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Updated: April 26th, 2012 12:03am
Twins hold meeting with pitchers, catchers immediately following sweep

Twins hold meeting with pitchers, catchers immediately following sweep

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Liam Hendriks' seven-run clunker in a 7-6 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night bloated the Minnesota Twins starters' ERA to 7.09 through 19 games.

Yes, 7.09.

Immediately following the game -- which marked the third time the Twins have been swept already this season -- pitching coach Rick Anderson gathered all 13 pitchers and both catchers for a 20-minute, closed-door meeting while manager Ron Gardenhire held his post-game press conference with the media.

In the meeting -- described as "tame" by one team source -- Anderson encouraged pitchers to pitch to their strengths and stick with their game plans until opposing hitters force them to change.

Hendriks did the exact opposite on Wednesday night.

"It's just disappointing. ... I changed my game plan early on, and I didn't make them change it," the right-hander said. "After that long (15-pitch) at-bat to (Adrian) Gonzalez I just started trying to flip some off-speed stuff over there and went away from my strength, which is pounding the zone with fastballs. ...

"I think I just gave the guys too much credit. I was trying to trick them a little bit too much and not play with my strengths of panning the zone. They didn't hit my two-seam fastball all that well. They got a couple of infield singles, but predominantly they were getting out on it. So I mistakenly just started throwing some off-speed stuff up there and tried to trick guys, instead of going straight after them like I usually do."

In 19 games, Twins starters have combined for only three quality starts. And heading into Wednesday, only 43% of pitches thrown by Twins starters crossed through the strike zone, which ranked 28th in the major leagues.

The Twins' offense certainly hasn't broken out like it appears to be capable of yet, missing consistently on opportunities with runners in scoring position, but the bats have scratched across 71 runs while the pitchers and defense have allowed an MLB-high 109.

"There's no finger-pointing," said Justin Morneau, who is now slugging .492 after adding a double and a single in Wednesday night's game. "We play together, and nobody's going to blame anyone. It's never pitchers against hitters. It's win together, lose together. And right now, if we need to win 3 to 2, we need to win 3 to 2. If we need to win 8 to 7, whatever it is. ...

"We can't say, 'It's this guy's fault, or that guy's fault.' I haven't been driving in the runs that I've needed to drive in, which would take a lot of pressure off those guys. It's all part of it."

Phil Mackey is a columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Ron Gardenhire, Justin Morneau
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