2019 Game 3: Naps at Twins

Today's contest features the first rubber game of the season as the Twins and Cleveland both try to seal an opening series victory. If this series proves to be an indicator of the AL Central race, we could witness a razor thin margin in the battle for the division crown with these two teams slugging it out for the top spot. Or not. It's rather a fool's errand to prognosticate based on such a tiny data set, after all, but a man can hope. Outstanding starting pitching and solid bullpen work from both teams made the first two games close and interesting. Over 13.2 innings, Twins starters Berrios and Odorizzi combined to strike out 21 batters while giving up just one run (a solo jack off of Jake) with the bullpen surrendering one more plate crosser in yesterday's tilt. Today we may see something completely different as Cleveland sends ten-year team veteran Carlos Carrasco to the mound while the Twins tap the newly acquired Michael Pineda. Last year Carrasco notched 192 innings with 231 strikeouts, while Pineda has not thrown a pitch in a regulation contest since July of 2017 due to injuries that resulted in Tommy John surgery and the repair of a torn meniscus in the knee. On paper you have to give today's starting pitching match-up to Cleveland, but they don't play the games on paper. I'm liking what I see from the Twins so far in the Baldelli era, although I'm not so sure that Kepler as a lead-off batter is going to work out. I say batter because Max is hitless in 8 plate appearances so far with two strikeouts, although the SSS caveat still has to be respected so early in the new season. I have to think that eventually Buxton or maybe Polanco will get a shot at the top of the batting order, but time will tell. Play ball!

147 thoughts on “2019 Game 3: Naps at Twins”

    1. Good. If there's one complaint I have with Baldelli it's that there hasn't been nearly enough Astudillo.

  1. Is striking everyone out just going to be the new normal for the twins? Because I'd be OK with that.

    (obvious SST)

  2. I’ve noticed Pineda likes the red jerseys. The clubhouse staff might want to tailor his in a long, because I’ve also noticed the tag on his jersey riding above the belt every time he’s worn them.

    1. A friend of mine named his dogs Splinter and April. It just dawned on me today why they named the second dog April when he mentioned both dogs by name to me today.

          1. Morneau was joking about bringing his ice fishing heater to the TV booth. I'd go ice fishing with either, or both, of those guys, and I don't really like ice fishing.

  3. I really like Pineda's big hooking curveball. It plays really nicely off of his Fastball. It would be really cool if one of the Twins' reclamation projects ended up being a winner.

  4. It feels like Morneau has gained some feel for the booth. I'm not sure that he really has the voice or charisma for commentary, but if they wanted to give him more time than, say, Torii and Bert combined, I certainly wouldn't object.

    1. I think Morneau works well with Dick because of his lack of charisma. Dick has the voice for play by play and he's pretty good at it when he sticks to it, so having Justin next to him not baiting him into his worst habits is a good thing.

  5. BUCK!!

    great hit there.

    No idea why Carrasco came anywhere near the plate there, though.

    Also, Mountie's advice to hit line drives into the corners and gaps seems to be good.

    1. He was a project by the new pitching coach this spring to get him to add velocity that he used to have when he was in the minors with the Rangers with some tweaks of his pitching motion. They basically are trying to get him to use his hips better.

    1. I think it's a combination of easing him back in and getting Perez some work to keep him stretched out, since he won't be starting for a while, yet.

      1. He'd better figure out where the stroke zone is or he won't be starting much after that, either.

  6. I know the plan was for Perez to work some innings this game but Pineda had 40 pitches in 4 innings .

      1. He was pitching good, but if the plan is to be cautious with a guy ya gotta stick to it. It's another that is feeding my optimism about Baldelli. We've had enough "going with your gut" watching this team over the years.

        1. Pineda has been out for 18 months. I think having a short leash is fine as he eases back into pitching.

        2. I'm happy it worked well so Rocco can kind of keep that in the back of his mind later in the season when the Twins have the opportunity to skip a Perez start and go to Berrios on normal rest. Pineda will probably be on an innings limit this year, so why not hold him to 4 or 5 innings and then have Perez come in for 4 or 5 innings and maybe allow the entire bullpen to have 2 days off in a row if they've been overused lately. What's great is to start with a righthander and then go to the lefty to get more of the platoon advantage or force a team to use pinch hitters early.

  7. I think that Dick is right on about Buxton's double being the big hit of the game. That could have been a horrible bit of luck, and with two strikes on Buxton, I've been trained to expect...less.

    1. I do think injuries had a lot to do with his rough year last year. So far he's looked a lot more like second-half-of-2018 Buxton. (and he hit that ball frickin HARD.)

  8. MLB is reporting that Toronto’s Elvis Luciano (b. 15 Feb 2000) is the “first player born this century to make his MLB debut.” I get the youth movement is a storyline MLB wants to push, but, uh, nope.

    1. They've got 2 star-level hitters, one of which is hurt and going to a specialist for his ankle, and 3 quality veteran hitters that they are hoping that age and/or history of injury doesn't catch up to them (one of which is on the DL) and then pretty much nothing. Astudillo would be batting third for the Indians every day even if they were all healthy, and he has to come off the bench for the Twins even with Sano hurt. The Indians have great starting pitching but that lineup looks awful. I think I would prefer to have the Twins lineup and bench and starters over the Indians lineup and bench and starters. If the Twins bullpen can be on par with the Indians bullpen (and Brad Hand is the only "intimidating" reliever in their bullpen that I see), then I think the Twins should come out ahead.

      1. The Indians have great starting pitching but that lineup looks awful.

        Agreed. Even if Lindor comes back and is fully healthy, can that lineup consistently score more than 3 runs a game? I say no. (Although 3 runs a game in front of their SP might win them 75 games)

      1. Is frustrating because I don't think it would be risky anyway. If it was gone, I'm willing to bet no one would notice.

        1. That was a tough call for the third base coach, but it looked like he was holding Astudillo at third and Buxton blew right past second without looking up to see the situation in front of him. At least we got a run out of it.

          1. I'm ok with what he did there. I was saying he was responsible for Buxton only getting a single. (jokingly, of course. Only Buxton or Billy Hamilton would have gotten to third on that play)

  9. SEANSIGNAL

    Any idea why my Control-R stopped refreshing my browser a few days ago? (I have a newfangled laptop without the F5 browser refresh, which continues to make me die inside).

  10. Good, good deal.

    I don't think anyone really expects him to stick with the team the whole year (though I certainly hope he pitches well enough to do so), but it was good to see him finish off the frame.

  11. I can't begin to tell y'all how therapeutic this game log has been for me today. It's the most normal I've felt since the surgery.

    1. Probably Cave's. He got a base hit, but the run scored because Buxton got caught in a run down.

  12. Since it isn't real warm out, if you want to keep watching sports today the men's curling world championships are going on and can be viewed on the World Curling YouTube channel.

    1. Astudillo was 2 for 2, raising his career batting average to .368 in 100 plate appearances. That's the highest average in major league history among players with at least 100 plate appearances, just ahead of Ty Cobb (.366).

Comments are closed.