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.

One might think that Bombas 2.0 would be off and running after the Twins set a record for home runs in a single-season last year, but so far, pitching has been the name of the game.

On Sunday, veterans Jose Berrios, Sergio Romo, Tyler Clippard and Taylor Rogers looked like they were in mid-season form after they pitched five innings of shutout baseball. Berrios was especially sharp. He faced six batters over two innings and struck out four.

And on Saturday, the up-and-coming foursome of Devin Smeltzer, Harvard man Sean Poppen, Zack Littell and Cody Stashak looked just as good. They combined for six innings of shutout baseball, and Stashak struck out the side in the sixth. Smeltzer picked up the win.

Twins pitching obviously had no trouble with the Gophers on Friday. Six Twins pitchers combined to one-hit the team, while Gophers pitching was a mess. The Twins banged out only nine hits, but they also were issued 13 base on balls, including nine through four innings. You do that and you’re going to give up 16 runs.

It was a long afternoon for Gophers starter Trent Schoeberl, who allowed eight runs (five earned) on five walks and four hits. He also committed an error trying to pick off a runner. He exited with an ERA of 22.50. Despite the rough outing, I bet it was fun to face the Twins.

Extra innings…

-MLB.com has released its favorites to win the World Series. No surprise: the Yankees come in at No. 1. But after the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Houston Astros (really?), you’ll find the Twins at No. 4.

Writer Mike Petriello has this to say:

With the Big Three above (Yankees Dodgers and Astros), you might say this is the start of the “second tier,” but that’s also pretty unfair to the Twins, who just set the all-time record for home runs and then went out and added Josh Donaldson, who just popped 37 and should help on defense, too. Oh, and the Mitch Garver breakout seems terrifyingly legitimate. This team is going to mash.

 

No, they didn’t get the top-end starter they really needed, but Kenta Maeda is super useful, they brought back Michael Pineda and Jake Odorizzi, and the idea of Rich Hill coming back in the second half of the season to be the “I’m only throwing 50 innings, but they’re going to be great” guy is a lot of fun to think about.

Sources: MLB.com, Baseball-Reference.com.

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.