What hasn't been inspiring of late, however, is Scott Baker. He came off the DL in June and absolutely baffled hitters, but in his past five starts - including yesterday - Baker has seemed to lose his sense of the strike zone and is allowing hits at an alarmingly high rate with a 1.674 WHIP (34 hits, 14 BB) and 5.96 ERA in 28 2/3 innings. Baker has failed to get into the sixth inning in three of those starts, so not only is he hurting the team, he's also taxing the bullpen whenever he starts. Baker throws again on Friday in Los Angeles as the team starts a massive 14-game road trip, and there'll be no better time this season (barring playoffs) for him to start pitching well again.
We got some good news about Alexi Casilla and Matt Tolbert this weekend - both could play with the team in the coming weeks. Casilla took grounders, threw and hit off a tee Friday night and pounded some soft toss Saturdsay and is vying to return to the Twins at some point during this next road trip. Probably near the end of the month. Tolbert, on the other hand, will probably be a September addition to the team... no word on when, exactly, that will happen. Update: Alexi Casilla will begin a rehab assignment Monday, and should be back with the Twins on Wednesday.
Sunday Twins Notes: With four straight multi-hit games in a row, Delmon Young continued to slowly march his batting average upward - he's at .294 now and hasn't cracked .300 yet... Joe Mauer is 4-for-9 with a home run and 3 RBI ... found out that the new stadium is going to ROCK ... After batting just .136 so far in August, Justin Morneau came through with two hits yesterday to break a three-game hitless streak ... Just when you thought it was safe to put Jesse Crain on the mound, he gives up two earned runs on a hit and a walk - we need to rely on Crain, but he's making it awfully difficult ... Dennys Reyes, however, hasn't allowed an earned run in his past 10 appearances (since July 27), and has a 0.546 WHIP, 8.1 K/9 IP and incredible .111 BAA over those 7 1/3 innings.
Minor League Notes:
- Rochester OF Jason Pridie went hitless on Friday to end his 20-game hitting streak. Pridie got the night off Saturday as well. In his stead, 2B/3B Luke Hughes belted his third homer of the year for the Red Wings, and continues to look quite comfortable at the Triple-A level.
- With two home runs in his past three games, New Britain's Daniel Valencia has nearly matched his power output from high-A Fort Myers in the first half of the season. His .275/.320/.412 hitting line as a Rock Cat is decidedly worse, however. Teammate David Winfree now has 17 home runs on the season and has bashed three in his past seven games (11-for-30, .367 BA, 9 RBI).
- 24-year-old SP Yohan Pino has a 13-game scoreless streak for New Britain, and has two straight wins over that span, including an eight-inning shutout performance on Friday night.
- Elizabethton center fielder Angel Morales has caught fire of late, slamming eight hits - four for home runs - in his past 14 at bats (four games) for a team-leading 15 homers and .329 batting average in the process. This kid is only 19 years old, so keep an eye on a possible quick rise through the organization.