TAMPA BAY 14, MINNESOTA 3 IN TAMPA BAY
Date: Thursday, May 30.
Batting stars: Ehire Adrianza was 2-for-3. Jason Castro was 2-for-3.
Pitching star: Mike Morin pitched a perfect inning.
Opposition stars: Avisail Garcia was 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, and three runs. Tommy Pham was 2-for-2 with a double, a walk, and two runs. Brandon Lowe was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. Austin Meadows was 2-for-5 with a double, two runs, and four RBIs. Christian Arroyo was 2-for-5 with two doubles, two runs, and two RBIs. Charlie Morton pitched seven innings, giving up two runs on four hits and no walks and striking out six.
The game: Well, it was good for two innings. In the bottom of the third, a single and two walks loaded the bases and Meadows delivered a three-run double. A single, a double, and a single made it a six-run inning, leaving the Twins down 6-0. The fourth was no better: a single, a double, two singles, a walk, and two doubles added up to five runs and a score of 11-0.
The Twins scored single runs in the fifth and sixth, but the Rays came back with three in the seventh. The Twins added one more in the eighth. Yes, this is a much less thorough recap of the game than we typically do, but there seems no point in going into detail on this one.
WP: Morton (6-0). LP: Martin Perez (7-2). S: None.
Notes: Adrianza was at shortstop in place of Jorge Polanco, who was not feeling well. Marwin Gonzalez was at third base in place of Miguel Sano. Luis Arraez was at second base in place of Jonathan Schoop, who was used as the DH.
Arraez was 1-for-4 and is batting .375. Morin has an ERA of 0.87.
A baseball season is long. One hundred sixty-two games. Out of that many games, you're bound to have a clunker in there once in a while. The trick is, of course, to not have very many of them. If you do, that's a problem. For now, though, the thing to do is simply to turn the page and move on.
It seems, though, that we should acknowledge the service done by Zack Littell last night. Yes, his line looks terrible: eight runs on ten hits and one walk in 4.1 innings. But the point is that he pitched 4.1 innings. Even when he was getting hit hard, he was not afraid to throw the ball over the plate. That kept his pitch count low enough that he was able to fill 4.1 innings, saving the rest of the bullpen. He actually settled down to pitch fairly well after the fourth. I'm not saying he deserves to be player of the game or anything--in fact, as suggested in the game log, his reward may well be a ticket back to Rochester. Still, the job he did may be important in the next couple of games, and it should be appreciated.
Also, kudos to Rocco Baldelli for leaving Littell in the game to pitch those 4.1 innings and save the bullpen. It's one of those things that seems obvious, but it's amazing how many major league managers don't see it. Many managers, including some recent Twins managers, would've thought they had to take Littell out in the fourth, and then would've burned through three or four relievers in a game the Twins weren't going to win anyway. Good job by Rocco for not doing that.
After a horrible April, Adrianza is batting .313/.393/.521 in May. If you throw out the 0-for-16 that he started May with, those numbers go to .469/.526/.694. Obviously he's not going to sustain either of those sets of numbers. But his season numbers are now .256/.351/.415 which, while they'd be career highs, do not seem so unsustainable. At any rate, he's sure making those of us, including me, who were calling for the Twins to release him look pretty stupid at the moment.
It should be noted that the Twins still have the best record in baseball, and we have Jose Berrios going tonight. Plus, Cleveland lost, so we still lead the division by 9.5 games. That makes it a little easier to turn the page and move on.
Record: The Twins are 37-18, first in the American League Central, 9.5 games ahead of Cleveland.
Projected record: We'll just have to settle for 144-18!