August Twin of the Month: Jesse Crain

ntering the final day of a stellar August that finds the Twins with an opportunity to claim their winningest month since September of 2006. And there is no shortage of players from which to chose as a "Twin of the Month."  

Candidates are ample, and really, an argument could be made for any of these ballers: Scott Baker, Brian Duensing, Joe Mauer, Jason Kubel , or Jim Thome.

The Boys are cooking right now, having entered August with a half-game deficit in the Central that has now been turned into a 4 game lead over the wilting ChiSox.

And while the thesis of a "balanced ballclub" has never been more evident for our Boys, to pick one out of the lot for this month, I'm rolling with reliever Jesse Crain.

The nod serves as something of a "stretch recognition" for the bullpen righty, who as recently as mid-June was aptly being referred to as either/both the "Crain Wreck" and/or "Jesse's Girl."  But in his last two-plus months of work, Crain has transformed in "Jesse James," robbing hitters at glove-point.  The guy has done more than simply rescue a brutal season and helped turn the Twins' pen into the best in the A.L. -- he's become one of the most dominating relievers in all of baseball. 

Since June 10th, Crain has appeared in 33 ballgames, having tossed 30.1 innings in that window.  In that time, the guy has allowed just 13 hits (12 singles and a double) and one run charged to his line.  One!  Crazy.  And that run was plated on August 5th when Ron Mahay allowed a grand slam to former Twin Jason Bartlett.  Crain was responsible for having walked Willy Aybar with the bases loaded in the preceding at bat in what was an eventual 8-6 Twins win over the Rays.

Last month, Crain continued a run of excellence that was mirrored in August, as he tossed 11.2 July innings and allowing nary a run.  His 0.00 ERA meshed with a stellar 0.514 WHIP both served as career-bests (he also owned a 0.00 ERA in April of 2005).  And really, his August has shown no slow of such domination, as evidenced by his August ERA of 0.73 and 0.811 WHIP. 

Entering this final day of the calendar, Crain has been a true dawg of the dog day month,

appearing in a team-high 15 games and holding opposing batters to an average of just .132.  His lone run allowed occurred on the 8/5 date and he's given up just five hits (all singles) and five walks matched with 10 K's during his relief duty.

Of those 15 contests in which he's appeared, Crain has entered four times with runners on base.  True, two of them scored and a run was charged to a Twin peer, however it's notable that one of those runners crossed via a fielder's choice while the afore-noted Aybar pass accounted for the other.  In his 11 other games, Crain entered with bases clear and departed his service with the game score unchanged.  While MLB is yet to record the "Hold" as a true stat, Crain tallied five of them in July and five more this month, with four of those babies notched during a five-day stretch between 8/13-8/18.

There are two truisms in sport that will always tell if you want a fella on your side: what a guy does when he's up, and how he responds to playing like a bum for a spell.  For turning brutal in beautiful, Jesse Crain is my August Twin of the Month.  In recognition of the award, Crain receives a free titanium necklace re-weave, compliments of City Pages' web editor, Jen Boyles.

Previous Twins of the Month:

April -- Michael Cuddyer

May -- Nick Blackburn

June -- Carl Pavano

July -- Delmon Young





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