September 23, 2019

Twins win… I think

There was plenty to celebrate in the Twins’ 12-8 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday. Slugger Nelson Cruz hit the 400th home run of his career, Tyler Duffey and Brusdar Graterol, pitched well in relief and the win reduced the Twins’ magic number to three.

 

But Sunday’s win was nearly as ugly as Saturday’s loss to the Royals. And both games underscored a problem: starting pitching.

Jose Berrios couldn’t preserve the Twins’ lead on Saturday and Martin Perez, who was handed a six-run lead after the first inning on Sunday, made an even bigger mess of things. Perez coughed up five runs in two-plus innings and was done after 52 pitches.

Reliever Zack Littell allowed an unearned run, but relievers Duffey, Trevor May, Cody Stashak and Graterol were excellent. Duffey struck out the side on 12 pitches and Graterol did the same on 14 pitches.

And then things got interesting. Fernando Romero managed to get two outs in the top of the ninth inning, but he also walked the bases loaded. Twins manager Rocco Baldelli then turned to Sergio Romo to get the final out, but he walked in two runs before striking out the Royals’ Alex Gordon on three pitches.

Up next, the Twins head to Motown to play the 109-loss Detroit Tigers on Tuesday. Jake Odorizzi gets the ball.

Extra innings…

-So what do the Twins do with their struggling rotation? Perhaps Randy Dobnak does deserve a spot in the postseason rotation.

-Not only did Cruz hit his 40th home run of the season (and 400 for his career), Miguel Sano also hit two blasts on Sunday and Eddie Rosario had three hits, all doubles.

-The Twins bullpen has shown a lot of improvement during the second-half of the season, including Duffey, who hasn’t allowed a run since July 23. But that’s not the case for Trevor Hildenberger who continues to struggle. Hildy contributed to a seven-run ninth inning in the Twins’ 12-5 loss on Saturday. He is 2-2 with a 10.47 ERA.

-The Twins play six more games to end the season. They have three at Detroit and three more at Kansas City before it’s all over. The Twins were 5-2 on this just-completed home stand. Now, they hit the road where they are a major league best 25 games over .500.

-The Twins are 96-60. They need to win six straight to tie the 1965 club at 102-60.

COMMENTS

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.