Wetmore: 5 thoughts on All-Star week, boo birds, Correia, and Iwakuma
Kevin Correia locked in a pitcher's duel Monday with Hisashi Iwakuma but the Twins offense couldn't push a run across against the Mariners. Minnesota lost, 2-0.
This column presents 5 thoughts from Monday's game.
As always, feel free to ask questions or make observations in the comments. If you have a unique baseball observation during a game, feel free to share it with me on Twitter (@DerekWetmore).
1. All-Star Game fever is upon us. I'm excited for the game and surrounding festivities not only because more people will see how great of a ballpark Target Field is, but it's a great chance for the city of Minneapolis to put its best foot forward.
I sat down Monday with Twins President Dave St. Peter for an episode of the Sports Over Beers podcast. I also talked a bit of baseball with Phil Mackey, but if you want to avoid that you can fastforward about half way through for the St. Peter interview.
Additional reading: Alex Meyer has replaced Trevor May (calf strain) in the All-Star Futures Game. Twins fans are hoping it's the not-too-distant future.
2. Kendrys Morales was booed in his first plate appearance back in Seattle since rejecting a qualifying offer during the offseason. Turning down a qualifying offer meant the Mariners would have been in line for a compensatory draft pick from whichever team signed Morales before June's first-year player draft. No team did, of course, and the Twins added Morales roughly a month ago, so they didn't have to offer a draft pick in return.
Morales came up through the Angels system and then spent one year with Seattle after working his way back from a major leg injury and subsequent complications during his recovery. His year with the Mariners was a good one. He hit .277/.336/.449 with 23 home runs in 657 plate appearances.
Since a hot start with the Twins, Morales hasn't added much offensively. He entered Monday hitting .216/.243/.294 in 107 plate appearances.
3. Kevin Correia pitched well Monday, which was important for the Twins following Ricky Nolasco's unsightly start Sunday. Correia lasted 7 innings and allowed just two runs on five hits. He walked three and struck out one. He also gave up a pair of solo home runs and got nine outs on fly balls. (Sam Fuld nearly robbed the second of two home runs and collided with the center field wall. Fuld had a concussion earlier this season, and that's always a concern when he makes hard contact with an outfield wall. He remained in the game and made a catch to end the inning.)
That start was needed because of how poorly Ricky Nolasco had pitched in the series finale against the Yankees on Sunday at Target Field. Speaking of Nolasco, reports out of Seattle said that he would return to the Twin Cities to be evaluated after revealing he has been pitching with a sore elbow.
After Sunday's outing and a 2-inning start from Kyle Gibson on Friday, seven strong innings from Correia were a welcomed site for Minnesota.
Unfortunately for Correia and the Twins...
4. Hisashi Iwakuma's streak of not allowing an earned run against the Twins reached 33 2/3 innings. In that time (his first five starts against Minnesota), Iwakuma has allowed just 20 hits, 8 walks and has struck out 34.
A sub-1.00 WHIP, a 0.00 ERA and a strikeout-to-walk ratio better than 4:1? That's respectable.
5. Iwakuma also set a season-high in strikeouts Monday with 10.
It looked like home plate umpire Lance Barksdale was giving the low strike. Oswaldo Arcia in particular looked frustrated after a called third strike in the fourth inning. Barksdale rung up Arcia, who then threw his bat high in the air in apparent disgust and took off his helmet and hit it against the ground. It's entirely possible Arcia simply was upset with himself after taking a third strike. But that sort of display could rub opponents and umpires the wrong way. I like watching players compete with emotion but there are certain situations in which I think a player should rein it in.