Twins rookie starter Devin Smeltzer allowed only two hits over six innings and three relievers pitched scoreless baseball the rest of the way to shut out the Kansas City Royals 3-0 on Sunday.
It was the Twins’ eighth sweep of the season and the club’s first since late May when the Twins took three games from the Chicago White Sox.
The Twins are 8-2 in their last 10 games, but the Cleveland Indians also are 7-3 over that span, so the two teams remain separated by three games in the division.
Jake Odorizzi was originally set to pitch Sunday, but the Twins bumped him back a day so that Odo, Jose Berrios and Martin Perez can face a good Atlanta Braves team.
Strength of schedule has been working against the Twins. While the Twins get the first-place Braves, the Tribe face third-place Texas before the Indians come to Target Field for four games this week.
There's no overstating the importance of this upcoming week for #MNTwins. Seven games in seven days at Target Field, 3 against excellent 1st-place Braves and then 4 against Cleveland. Twins will send their All-Star SPs (Berrios & Odorizzi) to the mound twice. Huge opportunity.
— Nick Nelson (@NickNelsonMN) August 4, 2019
Once the Cleveland series is over, the Twins get the Brewers, Rangers, South Siders and the terrible Tigers to close out August. The Indians, on the other hand, get the Red Sox, Yankees and Mets. Things are about to even out, Twins fans.
-There wasn’t a whole lot of scoring in Sunday’s game. It was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth when the Twins scored a run, then added two more in the seventh and eighth innings. Jason Castro hit a home run and Eddie Rosario drove in two runs.
-Newly acquired reliever, Sergio Romo, pitched a scoreless inning on six pitches. He struck out a batter and induced two fly outs.
-The news about reliever Sam Dyson is not as good, however. After two lousy appearances since being acquired last week, Dyson has wound up on the injured list with “right biceps tendinitis,” according to MLB.com. The conspiracy theorist in all of us likely is wondering if the San Francisco Giants sent the Twins damaged goods.
Chief Baseball Officer, Derek Falvey, acknowledged to MLB.com that he was surprised by the injury, but defended the deal to get him.
“He didn’t have any open injuries, and from our medical review and otherwise, we felt good about where he was,” Falvey told MLB.com. “This is something that has probably popped up for him more recently, and I’m not saying just the days he’s been with us, but something that he had to work through. Now, our focus is just trying to get him as healthy as possible.”
-Ace lefty Taylor Rogers picked up his 17th save on Sunday.