Tag Archives: Byron Buxton

2019 Recaps: Game Sixty-four

MINNESOTA 12, DETROIT 2 IN DETROIT

Date:  Sunday, June 9.

Batting stars:  Nelson Cruz was 3-for-6 with a home run (his eleventh) and three RBIs.  Eddie Rosario was 3-for-6 with a home run (his nineteenth), two runs, and two RBIs.  Ehire Adrianza was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and three runs.  Byron Buxton was 2-for-5 with a two-run homer (his eighth) and two runs.  C. J. Cron was 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.  Miguel Sano was 2-for-5 with a home run, his sixth.

Pitching stars:  Jake Odorizzi struck out eight in six innings, giving up one run on five hits and a walk.  Tyler Duffey struck out two in a scoreless inning, giving up one hit.

Opposition stars:  John Hicks was 2-for-4 with a double.  Christin Stewart was 2-for-4.

The game:  The Twins scored three in the first inning, as Jorge Polanco led off with a single, Mitch Garver had an RBI double, and Cruz hit a two-run homer.  It looked like the Tigers might get the runs right back in the bottom of the first, as Niko Goodrum walked and Stewart singled him to third, but Nicholas Castellanos hit into a double play and the damage was limited to one run, leaving the Twins up 3-1.

The Twins put the game out of reach in the fourth.  Sano led off with a home run.  Adrianza and Buxton singled and Polanco hit a sacrifice fly, making it 5-1.  Garver walked, and with two out Rosario had an RBI single and Cron hit a two-run double, putting the Twins up 8-1.

The Twins tacked on a few more.  Cruz singled home a run in the fifth, Buxton hit a two-run homer in the sixth, and Rosario homered in the seventh.  Odorizzi remained in control for six innings.  Detroit got a run off Mike Morin in the seventh but did not threaten to get back into the game.

WP:  Odorizzi (9-2).  LP:  Ryan Carpenter (1-3).  S:  None.

Notes:  Adrianza was at second base, replacing Jonathan Schoop.

Polanco was 1-for-5 and is batting .333.  Garver was 1-for-4 with two walks and is batting .317.  Odorizzi has an ERA of 1.92.  Morin gave up a run in two innings and has an ERA of 1.35.  Duffey has an ERA of 2.55.

It was nice to see the boys break out like this after a rather lackluster performance Saturday.  It's been a long road trip, and it's a long season, and games like Saturday have to be expected once in a while.  But it was nice to see that it didn't continue into the next day.

Odorizzi remains on a roll.  At this time last year, he was 3-3, 4.24.  His lowest ERA in a season is 3.35, which was with Tampa Bay in 2015.  His career ERA going into this season was 3.95.  None of those numbers are terrible, but he'd been pretty much an average pitcher coming into this season, and now he's pitching like a Hall of Famer.  The odds are against him doing it all season, of course.  We can hope, however, that he has discovered something which will permanently make him a better pitcher than he was prior to this season.  Not necessarily a Hall of Fame-level pitcher, but a very good pitcher.  So far, he and Jose Berrios have been a very effective one-two punch, and are a big reason why the Twins have yet to lose more than two consecutive games.

Record:  The Twins are 43-21, first in the American League Central, 10.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 141-21!

2019 Recap: Game Fifty-eight

MINNESOTA 9, TAMPA BAY 7 IN TAMPA BAY

Date:  Sunday, June 2.

Batting stars:  Miguel Sano was 3-for-3 with two doubles and a walk.  C. J. Cron was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs.  Jorge Polanco was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.  Byron Buxton was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.  Jonathan Schoop was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his eleventh.

Pitching stars:  Jake Odorizzi struck out nine in six shutout innings, giving up three hits and a walk.  Taylor Rogers struck out the side in a perfect inning.

Opposition stars:  Ji-Man Choi was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two runs.  Austin Meadows was 2-for-5 with two RBIs.  Brandon Lowe was 2-for-5.  Christian Arroyo was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer.

The game:  The first threat came in the second inning, when Choi led off with a double, was bunted to third, but failed to score.  The Twins started the scoring in the third.  Sano opened the inning with a single and a one-out double by Buxton put men on second and third.  Mitch Garver then singled home a run and a sacrifice fly made it 2-0 Twins.  With two out in the fourth, Marwin Gonzalez singled and Sano followed with a run-scoring double to make it 3-0.

The Twins had a big inning in the fourth.  Buxton had a one-out single and advanced to third on a stolen base-plus-error.  Garver was hit by a pitch and Polanco had an RBI single.  A ground out moved the runners to second and third and Eddie Rosario walked to load the bases.  C. J. Cron unloaded them with a three-run double to give the Twins a 7-0 lead.

It looked like the Twins were in control, and they were as long as Odorizzi was pitching.  He came out after six, however, and in the seventh the Rays got back into the game.  Willy Adames and Choi singled to start the inning.  With one out, Kevin Kiermeier drove in a run with a single and a hit batsman loaded the bases.  A strikeout gave hope that the Twins might get out of the inning, but Meadows had a two-run single, Yandy Diaz walked, and Lowe had a two-run single to cut the Twins' lead to 7-5.

The Twins got two back in the top of the eighth.  With two out, Sano doubled and Schoop hit a two-run homer to make it 9-5 and again give the Twins a seemingly secure lead.  But the Rays got back into it again, as Choi walked leading off the bottom of the eighth and Arroyo hit a two-run homer to cut the lead to 9-7.  That was all the would get, though, as Rogers came in to strike out the side in the ninth and preserve the Twins' victory.

WP:  Odorizzi (8-2).  LP:  Ryan Yarbrough (4-2).  S:  Rogers (5).

Notes:  Gonzalez was in right field, with Max Kepler on the bench.  Willians Astudillo was the DH.

Polanco raised his average to .338.  Garver returned to the lineup and went 1-for-4, making his average .325.  Odorizzi's ERA is 1.96.  Blake Parker allowed two runs in 1.1 innings to raise his ERA to 2.61.  Rogers has an ERA of 2.06.

The bullpen meltdown was discouraging, of course.  Still, it should be pointed out that most of the damage came of Matt Magill, who would probably not have been in the game had the score been closer.  Magill has been pitching quite well, though, and almost everyone has a bad game once in a while.  It's the second poor outing out of three for Parker, but to his credit he did get the side out in order after giving up the two-run homer.  It is obviously easier to be forgiving about all this when the Twins win, but even though a lot of them have pitched pretty well I don't think anyone looks at this as a lockdown bullpen.

I like Cory Provus, but for some reason this year he seems to go on and on talking about "momentum".  When the Twins were ahead 7-0, they had momentum.  Then the Rays scored five in the seventh and they had momentum.  Then the Twins got a two-run homer in the eighth and they had momentum.  Then the Rays got a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth and they had momentum.  Confidence and enthusiasm are important in sports, of course, but it appears that the best way to acquire momentum in baseball is to bat well, pitch well, and field well, and the best way to stop the other team's momentum is to bat well, pitch well, and field well.  If you consistently do those things, momentum will probably take care of itself.

So, this team that supposedly can only beat up on bad teams took three out of four from Tampa Bay on the road.  After a day off, they go to Cleveland for a three-game series which it would appear is much more important to the Indians than it is for the Twins.  The Twins currently lead Cleveland by 11.5 games.  A Cleveland sweep would make us all unhappy, but the Twins would still have a comfortable lead.  If the Twins sweep, or even take two out of three, the Indians might be done.  As it stands now Cleveland is tied for second with Chicago, and when all is said and done it may be that the White Sox will be our toughest competition.  There's still a lot of season to go, however, so we shall see.

Record:  The Twins are 40-18, first in the American League Central, 11.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 144-18!

2019 Recap: Game Forty-three

MINNESOTA 11, SEATTLE 6 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Thursday, May 16.

Batting stars:  C. J. Cron was 4-for-5 with a two-run homer, his tenth.  Eddie Rosario was 3-for-5.  Byron Buxton was 2-for-5 with a three-run homer (his third) and two runs.  Miguel Sano was 2-for-5 with two doubles.  Jorge Polanco was 2-for-5.  Max Kepler was 1-for-4 with a home run, his ninth, and two runs.  Jason Castro was 1-for-5 with a home run (his seventh), scoring twice and driving in two.

Pitching star:  Michael Pineda pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and no walks and striking out six.

Opposition stars:  Mitch Haniger was 2-for-4.  Daniel Vogelbach was 1-for-4 with a three-run homer, his twelfth.  Mallex Smith was 1-for-4 with a home run, his second.  Ryon Healy was 1-for-4 with a home run, his seventh.  J. P. Crawford was 1-for-4 with a home run.  Connor Sadzeck pitched two perfect innings, striking out one.

The game:  It was scoreless through two, but Castro changed that by leading off the third with a home run.  Kepler also homered in the inning, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead.  Smith got one of the runs back with a home run of his own in the bottom of the third, making the score 2-1.

The Twins then broke it open with a big fourth inning.  Rosario singled and Cron homered to make it 4-1.  Marwin Gonzalez singled, Sano doubled, and a fielder's choice/error made the score 5-1.  Buxton then hit a three-run homer to increase the lead to 8-1.  The Twins still weren't done, as Kepler was hit by a pitch, Polanco singled, and an error brought home a run to make the score 9-1.

The Mariners got back-to-back homers from Healy and Crawford leading off the fifth to cut the margin to 9-3.  There was no more scoring, or even threats, until the eighth, when Buxton singled, took second on a wild pitch, and score on Polanco's single.

With the score 10-3, it was deemed safe to let Tyler Duffey pitch.  He retired Dee Gordon, but Haniger doubled, Edwin Encarnacion singled, and Vogelbach hit a three-run homer to cut the lead to 10-7.  To Duffey's credit, he regrouped to retire the next five batters.  The Twins added a run in the ninth on singles by Rosario and Cron and a double by Sano.

WP:  Pineda (3-3).  LP:  Erik Swanson (1-5).  S:  None.

Notes:  Sano returned to the lineup, playing third base and batting seventh.  There is probably some wisdom in not throwing him into the middle of the lineup right away, although I assume he'll be put back up there at some point.  Gonzalez moved to first, with Cron taking the DH spot and Nelson Cruz still out of the lineup.  Jonathan Schoop batted third.  He's not really an ideal third-place hitter, of course, and he didn't get the job done last night, either, going 0-for-5.  Still, it didn't hurt them.

It had to feel good to Sano to get a couple of doubles in his first game back.  I gather that one of them was not exactly hard hit, but still, a double's a double.  One game proves nothing, of course, but at least he's off to a good start.

By game scores, last night was not Pineda's best start of the season.  That would be his first start, when he pitched four shutout innings against Cleveland.  I think most of us would agree that this one was better, though.  He gave up a few gopher balls, but this start would be the perfect illustration of "solo home runs don't hurt you".  He has gotten steadily better in his last few starts.  It is to be hoped the trend will continue.

This would seem to have been a perfect game to use new Twin Austin Adams.  Perhaps they wanted to give him more chance to get acclimated before using him in a game.  Or, perhaps they would've used him to pitch the ninth if Duffey had pitched a clean eighth.

Over the last two weeks, the Twins have played Toronto, the Angels, Detroit, and now Seattle.  Not exactly a tough schedule, but at least a couple of those teams are close to .500.  Over that same time, Cleveland has played the White Sox, Oakland, the White Sox again, and now Baltimore.  That's certainly no tougher schedule, and arguably an easier one.  Over that stretch, the Twins have gained 2.5 games on the Indians.  That strikes me as a good sign.

Record:  The Twins are 28-15, first in the American League Central, 4.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 147-15!

2019 Recap: Game Forty-two

MINNESOTA 8, LOS ANGELES 7 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Wednesday, May 15.

Batting stars:  Ehire Adrianza was 2-for-3 with a double, a walk, and two RBIs.  Jorge Polanco was 2-for-4 with a triple.  Jonathan Schoop was 2-for-4.  Jason Castro was 1-for-3 with a two-run homer (his sixth) and a walk.  Byron Buxton was 1-for-4 with a two-run homer, his second.

Pitching star:  Jake Odorizzi pitched 5.1 innings, giving up three runs on nine hits and two walks and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Brian Goodwin was 4-for-4 with two doubles and two runs.  Tommy La Stella was 4-for-5 with a home run (his eleventh) and a walk.  Jared Walsh was 3-for-5.  Jonathan Lucroy was 2-for-4 with a home run (his sixth), a double, and a walk.  David Fletcher was 2-for-5.

The game:  The Angels threatened in the first two innings but did not score.  They started the game with a walk and a single, but a line out and a double play ended the threat.  Goodwin had a leadoff double in the second, but nothing came of that, either.  The Twins got on the board in the bottom of the second.  C. J. Cron reached on a strikeout/wild pitch, Schoop had an infield single, and Adrianza hit a two-run double to give the Twins a 2-0 lead.

The Angels immediately cut it to 2-1 in the third on La Stella's home run.  It then stayed 2-1 until the fifth, when the Twins had a big inning.  Castro walked and Buxton hit a two-run homer to make it 4-1.  With one out, Polanco tripled and scored on Eddie Rosario's double.  A wild pitch moved Rosario to third and a Willians Astudillo sacrifice fly scored him to give the Twins a 6-1 advantage.

The Angels again immediately cut it to 6-3 in the sixth when Goodwin singled and Lucroy homered.  The Twins got the two runs back in the bottom of the sixth when Adrianza singled and Castro homered.  It was 8-3 through six and it looked like it should be an easy Twins win.  Los Angeles got one in the seventh on two singles and a sacrifice fly, but it was still a comfortable 8-4 lead going to the ninth.

It got uncomfortable in a hurry.  Trevor Hildenberger started the inning and got the first out, but then gave up doubles to Goodwin and Lucroy and a single to Fletcher, making the score 8-6.  Mike Morin came in and gave up a single to Walsh.  He struck out Luis Rengifo, but La Stella singled to load the bases and Mike Trout was hit by a pitch to force in a run, cutting the margin to 8-7 and bringing up Shohei Otani.  Otani, however, grounded to short and the Twins escaped with a victory.

WP:  Odorizzi (6-2).  LP:  Trevor Cahill (2-4).  S:  Morin (1).

Notes:  With Nelson Cruz still out, Polanco was the DH and Adrianza was at short.  Willians Astudillo was at third, with Marwin Gonzalez given the day off.  It seems odd to give Gonzalez a day off with Miguel Sano presumably returning to third base soon, but then I don't know just what Rocco Baldelli might have in mind over the next few games.

Polanco raised his average to .331.

Blake Parker retired the only man he faced and his ERA is now 1.17.  Ryne Harper gave up two hits but did not allow a run in two-thirds of an inning and has an ERA of 1.50.  Morin also gave up two hits but did not allow a run in two-thirds of an inning and has an ERA of 1.80.  Matt Magill gave up a walk but no runs in two-thirds of an inning and has an ERA of 2.35.  Trevor May gave up a run on two hits in a full inning and has an ERA of 2.76.

Odorizzi did not have one of his best games, especially compared to the way he's been pitching recently.  He was constantly in trouble and finally, in the sixth, couldn't get out of it.  On the other hand, it wasn't reasonable to think he would keep pitching as well as he had been, and he got through 5.1 innings keeping the Twins in the game.  It's not what you want, but if that's as bad as it gets he'll be in good shape.  His ERA is now 2.63.

The Twins' bullpen did not have one of its best games, either, but they did do a good job cleaning up each other's messes.  They then created messes of their own, of course.  But May came in with men on first and third and one out and got out of the inning with neither runner scoring.  Magill came in with men on first and third and one out and allowed only one to score on a sacrifice fly.  Parker came in with men on first and second and two out and retired the man he faced.  Even Morin came in with men on first and second and one out and only allowed one to score.

My first thought for the ninth was that Rocco should've left Parker in.  But Parker had pitched 1.1 innings the night before, and the Twins had a four run lead.  If you can't trust Hildenberger for one inning with a four run lead there's no point in having him on the team.  As it turned out, unfortunately, you can't and there's not, at least not right now.  Hildenberger is kind of a puzzle.  He has stretches where he seems unhittable, and he has other stretchers where he seems to be throwing batting practice.  I wonder if there's some sort of flaw in his delivery that he slips into sometimes and has a hard time getting out of again.  That's just speculation, of course.  But I can't blame the Twins for wanting him to go to Rochester until he gets straightened out.

It was asked if the Twins didn't have someone in Rochester better to bring up than Austin Adams.  The answer, in my opinion, is no, they really don't.  Kohl Stewart, maybe, but I suspect the Twins want him to continue starting.  Devin Smeltzer has made two really good starts for the Red Wings, but it's only two starts, so I suspect a) they want him to get more experience before bringing him up and b) they want him to continue starting as well.  Adams appears to be a replacement-level pitcher at best.  He will presumably try to fill the Fernando Romero groundskeeper role, but I'm not sure I wouldn't rather have another position player on the team instead.

Record:  The Twins are 27-15, first in the American League Central, 4.5 games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 147-15!

2019 Recap: Game Twenty-five

MINNESOTA 4, BALTIMORE 1 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, April 28.

Batting stars:  Max Kepler was 2-for-4 with a home run (his seventh) and two runs.  Byron Buxton was 1-for-3 with a home run.  Marwin Gonzalez was 1-for-2 with two walks.

Pitching stars:  Kyle Gibson pitched seven innings, giving up one run on three hits and no walks and striking out six.  Trevor Hildenberger pitched a scoreless inning, giving up one hit and striking out one.  Blake Parker struck out two in a perfect inning.

Opposition star:  Chris Davis was 1-for-2 with a home run, his third.

The game:  Jonathan Villar led off the game with a double for the Orioles but did not score.  It cost them, as Kepler led off the bottom of the first with a home run to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.  It went to 4-0 in the third.  Buxton led off the inning with a home run and Kepler followed with a double.  The next two batters went out, but walks to Eddie Rosario and C. J. Cron loaded the bases and Gonzalez delivered a two-run single.

Meanwhile, Gibson was in control.  Through six innings, Baltimore only once got a man to third base.  With two out in the seventh, Davis hit a home run to cut the lead to 4-1, but that was as good as it got for them.  They got only one more hit, a two-out double in the eighth, and did not get the tying run up to bat.

WP:  Gibson (2-0).  LP:  Dylan Bundy (0-4).  S:  Parker (5).

Notes:  Mitch Garver was 0-for-3 and is batting .372.  Jorge Polanco was 1-for-4 and is batting .337.  Hildenberger has an ERA of 1.93.  Parker's ERA is 1.08.

It came as something of a surprise to me that Kepler has seven home runs already.  He must have gotten them when I wasn't paying attention or something.  His career high is twenty, set last year.  One would think he has a good chance of bettering that this season.

This was Gibson's second consecutive solid start.  Both came against Baltimore, of course.  If he can sustain that over his next couple of outings, it will be a really good sign for the Twins' rotation.

In fact, this next week and a half or so will tell us a lot about just how good the Twins are.  They host Houston for four, have three in New York with the Yankees, and then go to Toronto for three.  If they can handle that stretch of games, we just may have something this season.

Record:  The Twins are 16-9, first in the American League Central, two games ahead of Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 153-9!

 

2019 Recaps: Game Twelve

MINNESOTA 6, DETROIT 4 IN MINNESOTA

Date:  Sunday, April 14.

Batting stars:  Eddie Rosario was 3-for-4 with a home run (his third), two runs, and two RBIs.  Mitch Garver was 2-for-3 with two doubles.  Byron Buxton was 2-for-4 with a double.  Nelson Cruz was 2-for-4.  Jorge Polanco was 2-for-4.  C. J. Cron was 1-for-3 with a home run.

Pitching stars:  Jose Berrios struck out seven in 6.2 innings, giving up two runs on four hits and a walk.  Taylor Rogers struck out two in a scoreless inning.  Trevor Hildenberger struck out both batters he faced.

Opposition star:  Daniel Norris pitched three innings, giving up one run on six hits and no walks and striking out two.

The game:  The Tigers opened the game with back-to-back singles but did not score.  The Twins got on the board in the bottom of the first.  Max Kepler led off with a double and Cruz hit a one-out single, putting men on first and third.  Rosario singled in a run and another scored on a ground out, giving the Twins a 2-0 lead.

It didn't last long.  In the top of the second, Ronny Rodriguez doubled and Gordon Beckham hit a two-run homer, tying the score 2-2.  The tie didn't last long either, though.   In the bottom of the second, Garver and Buxton doubled to put the Twins up 3-2.  In the third, Rosario doubled and Cron hit a two-run homer to make it 5-2 Twins.

It stayed there until the seventh.  The Twins threatened in the fourth, but a double play prevented them from scoring despite getting three singles.  Rosario led off the seventh with a home run, increasing the lead to 6-2.

The Tigers got back into it in the eighth.  Jeimer Candelario singled, Miguel Cabrera walked, and Christin Stewart doubled, making the score 6-3 and bringing the tying run up to bat with none out.  John Hicks struck out, but Grayson Greiner singled to make the score 6-4.  A hit batsman loaded the bases, but a popup and a ground up kept the score at 6-4 Twins.

The Tigers threatened again in the ninth. JaCoby Jones led off with an infield single and Candelario walked.  Miguel Cabrera struck out, but Stewart walked to load the bases.  Hildenberger then came in to strike out Hicks and Greiner to preserve the victory for the Twins.

WP:  Berrios (2-1).  LP:  Jordan Zimmerman (0-2).  S:  Hildenberger (1).

Notes:  Garver is batting .500.  Polanco is batting .383.  Buxton is batting .324.  Cruz is batting .320.

Berrios has an ERA of 2.30.  Trevor May, despite allowing two runs in a third of an inning today, has an ERA of 2.84.  Rogers has an ERA of 1.17.  Blake Parker is at 1.69.  Hildeberger has an ERA of zero.

Hicks struck out five times in today's game.  Is that the Platinum Sombrero?  It's not good, whatever it is.  I understand that the only other player to strike out five times in a game against the Twins is Reggie Jackson.  Normally being on a list with Reggie Jackson would be a good thing, but not this time.

Despite Rocco Baldelli's statement that there are not defined roles, it's clear that he's using Parker as the closer.  I'm fine with him not making that announcement.  If you never say he's The Closer, then you don't have to explain why he's not the closer if the need arises to take him out of that role, which it appears that it might.  As to why Parker is the closer, I really don't have much of a clue, but for the most part the Twins have gotten away with it.

Hildenberger's role seems to be The Guy Who Comes In To Pitch With The Bases Loaded.  That would seem to me to be a much more difficult role than The Closer.  If I recall correctly, he's succeeded at it three out of four times, which strikes me as pretty darn good.  He sure came through with a couple of clutch strikeouts in this game.  I know Hicks and Greiner aren't exactly Ruth and Gehrig, but in a situation where just a bloop single ties the game, those are some big strikeouts to get.

The Twins made a number of excellent defensive plays in this game.  There's not much more to say about that, other than that it sure is fun to be watching a good defensive team again.  Berrios benefited from that excellent defense.  He didn't appear to be sharp early, and was bailed out by his defense a couple of times, but of course still pitched a fine game.

Record:  The Twins are 8-4, in first place in the American League Central, 1.5 games ahead of Cleveland and Detroit.

Projected Record:  We're still on track for 158-4!

2019 Recap: Game Nine

MINNESOTA 14, NEW YORK METS 8 IN NEW YORK

Date:  Tuesday, April 9.

Batting stars:  Mitch Garver was 4-for-5 with two home runs and three runs.  Jorge Polanco was 3-for-5 with a home run (his second) and a triple, scoring twice and driving in two.  Eddie Rosario was 2-for-4 with a home run (his second), a double, and a walk, scoring twice and driving in two.  Jonathan Schoop was 2-for-5 with two home runs and four RBIs.  Byron Buxton was 2-for-5 with a double and a stolen base (his third), scoring twice.

Pitching star:  Trevor May pitched a perfect inning and struck out one.  Trevor Hildenberger retired the only man he faced, which would not normally get him star mention, but it was a very big out.

Opposition stars:  Amed Rosario was 3-for-5 with a double.  Michael Conforto was 2-for-3 with a home run (his third), a double, and two walks, scoring three times.  Brandon Nimmo was 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, and a walk, scoring twice.  Pete Alonso was 2-for-5 with two home runs (his fourth and fifth) and three RBIs.

The game:  Garver opened the second inning with a home run, giving the Twins a 1-0 lead.  It lasted until the bottom of the second, when Conforto doubled and scored on Rosario's double to tie it 1-1.  The Twins took the lead back with a four-run third.  Polanco tripled and scored on a wild pitch.  Willians Astudillo singled and Rosario and Garver hit back-to-back home runs to put the Twins up 5-1.  The Mets got two of the runs back in the bottom of the third, with home runs by Nimmo and Conforto cutting the margin to 5-3.

In the fourth, Buxton doubled and scored on a Max Kepler single to put the Twins up 6-3.  In the fifth, Nimmo led off with a double.  He was still on second with two out, but walks to Conforto and J. D. Davis loaded the bases.  Starter Kyle Gibson came out of the game, and Hildenberger came on to retire Jeff McNeil on a deep fly ball to keep the score 6-3.  Schoop homered in the sixth to increase the lead to 7-3.

Alonso homered in the seventh to make the score 7-4.  The Twins took control of the game in the eighth.  Buxton doubled and scored when Ehire Adrianza reached on an error.  Polanco then hit a two-run homer to make the score 10-4.  The Twins got some insurance in the ninth.  Rosario doubled, Garver singled, and Jason Castro hit a pinch-hit single.  Schoop followed with a three-run homer to make it 14-4.  The extra runs came in handy, as the Mets rallied for four in the bottom of the ninth.  Nimmo walked and Alonso hit a two-run homer.  A single, a walk, and another single loaded the bases with none out.  A walk to McNeil forced in a run and made the score 14-7, still with none out.  At that point, Chase De Jong pulled himself together and got a foul out, a force out, and a foul out to end the game.

WP:  Hildenberger (2-0).  LP:  Jacob deGrom (2-1).  S:  None.

Notes:  Garver is batting .467.  Astudillo was 1-for-5 and is batting .421.  Polanco is batting .405.

HildenbergerMay, and Ryne Harper all have ERAs of zero.  Blake Parker has an ERA of 2.25.

Gibson pitched 4.2 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and three walks.  He did strike out six.  He was pulled one out shy of qualifying for a win, which shows that Rocco Baldelli is more concerned with team wins than pitcher wins.  It seems obvious that this is how it should be, but we can all think of Twins managers who did not seem to understand that point.

The Twins used six relievers, which is a lot, but none of them pitched more than one inning and four of them pitched less than one inning.  There's no reason all of them except De Jong couldn't pitch again tonight.

De Jong, of course, is the pitcher the Twins just had to have, couldn't get along without, was worth giving up Tyler Austin to have in the majors by Saturday.  This was the first time he's pitched, and quite frankly a position player probably could have done as well as he did.  It's not De Jong's fault that the Twins let Austin go, of course, and I have nothing against him.  I hope he gets another chance, and I hope he pitches well.  But it was still a really stupid thing for the Twins to do.

My guess would be that the number of people who expected the Twins to score fourteen runs in a game that Jacob de Grom started was approximately zero.

Record:  The Twins are 6-3, in second place in the American League Central, a half game behind Cleveland.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 159-3!

2019 Recap: Game Five

MINNESOTA 7, KANSAS CITY 6 IN KANSAS CITY

Date:  Wednesday, April 3.

Batting stars:  Mitch Garver was 3-for-4 with a double, two runs, and two RBIs.  Willians Astudillo was 3-for-5 with a double and two runs.  Eddie Rosario was 2-for-4 with a double and a walk.

Pitching stars:  Adalberto Mejia struck out three in 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up a walk.  Trevor May pitched 1.2 scoreless innings, giving up a hit.

Opposition stars:  Alex Gordon was 2-for-4 with a home run, a walk, and four RBIs.  Ryan O'Hearn was 2-for-4.  Adalberto Mondesi was 2-for-5 with a triple and two runs.

The game:  The Royals again got on the board in the first inning, as Mondesi hit a one-out triple and Gordon followed with an RBI single.  The Twins tied it in the second when Rosario led off with a double and Astudillo followed with an RBI single.

The Twins got a two-out double from Jorge Polanco in the third but could do nothing with it.  They took the lead in the fourth, however, as Astudillo singled and Jake Cave walked.  Garver put the Twins ahead with a run-scoring double, but Cave was thrown out at the plate.  Ehire Adrianza hit a sacrifice fly, though, and the Twins had a 3-1 lead.

The Royals missed a chance in the bottom of the fourth when Jorge Soler was thrown out trying to steal home as part of a double steal.  They came back big in the fifth, though.  The first two batters went out.  Billy Hamilton walked, stole second, and scored on a Whit Merrifield single.  Mondesi followed with an infield hit that Dazzle said Adrianza should have turned into the third out.  It cost the Twins, as Gordon followed with a three-run homer to put Kansas City up 5-3.  Kansas City wasn't done.  Soler reached on an error, O'Hearn singled, and Chris Owings singled to make the score 6-3.  It was not looking good for the visiting Twins.

They bounced right back, however.  In the sixth, Astudillo hit a one-out double and Garver delivered a two-out single to cut the margin to 6-4.  In the eighth, Garver hit a one-out single, Tyler Austin had a two-out double, and Max Kepler tied the score with a double.  Then, in the ninth, Nelson Cruz led off with a walk.  Pinch-runner Byron Buxton stole second and scored on Rosario's single to give the Twins a 7-6 advantage.  The Royals went down in order in the ninth.

WP:  May (1-0).  LP:  Wily Peralta (0-1).  S:  Blake Parker (2).

Notes:  Kyle Gibson started and pitched well for four innings.  His final line, however, is 4.2 innings, six runs (five earned), eight hits, two walks, and two strikeouts.  He was not helped by his defense in the fifth.  it also seems likely that, as he continues to gain strength after his bout with e coli, he tired as he tried to get five outs in the fifth inning.  Time will tell, but I don't see any reason to hold that inning against him.

As Buxton was used as a pinch-runner and stole a base, I assume there are no linger effects from his collision with the fence Tuesday night.

This was the third time Adalberto Mejia and Adalberto Mondesi appeared in the same game.  The other times were August 20, 2016 and May 21, 2017.  There has only been one other major league player named "Adalberto".  Right-hander Adalberto Mendez appeared in five games for Florida in 2010.  Thus, there has never been a major league player named "Adalberto" whose last name did not start with "M".

4-1 is obviously a good start.  We don't know how good yet, because we don't know how the teams are that the Twins have been playing.  Cleveland is supposed to be good, and maybe they will be, but they've had injuries and don't look like a very good team at the moment.  The Royals appear to have some talent, but every time they look like they're starting to put it together they do some things to remind you that they're the Royals.  This is not intended as criticism of the Twins--you can only play the teams on your schedule, and no matter who you play you still have to go out and beat them.  The only point, which is probably obvious, is that I don't know if we have a very good read on how good the Twins are going to be yet.

But on the other hand, we also don't have a very good read on how good they need to be.  Cleveland is supposed to be the class of the division, and it still may turn out that way.  But if it's not them, who is it?  Kansas City?  Detroit?  Chicago?  Any of those teams could turn out to be good, of course, but it's not looking like it right now.  You don't necessarily have to be a great team to win a division--you just have to be better than the other four teams in it.  It's entirely possible that the Twins will be able to do that.

Record:  The Twins are 4-1, in first place in the American League Central, one game ahead of Detroit.

Projected record:  We're still on track for 161-1!

2018 Game Number 1: Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles

Day game alert!

Jake Odorizzi

vs

Dylan Bundy

 

Finishing at .500 would not be considered a success this year, would it? With that being the case, I wonder if we get 424 comments today?

Continue reading 2018 Game Number 1: Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles