Twins getting what they paid for with Crede

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Joe Crede is once again out of the Twins’ lineup, this time with complications from last year’s back surgery. He dropped into Minnesota’s price range this offseason following multiple back surgeries and various other health problems, and had to settle for an incentive-laden one-year deal after eight seasons in Chicago.
Despite having to accumulate plate appearances to make money Crede has played in just 88 of 126 games, and the amazing thing is that he’s been out of the lineup 30 percent of the time without spending a second on the disabled list. Instead he’s missed 3-5 games every couple weeks, leaving the Twins to play with a 24-man roster for long stretches while essentially being “day-to-day” for five months.
When healthy enough to play Crede provided some nice power in April and May, hitting .239/.304/.493 with nine homers in 37 games to go along with outstanding defense at third base. Unfortunately he’s hit just .222/.285/.371 with six homers in 51 games since then, and his various maladies have left the Twins sharing the other 42 starts among the fearsome foursome of Brendan Harris, Brian Buscher, Matt Tolbert, and Nick Punto.
Not coincidentally the Twins rank 11th in the 14-team league with a measly .695 OPS from third base, which is nothing new for them. Corey Koskie was Minnesota’s third baseman from 1999 to 2004, hitting .280/.373/.463 with 52 extra-base hits per 500 at-bats, but since losing him to free agency five years ago Twins third basemen have ranked 10th, 13th, 14th, 11th, and 11th in OPS among AL teams.

Video: Justin Verlander reaches career mark with 270th strikeout

Justin Verlander
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Justin Verlander is approaching the tail end of a fantastic year with the Astros — arguably one of his best in the last decade — and on Saturday, he kicked off his last regular season start at Minute Maid Park with a strikeout, his 270th of the year. While that’s still a few shy of Max Scherzer‘s league-best mark of 290, it was a new personal record for Verlander, who had yet to beat the previous career record he set with 269 strikeouts in 2009.

Verlander’s moment arrived at the top of the first inning on a seven-pitch called strikeout against the Angels’ Kole Calhoun. Cole worked a 2-2 count, then fouled off a pair of 95-MPH fastballs before missing the seventh and final pitch at the top of the strike zone.

Jose Fernandez battled twice as long in the next at-bat, albeit with far more disastrous results. His 14-pitch duel against the Astros’ righty ended when he caught a fastball on his hand and was forced to come out of the game.

After expending a total of 27 pitches in the first inning, however, Verlander returned in the second to strike out the side, then logged another pair of strikeouts in the third. With six strikeouts through three innings, he boosted his season strikeout total to 275 — just a hair above fellow Houston righty Gerrit Cole (and all other AL pitchers), who previously led the team with 272 whiffs on the year.