Here are a bunch of things from Target Field after the Twins were swept in the three game series by Cleveland:
SANTANA'S DAY: Ervin Santana gave up one run over six innings on Thursday - and watched his ERA climb to 0.64! But he wasn't as sharp as he was Saturday when he one-hit the White Sox. He twice walked batters on four straight pitches, Cleveland hitters also fouled off 25 pitches and forced Santana into some deep counts. Yet Santana did enough to leave the game after the sixth with a 2-1 lead. He threw 113 pitches Thursday after needing 101 during his gem on Saturday. "I wouldn't say it was one of his better performances in terms of command," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "It was a cool day he had a little trouble with the grip on his offspeed pitches. He held down a good lineup and gave us a lead after six innings. You couldn't ask for anything more."
MOLITOR'S EJECTION: The Twins weren't happy with home plate umpire Alan Porter's strike zone at times on Thursday. Things came to a head in the eighth inning. Catcher Jason Castro, who was on the wrong end of several borderline calls throughout the game, tried to check his swing with two strikes on him. Home plate umpire Alan Porter immediately ruled that Castro did not check his swing, making it his third strikeout of the game. Molitor popped out of the dugout and engaged Porter for a few seconds before being ejected. He felt Porter should have asked his crew for help. "I thought there was some inconsistencies today, but probably not the difference in the game," Molitor said. "I just felt on that particular check swing that it was close. I haven't looked at it, but I think that's a hard call for him to make if he is tracking the pitch." It was Molitor's first ejection of the season and fifth of his career.
CLEVELAND ROCKS: The clutch hitting, solid pitching, and smart moves by manager Terry Francona were all on display this week as the Indians swept the Twins. Cleveland is going to be tough to beat. The Indians reached Game 7 of the World Series last season - and added a healthy Michael Brantley and Juan Encarnacion. Think about that. Jason Kipnis should be activated off the DL tomorrow. ""You add Brantley and Encarnacion to your lineup, it's going to help your cause," Molitor said. "Brantley is a complete hitter, a little bit of power. And he can certainly hit for a high average. He takes good at bats every day. Encarnacion puts a big threat in that lineup."
THE DECISION: Tyler Duffey was removed in the pivotal seventh inning despite giving up two infield hits. Carlos Santana was due up and the stats say to make him hit righthanded. Francisco Lindor is a switch hitter who is on everything right now but he's killing righthanders. And Michael Brantley is a lefthanded hitter. So Molitor went with Taylor Rogers, but Rogers didn't get a fastball inside enough on Santana and lost Brantley after getting ahead 0-2. "I liked the lefty matchup against the hitters there," Molitor said.
LOOKING AT ROBERT: At this point, it not clear how serious the Twins will end up being. But, as of now, they are looking at Cuban out Luis Robert, who on Thursday was declared a free agent and can sign with any team as soon as May 20. Robert left the island in January, and the Twins were one of many clubs on hand earlier this month at his showcase in the Dominican Republic. A source with the club confirmed the Twins interest. Robert, 19, is a righthanded hitter who can play center but will likely settle into a corner outfield spot. His ticket to the majors is his power bat. We'll see how far this goes.
I WANNA MOCK: The MLB mock drafts are starting to roll in, and Baseball America predicts that the Twins will NOT draft pitcher/shortstop Hunter Greene and instead select Louisville two-way player Brendan McKay. The Twins would draft him as a pitcher. What's happened with Greene and his 100 mph arm? Greene's high school team is in the postseason, but there are indications that he will not pitch the rest of the season to protect his arm. The family apparently prefers him to be selected by the Padres, who play down the highway from Sherman Oaks, where he lives. So his family and/or advisors might try to steer him in that direction. There's something called The Boras Classic (!) there that apparently is the closest thing to a high school tournament, and scouts would like to see Greene pitch there. But it doesn't look like it is going to happen. Interesting stuff. McKay is a legit prospects and, being a college arm, could help the needy Twins sooner. Also keep an eye on Royce Lewis, an infielder from San Juan Capistrano.