After trading one of their top players, the Minnesota Twins said they aren’t giving up on the season. Their starting pitchers certainly don’t seem to be.
Although they are within striking distance of both the AL Central lead and the wild card, the Twins (54-51) dealt second baseman Luis Castillo to the New York Mets on Monday in exchange for Double-A catcher Drew Butera and Class-A outfielder Dustin Martin.
General manager Terry Ryan said he’s not giving up reaching the playoffs this season despite the trade of Castillo, who can become a free agent after the World Series.
“No, we’re not giving up at all,” Ryan said. “We’re better than we were last week. If we didn’t think we could absorb this, we certainly wouldn’t have done it.”
Manager Ron Gardenhire understood, echoing his boss’ insistence that the team was not giving up on contending in 2007.
“He’s not dumping. He’s rearranging, maybe to try to find someone that might help us,” Gardenhire said.
Minnesota received another strong outing from a starter in Monday’s series opener, as Scott Baker allowed one run and two hits in eight innings in a 3-1 victory.
Joe Mauer drove in all three runs for the Twins, who have allowed four runs during their three-game win streak. They pulled within six games of wild card-leading Cleveland, which was idle Monday.
“It’s a tough situation for us, because he’s a great guy and our leadoff guy and he plays the game hard,” Tyner said. “He’s going to be missed, but I think we have the talent here to step up.”
Silva (8-11, 4.76 ERA) looks to win his fifth straight home start. The right-hander is 5-3 with a 5.92 ERA in 10 starts at the Metrodome while going 3-8 with a 5.60 ERA in 11 road outings. He is 4-0 with a 3.68 ERA in his last four starts at home, a stretch that began with an eight-hit shutout of Atlanta on June 13.
Silva, though, has struggled in his last two overall starts, allowing 11 runs - nine earned - and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings.
He is 3-2 with a 4.18 ERA in nine starts against the Royals, including 0-2 with a 5.73 ERA in four outings at home.
The Royals (47-58), who had a four-game win streak snapped, were held to two hits after reaching double digits in each of their four previous contests.
Kansas City didn’t make any moves Monday but several players are rumored to be on the block. Closer Octavio Dotel, second baseman Mark Grudzielanek and outfielder Reggie Sanders are all candidates to be dealt before Tuesday’s trade deadline.
Jorge De La Rosa (8-10, 5.35) hopes to follow one of his best starts of the season with another strong performance. The left-hander scattered six hits over 5 1-3 innings Thursday in a 7-0 victory over the New York Yankees. He walked two and struck out five to win for the fourth time in five decisions.
De La Rosa, who is 2-6 with a 5.49 ERA in 10 road starts, was outstanding against the Twins in Kansas City on April 22, yielding one unearned run and five hits in eight innings of a 3-1 victory.
He is 1-3 with a 4.26 ERA in four starts against Minnesota.