Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
 
Tag:Brian Duensing
Posted on: November 25, 2011 3:09 pm
Edited on: November 26, 2011 1:38 pm
 

Homegrown Team: Minnesota Twins



By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no waivers, no minor- or major-league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. 

For years, the Minnesota Twins were the model of how to build a consistent winner in a small market. From 2001-2010, the Twins appeared in the playoffs six times and recorded just one losing season. But the wheels fell off in 2011, with a mixture of bad fortune and bad pitching. The Twins have two former MVPs in their lineup, but it would be tough to find two former MVPs who did less in 2011 than Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer. Those two homegrown players were supposed to be cornerstones for the franchise, but their performance last season was more fitting a tombstone. The team's fortunes, for better or worse, will be tied to those two for the next few years.

Lineup

1. Denard Span, CF
2. Michael Cuddyer, 3B
3. Joe Mauer, 1B
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Torii Hunter, RF
6. Jason Kubel, LF
7. Wilson Ramos, C
8. Danny Valencia, 2B
9. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SS

Starting Rotation

1. Matt Garza
2. Nick Blackburn
3. Kevin Slowey
4. Brian Duensing
5. Anthony Swarzak

Bullpen

Closer - Jesse Crain
Set up - LaTroy Hawkins, J.C. Romero, Pat Neshek, Glen Perkins, Grant Balfour, Peter Moylan

Notable Bench Players

A.J. Pierzynski, Ben Revere, Luke Hughes, Trevor Plouffe.

What's Good?

With Ramos and Pierzynski on the roster, there's zero reason for Mauer to get anywhere near catching gear -- unless it's for another commercial. With Mauer freed of pitching duties, he can concentrate on first base and Justin Morneau doesn't have to worry about playing in the field. Even though Morneau is a very good defensive first baseman, keeping him off the field could keep him on the field. Last year he suffered concussion-like symptoms after merely diving for a ball. Limiting his risks for a recurrence of head injuries should be a top priority for the Twins, and the easiest way to do that solves the team's other big problem, getting the most out of their long-term deal with Mauer. While the Twins don't have anyone on this list with a large number of saves on their resume, there are a ton of good relievers.

What's Not?

It's a good thing the team has good relievers, because they're going to need them -- and even more than the seven listed above. The rotation, after Garza, is shaky. That rotation isn't going to get much help from its defense, either. The roster makeup requires several position shuffles, including Cuddyer to third, a position he's played, but is not too keen on playing. The Twins also have to put Nishioka at shortstop. Although he played there some in 2011, the team signed Jamey Carroll to play shortstop every day in 2012 for a reason.

Comparison to real 2011

Well, if you thought it couldn't get much worse in Minnesota than it did in 2011, it may with this lineup and rotation. Minnesota went 63-99 in 2011, and it probably breaks the 100-loss barrier with this squad, but don't expect them to be historically bad, so it'd probably only cost four-to-eight wins in my unscientific research. Either way, it's an ugly summer in Minneapolis.

Up next: Pittsburgh Pirates

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 4, 2011 12:14 am
Edited on: September 4, 2011 12:15 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Kottaras cycles, Santos implodes

Kottaras

By Evan Brunell

3 UpGeorge Kottaras, Brewers: Kottaras delivered MLB's first cycle of the year, going 4 for 5 with two runs and RBI apiece. In order, Kottaras flied out to start the game, homered, tripled, rapped a RBI single and then a ground-rule double in the top of the ninth. STATS, LLC also found that two of the last three catchers to cycle were Brewers, with Chad Moeller accomplishing the feat in 2004. The Brewers took down Houston, 8-2.

Brandon McCarthy, Athletics:
Brandon McCarthy has been dazzling as of late, and contributed a complete-game shutout on Saturday, pumping 10 strikeouts by the Mariners while allowing just three hits. It was a tour de force for the righty, who threw 114 pitches for 78 strikes. "As much time as I've spent hurt, and you've got everyone out there and behind you when things are going well, it kind of makes you feel like you're on top of the world," McCarthy said, whose promising career was wrecked for years with Texas. "I had to remember to focus and not get caught up in it."

Billy Hamilton, Dayton Dragons (Reds Class A): We don't usually cover minor leaguers in this space, but Hamilton accomplished a cool feat Saturday. He stole three bases to reach 100 on the year, the first minor leaguer to do so since Chris Harris with 111 back in 2001. Hamilton also contributed a 2-for-3 effort in the outing to push his overall line to .278/.339/.360 for the year. The 20-year-old can flat out steal -- obviously -- and if his post-All-Star line of .318/.380/.388 line can be believed, could be in line for quite a few 3 Ups down the line. The last time a major leaguer stole 100 in a season was Vince Coleman's 109 in 1987.



3 DownSergio Santos, White Sox: Santos didn't quite take to his role as anointed 2012 closer too well Saturday. Santos gave up three runs in the ninth, getting just two outs, as the Tigers walked off on a Miguel Cabrera homer (with a two-run shot by Ryan Raburn earlier in the inning). It was Santos' fifth blown save of the year, and while this outing won't affect his status for next year (well, the team is managed by Ozzie Guillen...), it sure can't feel good. "I think every loss hurts when you play this game or when you compete," Guillen said. "But this one is very painful. This game was huge for us. It was a very important game."

Brian Duensing, Twins:
Not only did Duensing give up five earned runs in 1 1/3 of an inning (drawing the loss in a 10-6 game), he came out of the game hurt. He had to leave the game with a right oblique strain, and could miss the rest of the year the way oblique strains have acted these days. Or he could only need to miss a start. Either way, it was a lousy outing for the lefty, whose ERA is now 5.24.

Tyler Colvin, Cubs: A year after impressing people, Colvin has delivered an extraordinarily poor year. He struck out three times en route to an 0-for-5 night on Saturday, dropping his line to .145/.200/.306 in 186 at-bats. The Cubs may have some openings in the outfield next season, but Colvin is giving no indication he will be part of the mix with an OPS over 300 points lower than 2010's .816 on the backing of 20 homers.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: September 3, 2011 11:16 am
 

On Deck: Lincecum/Kennedy battle highlights day

On Deck

By Evan Brunell


Follow all games live with CBSSports.com's GameTracker.

DiamondbacksGiantsNL West battle continues: The Giants stopped Arizona from winning its 10th straight game and also pulled to within five of the division lead. San Francisco needs to do much more than that to have any hope of winning the division, though, and will turn to ace Tim Lincecum and his 2.58 ERA to try to hold 'Zona back. But Ian Kennedy is a tall order to face, as he holds a slim 3.03 ERA and is also angling to become the NL's first 18-game winner. He's only coughed up one run in his last two starts, punching out 15. It's shaping up to be quite a pitcher's duel. Diamondbacks vs. Giants, 9:05 p.m. ET

WeaverWeaver takes mound: The Angels slipped to 4 1/2 back in the AL West after Friday's games, but can try to make up some ground on Saturday if Jered Weaver can silence the Twins, which shouldn't be too tall of a task.The Rangers have to fall to Boston for a full game to be made up, but L.A. will take winning their own game. Weaver, winner of six straight, will oppose Brian Duensing a night after the Twins pasted the Angels 13-5 to win their second straight. The Twins haven't won three games or more in a row since July 5, and that's a mark that might stand as they stare at Weaver's 2.28 ERA and wonder what they're supposed to do. Twins vs. Angels, 9:05 p.m. ET

MiloneDebut: The Nationals are shuffling their rotation for September to get a look at their minor-league players. One of these pitchers draws the ball Saturday, as Tom Milone makes his big-league debut against the Mets. Milone had a 3.22 ERA for Triple-A this year, punching out 155 and walking 16 in 148 1/3 innings, strong numbers despite not being considered a heralded prospect. He'll have to face a streaking David Wright, who is hitting .500 over his last 26 at-bats and has hit the Nats well as of late. Wright will be manning the hot corner at third behind Dillon Gee. The Mets have won seven of eight. Mets vs. Nationals, 7:05 p.m. ET

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: July 22, 2011 5:19 pm
Edited on: July 22, 2011 6:15 pm
 

On Deck: Big series for Twins

OD

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Chance to gain ground: The Twins are apparently "going for it" -- or at least that's what the latest trade rumors say. We'll see after this weekend, when the Twins host the Tigers, the current leaders in the AL Central. Minnesota has not played particularly well this season and are still six games under .500, but just six games behind Detroit in the mediocre division. With Chicago and Cleveland -- the two teams ahead between Minnesota and Detroit -- playing this weekend, the Twins have a chance to make up some ground in the standings. Lefty Brian Duensing (7-7, 4.14 ERA) gets the call for Minnesota, with Detroit sending out right-hander Max Scherzer (10-6, 4.53 ERA). Tigers at Twins, 8:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)

Felix HernandezJohn LackeyStreak buster? The Mariners have now lost 12 in a row, but they've got perhaps the best possible matchup they could hope for in Boston -- Felix Hernandez against John Lackey. This is bizzaro world, though and Hernandez is coming off a "bad" outing and Lackey a "good" one -- so you just never know. But of course, that's why we watch, isn't it? That said, Hernandez's "bad" outing was nine hits and four runs in 7 2/3 innings with six strikeouts and a walk, while Lackey's "good" outing was 10 hits and four runs (three earned) with seven strikeouts and a walk in 5 2/3 innings -- but that's what we get when we use relative terms like good and bad. Mariners at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)

Look good, play good: I know I'm a little bit weird about these kind of things, but I'm looking forward to tonight's Phillies-Padres game, not because of the matchup of Cole Hamels and Cory Luebke, but because of the uniforms. It's another throwback night, and this one is in my wheelhouse -- 1984. Not only do we get the Padres' so-called Taco Bell hats and brown and yellow pullovers, while the Phillies will wear their pinstripes (although with buttons instead of a zipper, which would make them 1987 uniforms). Anyway, according to UniWatch, this is a good sign for the Padres, because the Phillies are 1-6 at home in throwback uniforms. Padres at Philies, 7:05 p.m. ET (Follow live)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 23, 2011 11:02 am
 

On Deck: Twins look to bounce back



By C. Trent Rosecrans

Slow day in baseball today, with just five games on the schedule, three of those taking place during the day.

START ANOTHER STREAK: The Twins lost their first game in more than a week on Wednesday, falling to the defending World Series champs. Things don't get much easier for Minnesota, facing Tim Lincecum on Thursday. Twins starter Brian Duensing is having a June himself, going 2-1 with a 2.81 ERA this month. The lefty is 1-1 with a 3.98 ERA in 10 interleague starts of his career. The Twins have won 15 of their last 18 games and seven of their last nine on the road. Twins at Giants, 3:45 p.m. ET (Follow live)

ROAD WARRIORS: Your first-place Diamondbacks (yes, you read that right) are more than happy to be on the road and in interleague play. After starting the season 5-13 on the road, the Diamondbacks have won 14 of their last 18 in the road grays. The team is also 6-2 in interleague play so far this season and have Daniel Hudson (8-5, 3.56 ERA) on the mound against a winless Felipe Paulino (0-4, 4.10) in Kansas City as the Diamondbacks seek a sweep over the Royals. Diamondbacks at Royals, 8:10 p.m. ET (Follow live)

Roy OswaltChris CarpenterSTRUGGLING STARTERS: A Roy Oswalt-Chris Carpenter showdown should be a premier pitching matchup. Instead, the two have combined for just one win in their last 15 starts. Oswalt picked up his fourth victory of the season on June 12, snapping a seven-start winless streak, only to start another winless streak in his last outing, last Friday at Seattle. Carpenter's lone victory of the season came more than a month ago on May 10. Like Oswalt, it came against the Cubs, so maybe neither really count. Phillies at Cardinals, 8:15 p.m. ET (Follow live)

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: June 5, 2011 10:54 pm
Edited on: June 6, 2011 12:40 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Duensing leads hot Twins to sweep



By Matt Snyder

Brian Duensing, Twins. Don't look now, but the Twins just swept the Royals in four games and are threatening to yield the league's worst record to the Astros. They're only one game back -- that is, if there were standings for all of the MLB. Sunday, Brian Duensing took center stage for the all-of-a-sudden hot Twins. He dazzled in eight innings, giving up only six hits and a walk. The Twins still trail the Indians by 12 1/2 games, but it's not near as bad as it was a week ago.

Chad Billingsley, Dodgers. He labored through five innings, allowing eight hits, three walks and four runs -- so why is he here? Billingsley starred at the dish for the Dodgers. He hit a solo home run in his first at-bat, took a bases-loaded walk his second time up and finished things off with an RBI double. That's quite a day for a guy who entered Sunday with a career .137 batting average and 15 RBI. He's now hitting .304 in 2011 with four extra-base hits, however, so he's definitely improved substantially with the stick.

Josh Wilson, Brewers. The journeyman entered Sunday with almost as many teams (seven) as career home runs (eight). His career .318 slugging percentage gives us some idea of his power prowess. Sunday afternoon, though, Wilson clubbed a home run to left-center field in the top of the 11th, which proved the ultimate difference in the Brewers' 6-5 extra-innings victory. The win was the third straight for the Brewers, who entered the series with a 9-19 road record. Wilson now has two homers in eight at-bats for the Brewers. Prior to joining them, he had just seven homers in 930 career plate appearances.




Top of 11th inning for Arizona. It took the Diamondbacks a three-run ninth inning to force extras against the Nationals, but the top of the 11th was disastrous and proved too much for the Snakes. A single and sac bunt started things rather innocently before a blown call at first base allowed Roger Bernadina on. Then the Nats decided to intentionally walk Jayson Werth and take on Rick Ankiel instead. But pitcher Joe Paterson walked Ankiel, too, forcing in the go-ahead run. For good measure, Paterson then coughed up a grand slam to Mike Morse -- who is one of the more underrated hitters in the league at this point. The umpire, the decision to intentionally load the bases and Paterson all count as "down" issues here.

Jordan Lyles, Astros. Wandy Rodriguez is due back June 13 and the Astros aren't going to a six-man rotation. When he returns, basically the only options are Lyles being demoted back to the minors or Aneury Rodriguez moving to the bullpen. Outings like Sunday won't help the 20-year-old Lyles' cause. He was up in the strike zone all day and lasted only four innings -- giving up five hits and four earned runs. He only walked one, but needed 96 pitches just to get through his four frames. He'll get one more shot to prove to the Astros -- and maybe even himself -- that he belongs in the bigs and doesn't need more minor-league seasoning.

Tim Hudson, Braves. He was torched by the Mets in Citi Field, coughing up seven hits and five earned runs in just four innings. It marked just the seventh time in Hudson's last 108 starts he didn't work into the fifth inning (thanks to Mark Bowman for the stat). The Braves have now lost four of six.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 15, 2011 11:47 pm
 

3 up, 3 down: Big knock for Uggla



By Matt Snyder


Dan Uggla, Braves. In switching teams for the first time of his major-league career, it's been a rough start to the 2011 season for Uggla. He entered Sunday's game with a .196 batting average and .629 OPS (his career low in OPS is .805, back in 2007). Maybe his go-ahead, eighth-inning home run off Roy Halladay is what he needs to get hot. He went 2-3 to climb above the Mendoza line (.205) and also drew a walk. So he got on base three of four trips against one of the game's elite pitchers and played the part of hero with a late home run. That's a pretty solid day.

Justin Turner, Mets. The Mets were getting no-hit by Aneury Rodriguez through four innings, but by the end of the sixth, Turner had five RBI as the Mets put up seven runs in two frames -- and it was enough for the victory. Turner connected on a two-run double to tie the game at two in the fifth inning and then concluded the Mets' scoring with a three-run blast in the sixth. In those two at-bats, Turner knocked in more runs than he had in his first 36 at-bats in 2011.

J.J. Hardy, Orioles. Hardy -- from the nine-hole, mind you -- had the big blow for the Orioles in a 9-3 win over first-place Tampa Bay Sunday. He hit a grand slam in the sixth inning that made a 4-2 game into a laugher (8-2, math majors) instantly. On the day, Hardy was 2-5, which means he's hitting .400 (10-25) with two home runs and seven RBI since coming off the disabled list earlier this month. If Mark Reynolds would come around, the Orioles would actually have a pretty potent top-to-bottom batting order.




Javier Vazquez, Marlins. Vazquez is now 2-4 with a 7.55 ERA, but that doesn't even come close to describing how much of a burden he's been on the Marlins. That's because he's putting his team into a huge hole right out of the gate. Sunday, he coughed up six runs on six hits in the first inning alone -- including a two-RBI double by opposing pitcher Jason Marquis. Now, Marquis is one of the best hitting pitchers around, but he's still a pitcher. The Marlins would only score four runs all game, so it was essentially over after one inning. It shouldn't be surprising, as Vazquez has a 15.75 ERA in the first inning this season. That's an awful lot of pressure to put on your teammates to begin a game. Fish Tank blog notes that Vazquez could be in trouble of losing his spot in the rotation, but he's fortunate in that there aren't many good options waiting in the minors. He's just gotta get better, especially with the Marlins in what looks like a long-term three-team race in the strong NL East.

Brian Duensing, Twins. His grip on a job in the starting rotation may be slipping away. Duensing lasted just three innings Sunday against the Blue Jays, giving up eight hits and seven earned runs. Kevin Slowey is the obvious next in line, and he followed Duensing with six innings to finish the game. Fortunately for Duensing, Slowey allowed four earned runs in his six innings, but that's still better than Duensing -- and you've got to give Slowey a bit of a free pass with three of those runs coming on Jose Bautista homers. The best hitter on the planet at this point only accounted for one of the seven runs Duensing allowed.

Josh Willingham, A's. There's nothing really to say, other than to let the stat-line speak for itself. Willingham was 0-5 with four strikeouts and left seven men on base. Ouch.

BONUS DOWN: Mother Nature. Seriously, we the baseball fans in this great nation collectively cry "uncle." Prior to Sunday, there had already been more postponements this season than there were all of 2010, and now we can add three more to the list, as the Cubs-Giants, Mariners-Indians and Tigers-Royals games were postponed. This is a joke, and an unfunny one at that.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: March 5, 2011 4:56 pm
 

Twins' rotation rounding into shape

By Matt Snyder

Nick Blackburn will be in the starting rotation for the Twins this season, manager Ron Gardenhire said Saturday (Minneapolis Star-Tribune ), meaning Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey are in a head-to-head battle for the fifth and final spot. The news came after Blackburn threw three perfect innings against the Rays.

Wednesday, Brian Duensing was given a spot by Gardenhire, making him the third member of the rotation behind ace Francisco Liriano and re-signed Carl Pavano.

Blackburn went 10-12 with a 5.42 ERA last season in 161 innings, but had offseason surgery to clean up his elbow. He's looked sharp in the spring, especially with his sinker.

Duensing went 10-3 with a 2.62 ERA last season. He closed in the rotation, starting 13 of his last 14 appearances after he joined the rotation. As a starter, he was 7-2 with a 3.05 ERA. His 85 2/3 innings meant he averaged about 6 2/3 innings per start, and that was after coming out of the bullpen for the first part of the season.

The Baker vs. Slowey battle shows just how deep the Twins are with starting pitching. Baker is just two seasons removed from an 11-4, 3.45 ERA and 1.18 WHIP campaign. Last season, he battled inconsistency -- and minor health issues -- to a 12-9 mark with a 4.49 ERA and 1.34 WHIP. Slowey is one year removed from a season where he went 10-3, but his ERA was 48.6 and WHIP was 1.41. He was 13-6 last year with a 4.45 ERA, but has had issues getting knocked around, as he's allowed 10 hits per nine innings throughout his career. His control is solid, though, as he only walked 29 guys in 155 2/3 innings last year.

Baker was 5-0 in his last 10 starts last season and, like Blackburn, underwent a procedure to clean up his throwing elbow in the offseason.

Baker has a slightly better track record than Slowey, but that doesn't always decide the winner in spring training battles. Either way, the Twins have six legitimate major-league starting pitchers. Many teams would surely trade places.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

 

More MLB coverage
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com