minnesota's continued lack of production with prime scoring opportunities. All told, the Twins left 12 men on base. They'll turn around and play a 1:10 p.m. makeup game Monday at Target Field against the New York Mets. Rookie right-hander Kyle Gibson is scheduled to face Dillon Gee in a tilt originally scheduled for April 14. Minnesota has lost five of its last seven home games. "It's terrible, to be honest with you," Dozier said in reference to that final factoid. "We don't go out there to lose, by any means." Follow Phil Ervin on Twitter

Brian Duensing improving his 'mediocre' season

MINNEAPOLIS -- Sitting with his head buried in his Target Field clubhouse locker, a framed 4x6 of his 1-year-old daughter, McKenna, watching over his nonchalant pregame routine of iPad chicanery, Brian Duensing suddenly received an open-palmed slap to the back of the neck. The 30-year-old Twins reliever swiveled his chair slightly to the left -- his pitching arm side -- just enough...

Rookie starter Andrew Albers takes first loss in stride

MINNEAPOLIS -- When he wasn't doing his darndest to figure out the Chicago White Sox lineup, the Minnesota Twins' newest prized commodity sat near the middle of the first-base dugout, occasionally picking at his fingernails in agitated remorse. It didn't at all resemble the guy who pitched a shutout his last time out here. During his first two big-league starts, rookie...

Twins Monday: Kyle Gibson says he understands demotion

MINNEAPOLIS -- What's almost certainly Kyle Gibson's last stroll off the Target Field pitcher's mound this season didn't end at the home dugout. Rather than watch all the latter stages of a 6-1, interleague loss he helped precipitate, the Twins rookie shuffled to the team's video room after being chased in the fourth inning. There, he sat through a painful self...

Twins option Kyle Gibson to Triple-A Rochester

MINNEAPOLIS -- Immediately after he put forth another sour performance, the Twins decided the 2013 Kyle Gibson experiment is over. The team announced immediately following their 6-1 loss Mondaythey've optioned the highly heralded rookie right-hander to Triple-A Rochester. Gibson, a 6-foot-6, hard-throwing 25-year-old, started 10 games during his first major leaguecollecting...

Trevor Plouffe Makes Diving Catch at Third Base, Can’t Get Ball Out of Glove To Make Play (GIF)

Trevor Plouffe just had a case of the Mondays. The Twins third baseman couldn’t pull it together Monday afternoon against the Mets. Mets center fielder Juan Lagares knocked a grounder that looked like it might thread the needle between Plouffe and shortstop Omar Quintanilla, but Plouffe was able to make a diving catch and get his glove on it. The problem arose when Plouffe couldn’t...

Twins' Mike Pelfrey identifies with Tejada, reveals Adderall use

Miguel Tejada's 105-game suspension for unauthorized use of a medication resonated with Twins pitcher Mike Pelfrey. Since 2009 Pelfrey has used Adderall to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) the right-hander revealed for the first time Saturday. That was reportedly the same medication for which Tejada tested positive prompting the third-longest non-lifetime...

Joe Mauer looks to lead Twins against White Sox

Now that Chris Sale no longer has the burden of trying to help end a season-high road slide for the Chicago White Sox, he can focus on continuing his recent dominance on the mound. The All-Star left-hander looks to win a season-high third straight start Saturday night against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Sale (8-11, 2.73 ERA) was mired in an 11-start stretch where he went...

Bring Milk, Last Snack On Twinkies

Morning Kids, Its game 4 in the series with the Minnesota Twins and Hector Santiago in the office to close out the series. Grab some bench and coffee and see you for the first pitch ***First Inning *1 – 0 (Sox Lead) Sox – De Aza(ground to first), Beckham(hit by pitch)(balk,move to second) Ramirez(single,Beckham scores) Dunn(He Gone), Konerko(ground to third,force at second...

Orioles Lukewarm on Morneau

The Baltimore Orioles are looking to beef up their lineup by adding a DH, and are planning on making multiple waiver claims, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.  But their interest in Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau has cooled according to a recent Rosenthal tweet. In a late July article the Baltimore Sun reported that the Orioles and Twins were having discussions...

Game Preview: Mets @ Twins

The Mets finally finish a long, long road trip on the West Coast with a make up game in Minnesota today. Ok, so Minnesota isn’t on the West Coast, but it’s in a different time zone so whatever. Anyway, in case you forgot, at the start of the season the Mets rolled into snowy Minnesota and Colorado thus causing the hectic schedule they are experiencing now. In other news, d...
MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.