==> Let's start with the worst things first, as the Twins scored fewer than 2 runs in 6 straight games for the first time in franchise history last week. That feat has only been accomplished 14 other times since 1919, and only two times was it done in more consecutive games than what the Twins just did (the record is 9). If you limit it to streaks of home games, as the Twins' was, it's only happened 4 times previously, and just one of those instances went for 7 straight. Therefore, the 4 runs the Twins scored on Saturday against Justin Verlander kept them out of some pretty ignominious company.
==> Ron Gardenhire spoke with Phil Mackey and Patrick Reusse on KSTP radio on Thursday, and let out a few tidbits. For one, he offered Jim Hoey, Chuck James, and Deolis Guerra as players who may get call-ups after September 1. The exciting name on that list is Guerra, who, as we discussed in the first episode of our podcast, has pitched excellently since being moved to the bullpen in New Britain and will be out of options next year. Granted, he was essentially listing players on the 40-man roster, but he did leave off one or two other pitchers, indicating Guerra is at least on the radar.
"Yes, well, maybe ours," Gardenhire responded to Reusse's suggestions that Jim Thome may have offers from some teams to come to Spring Training next season. He definitely passed it off as a joke, but I am a big believer that behind almost every joke there is some truth. Whether or not the front office would be interested, I definitely think Gardy will be in favor of inviting Thome back to the club next year.
==> Lester Oliveros made his Twins debut on Tuesday against the Baltimore Orioles and pitched decently, allowing a run on two hits and a walk in two innings. His second outing, however, came against the Tigers on Friday and was fairly disastrous. He got just two outs and allowed 3 hits, 2 walks, and 3 runs, including a bases loaded RBI single to Delmon Young, the man the Twins traded to get Oliveros. Of course, it was an infield single that dribbled right down the third base line, but it still counts as a hit.
==> Francisco Liriano lasted only two innings in his start against Baltimore before he was removed due to shoulder soreness. He was diagnosed with a posterior strain in his left shoulder, which very well could mean his season is over. Scott Diamond was called up to replace him on the Major League roster, and started immediately on Friday. He pitched to contact, as his numbers would suggest, giving up 11 hits and 5 runs in 6.1 innings. His line could have been better, but he left with the bases loaded and Glen Perkins allowed all three inherited runners to score.
==> On Saturday night, Stephen Strasburg started against the Rochester Red Wings as part of his rehab assignment. He thoroughly dominated the Red Wings hitters, pitching five perfect innings with 7 strikeouts. He came out for the sixth frame, however, and gave up singles to Aaron Bates and Steve Holm, who's now hitting .179 in Triple-A, before he reached his pitch limit. Bates wound up scoring, meaning Strasburg was charged with one run on his ledger. Still, it was clear that one player belongs in the Majors and one team was well under .500 in Triple-A.
==> Matt Tolbert is back at Rochester in order to make room on the roster for Rene Rivera while Joe Mauer is limited by a neck injury. It's really good to see the Twins keep Trevor Plouffe on the roster and in a starting role as he tries to establish himself as an option for 2012, rather than allowing Tolbert to continue putting up his usual pathetic offensive numbers. Everyone knows what Tolbert offers, and it's not exciting.