March 30, 2020

The day Camilo Pascual struck out 15 on opening day, 1960

A season before the Washington Senators picked up stakes and moved to Minnesota, the Washington team kicked off its final season in D.C. in style, courtesy of a 26-year-old Cuban curveballer named, Camilo Pascual.

Pascual’s pitching that day was good enough for inclusion on Baseball-Reference.com’s top opening day pitching performances. He won 17 games the year before and got the ball against the Boston Red Sox on April 18, 1960.

Pascual struck out the first batter he faced that afternoon and settled in to do it 14 more times before his day was done. Backed by four home runs, including a 4-for-4 day from battery mate, Earl Battey, Pascual allowed a run on three hits over nine innings, with three walks and 15 strikeouts.

Bob Allison, Jim Lemon and Battey had seven of the Senators’ 10 hits, and the Washington team cruised to a 10-1 beat down of Boston. Who drove in the only run for the Red Sox? Teddy Ballgame. Playing in his final season for Boston, Williams homered in the second inning off Pascual.

Extra innings…

-Eight years later the Twins’ Dean Chance turned in his own worthy opening day performance on April 10, 1968. The Twins were in D.C. to take on the second version of the Senators. Allison and Harmon Killebrew backed Chance with solo shots, and Chance did the rest, scattering four hits over nine innings with eight strikeouts. Who did the Twins beat that day? Their old friend, Camilo Pascual.

-And let’s not forget what current Twins starter, Jose Berrios, did a season ago on opening day. He allowed two hits over seven-plus innings with one walk and 10 strikeouts to shut out Cleveland, 2-0.

-An oversight on my part: Pascual’s 15 strikeouts is a major league record. He was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame in 2012.

March 29, 2020

The day the Twins’ Brant Alyea went 4-for-4 in 1970

I wasn’t sure I was going to come up with a Twins-related nugget to write about this week as baseball sits on the sidelines, waiting, like we all are, for the curve of the coronavirus to flatten. But then the Baseball-Reference.com newsletter landed in my inbox and there it was: a little item about top... Continue Reading »

March 23, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce, Mr. Phil Hughes (applause)

Former starting pitcher, Phil Hughes, who is perhaps best known as an ex-Yankee, was also long-coveted by the Twins. And he finally joined the Minnesota team as a free agent in 2013, then put together a record-setting season in 2014 on a club that lost 92 games. Hughes would win 16 games that season with... Continue Reading »

March 16, 2020

This season is about to suck, Twins fans

Spring training has been canceled, the regular season delayed and now the clock is ticking on whether the entire season will be cast aside to deal with a rapidly spreading coronavirus. What a shame that will be if the season is canceled because the Twins, after having one of the best offseasons in years (maybe... Continue Reading »

March 9, 2020

Twins veterans appear to get warmer with the weather

On a 75-degree Sunday, Twins starting pitcher Kenta Maeda turned in his best pitching performance of the spring, hurling four scoreless innings of two-hit baseball with no walks. He also struck out six of the 13 Boston batters he faced, in what would eventually be a 7-6, Red Sox win. Perhaps not lost on any... Continue Reading »

March 2, 2020

It’s Twins/Yankees again, folks (my favorite obsession)

Amid the business of spring training — lineups with lots of new faces and veterans slowly working their way back from the offseason — a tweet caught my eye. Yankee Stadium, 1967, a few short year before it would be totally reconfigured (1974-75). #Yankees pic.twitter.com/QYpxwdpiuS — MLBcathedrals (@MLBcathedrals) February 27, 2020 This time it was... Continue Reading »

February 24, 2020

I will not read too much into spring training, I will not read too much into spring training, I will not…

Three “spring” games are already in the books for your 2020 Minnesota Twins, including a win over the Pittsburgh Pirates and a 5-5 tie on Sunday versus the Toronto Blue Jays. A Twins lineup of youngsters and prospects also had no trouble against the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, beating the college team 16-0. Baseball... Continue Reading »

February 17, 2020

Under new playoff proposal, would the Twins ever pick the Yankees and would the Yanks always pick the Twins?

Major League Baseball has pitched a new playoff proposal for the 2022 season and beyond, a plan that was unveiled this month and landed with an overwhelming thud. Many, I think, are supportive of expanding playoff opportunities to more teams, but a nationally televised seeding process where teams would pick who they play? That would... Continue Reading »

February 10, 2020

OK, if the Red Sox can hold up the Maeda trade, can the Twins unravel the Dyson deal?

If the Boston Red Sox can alter the terms of what was a three-way trade between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Minnesota Twins over a pitcher who may or may not have been the player they thought he was, then I wish the Twins had made a little more noise over reliever Sam Dyson. The... Continue Reading »

Previous

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.