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Updated: July 19th, 2014 10:21pm
Wetmore: 5 thoughts on Dozier's double plays, Santana in CF, Hughes

Wetmore: 5 thoughts on Dozier's double plays, Santana in CF, Hughes

Audio Clip
7/18/2014
Sports Over Beers, episode 24. Jim Souhan on trade deadline for the Twins
Jim Souhan joins the Sports Over Beers podcast for some plausible Twins trade scenarios. This episode was recorded at Brothers in downtown Minneapolis, and is sponsored by Shock Top -- Live Life Unfiltered. The Twins should be trade-deadline sellers, the question is whether or not they’ll realize that in time. Which players should the Twins look to trade? Josh Willingham, Kendrys Morales, Kevin Correia, Kurt Suzuki? Who are some that aren’t getting talked about much who could or should be moved? Trade candidates or not: Sam Deduno? Trevor Plouffe? Casey Fien? Souhan’s top-3 trade options. Can Josmil Pinto be the Twins catcher of the future or should the Twins extend Suzuki? -- Will Terry Ryan and Ron Gardenhire be here this time next year? What do you think about these roles: Paul Molitor manager, Tom Kelly bench coach. Robin Yount? -- The guys take a walk down memory lane with some obscure Twins from the past, including a story about a former ballplayer and potential drug dealer. How did the steroid era slip by largely unnoticed for a while? -- Outlining the Elbow Empowerment Program. What’s the next ‘Moneyball,’ or market inefficiency?
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by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com

MINNEAPOLIS -- David Price dominated the Twins for 8 innings Saturday, and by the time they got their offense going against the Rays bullpen, it was too late. Minnesota lost, 5-1.

This column presents 5 thoughts from Saturday'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. The Rays loaded their lineup with righties against the righthander Phil Hughes. In normal circumstances, you'll see the opposite, because in most cases pitchers have the advantage over batters of the same handedness. (That's why bullpens often have a left-handed specialist to come in during the late innings and get out left-handed hitters.)

That's not the case with Hughes this year.

Here are his numbers through the All-Star break:

 

Batters

Walks

Strikeouts

Home Runs

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

LHH

256

8

60

4

.226

.253

.339

.259

RHH

245

3

48

5

.332

.343

.481

.358

Source: Fangraphs.com

For more on Hughes' handedness split, including an explanation from Hughes and one from general manager Terry Ryan, check out this story.

--

2. Danny Santana remains a work in progress in the outfield. In the third inning, Brandon Guyer hit a line drive to center field. It was a little bit behind Santana and toward left-center but not far from where he was playing. Santana took one or two hard steps in toward the infield, then slammed on the brakes and turned over his left shoulder to retreat. He eventually turned his back to the infield completely and made a full rotation before catching the line drive.

Later, he attempted to field a ground ball on the run and set up to make a throw to the plate. The ball got under his glove and not only did the run score easily, but the batter advanced from first base to second on the error.

One Twins player said Saturday that line drives hit right at, or slightly in front of outfielders are among the hardest to read correctly off the bat. It's one reason why it's dangerous to trot out an outfield of all infielders. But Santana's speed and strong arm can help make up for some of his shortcomings in route running and bad reads.

--

2b. Santana went 0-for-4 at the plate with four strikeouts against David Price. That's what's called a Golden Sombrero.

--

3. Brian Dozier can't help but turning double plays. He entered Saturday's game tied with Ian Kinsler for the Major League lead in double plays started by second basemen, with 28. After consecutive singles put Rays on first and second with nobody out in the second inning, Dozier fielded a ground ball, made a hard side-hand flip to the second base bag, and Eduardo Escobar fielded the throw and tagged the bag and relayed to first for the double play. It turned out to be important, because the next batter, Yunel Escobar doubled, but Phil Hughes got a fly ball to end the inning.

With a runner on first and one out in the sixth inning, Dozier fielded a ground ball off the bat of James Loney and flipped to Escobar at second. The runner from first base, Brandon Guyer, got to Escobar quickly and slid hard into second. Escobar caught the ball, tagged the base and still had time to hop the runner and land before making the relay throw to first base for another double play.

Dozier started yet another double play in the eighth inning, when Jared Burton got Loney to ground to second base with one out and a runner on first. Dozier, Escobar and first baseman Chris Colabello teamed up for the double play.

Dozier also was part of two 5-4-3 double plays Saturday. He's third in the Majors in double plays turned (plays in which he is the one making the relay throw), with 38.

--

4. The five ground ball double plays marked the first time the Twins have done that in a game since Sept. 17, 2006, against the Indians, according to the Twins communications staff. The team record is 6, which they've achieved twice, but not since July 18, 1990, against the Red Sox. Saturday was the seventh time in Twins history they've recorded 5 ground ball double plays.

--

5. Joe Mauer took ground balls on the infield before Saturday's game. Manager Ron Gardenhire said Mauer still feels pain in his oblique when he sneezes or coughs, so he may still be a little ways away from resuming full baseball activities.

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
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