September 18, 2018

‘Opener’ format suits Twins’ Stewart

The Twins’ rotation consists of traditional starting pitchers Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson and Jake Odorizzi. After that, things get interesting. This month the Twins, following in the footsteps of the Tampa Bay Rays, began using the “opener” format, in which a reliever starts the game to tee up the primary pitcher for a more effective outing.

The experiment got off to a rough start, but has worked better of late and appears to have helped two rookie pitchers, including Kohl Stewart, who beat the Detroit Tigers on Monday.

After reliever Gabriel Moya did his job in the first inning, Stewart entered the game and allowed one unearned run over six innings and improved to 2-1 with a 4.40 ERA. He also walked three and struck out five and the Twins beat the Tigers, 6-1.

According to MLB.com:

The 23-year-old worked six innings of three-hit ball in a role that’s becoming more familiar to him: Monday was Stewart’s third consecutive game going in after an opener, and the second consecutive time he did so without allowing a run. Stewart has a 1.88 ERA in those games and hasn’t allowed more than three hits per outing.

 

“I felt comfortable tonight,” he told MLB.com. “I knew what to expect. The more you do something, the better you’re gonna understand it.”

I’m all for this new format because it has certainly helped the Rays. The Rays have one of the lowest team ERAs in the American League and are 30-20 when using the opener.

Odorizzi gets the ball Tuesday.

Extra innings…

-The Gardenhires, Ron and his son, Toby, met before Monday’s game to go over the lineups, according to MLB.com.

The No. 81 Twins jersey was waiting for Toby Gardenhire when he walked into the visiting clubhouse at Comerica Park. So was his father, in the other clubhouse.

 

“I try to forget all the stuff that he tells me,” joked the younger Gardenhire, a Twins coach for the series as a reward for his work managing the team’s Class A Cedar Rapids club. “I remember the little things. I try to forget most of it.”

September 17, 2018

Twins avoid sweep, beat Royals 9-6

The Twins on Sunday avoided the four-game sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals by scoring nine runs on 18 hits, including four home runs. Jorge Polanco had four hits, newcomer Johnny Field had four hits, and Field, Tyler Austin, Polanco and Max Kepler each hit a home run. Kepler hit his 19th... Continue Reading »

September 15, 2018

Get this: Twins can beat Yanks, but not the 96-loss Kansas City Royals

The past four games have been a microcosm of the Twins’ entire season. Inconsistent hitting, pitching and defense have plagued the team since April, and once again they were good enough to take two of three games from the New York Yankees, but not good enough to beat the Kansas City Royals, a team on... Continue Reading »

September 12, 2018

Take that, New York Yankees

The Twins snapped an eight-game losing streak to the New York Yankees on Tuesday by giving the Bronx Bombers a taste of their own medicine. Instead of the Yanks piling on, the Twins scored 10 runs on 13 hits, including a six-run fifth inning that was punctuated by a Joe Mauer grand slam. How sweet... Continue Reading »

September 10, 2018

Cult hero Willians Astudillo wins it for the Twins with walk-off home run

Willians Astudillo, whose unique statistical accomplishments have quickly earned him a devoted following, delivered in a big way Sunday after he hit a walk-off home run to beat the Kansas City Royals and win the three-game series. The Legend of Willians Astudillo™, updated: Homers – 3Strikeouts – 2Walks – 0 pic.twitter.com/jDIUrrqIYo — Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman)... Continue Reading »

September 9, 2018

Too bad: Twins’ Gonsalves doesn’t appear ready for prime time

Despite winning 53 games in the minors, starting pitcher Stephen Gonsalves, who has made four starts since being called up by the Twins, has struggled in every appearance, including on Friday. Gonsalves gave up five earned runs in two-plus innings, but the Twins had his back and rallied for a 10-6 victory over the Kansas... Continue Reading »

September 5, 2018

Twins’ ‘opener’ produces mixed results in loss to Houston

Reliever Trevor May got the ball on Tuesday and he quickly coughed up four runs on five hits after facing eight batters. His job was done and it appeared the Twins were fast on their way to another disastrous “opener,” similar to the 18-4 beatdown they suffered at the hands of the Texas Rangers on... Continue Reading »

September 4, 2018

‘Opener’ strategy rolls on for Twins

The Twins aren’t done exploring whether the bullpen can actually help a starting pitcher pitch deeper (more effectively?) into games after it was announced that reliever Trevor May will get the ball for Tuesday’s game at Houston. And once May has worked his way through the top and middle of the order, starting pitcher Kohl... Continue Reading »

September 3, 2018

Twins’ experiment with ‘opener’ strategy goes horribly wrong in Texas

Taking a page from the Tampa Bay Rays, the Twins employed an “opener” strategy on Sunday, in which a series of relievers pitches the game instead of a traditional starting pitcher. The theory behind it is that once the starting reliever or closer has faced the toughest part of the batting order, the “primary pitcher”... Continue Reading »

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Hi, I’m Rolf Boone and I love the Twins.

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.