March 4, 2024

The Twins’ Royce Lewis? All he does is hit grand slams

Twins infielder Royce Lewis continues to show he has an affinity for coming up big in the right moments after he hit another grand slam in the team’s 5-3 win over the Boston Red Sox on Friday.

If it was the regular season, it would have been the sixth grand slam of his very young career. As it is, he already holds the record for hitting five grand slams within the first 66 games of a career, according to MLB.com.

“I think these guys are just like, ‘What the heck, man, I don’t know what’s going on,’” Lewis told MLB.com “I said the same thing. I really don’t [know]. I just enjoy it. Take advantage of the opportunities when they come because they’ll go away soon. You just take advantage while you get them.”

Like all Twins fans, I hope this continues, or more specifically, I hope for Lewis this is more than just luck, but is somehow built into his DNA. Although the Twins had enough success last season to win the Central, I know that far too often I was reading box scores that showed the team struggling to score with runners in scoring position and leaving men on base. It would be great if Lewis becomes the clutch hitter this team really needs.

Meanwhile, a regular season-looking Twins lineup took the field on Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays and showed some pop in a 4-4 tie.

The Twins banged out 13 hits, getting two hits apiece from Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa and Kyle Farmer. Max Kepler hit a two-run dinger and Lewis and newcomer Manuel Margot each had a hit with an RBI.

On the mound, Simeon Woods Richardson turned in another scoreless appearance, as did closer Jhoan Duran, who got knocked around in his previous appearance.

Extra innings …

-Although Lewis hit an impressive grand slam, perhaps the performance of the weekend came from Twins starting pitcher Bailey Ober, who struck out seven over three innings on Saturday in a 3-2 loss to the Phillies. Thirty of his 38 pitches landed for strikes.

-Deadhead Joe Ryan was not as sharp in the Friday win, allowing two runs on three hits over two innings. When a good pitcher gets hit hard in spring training or the minor leagues, I am reminded of an Ervin Santana quote about the experience.

“Down there, they see anything white, they swing,” Santana told MLB.com in 2016. “In the Majors, they take more pitches. Down there they are swinging.”

It’s a reminder that during exhibition play, veteran pitchers have to face a lot of guys who are hungry to get their shot at the highest level of professional baseball.

-Another Friday performance worth mentioning: Eddie Julien had two hits, including a home run, scored two runs and drove in one more.

-Speaking of Santana, he spent four seasons with the Twins and was 16-8 in 2017 with a 3.28 ERA. He led the majors with five complete games and three shutouts and earned the second All-Star nod of his career.

February 29, 2024

The highlights of Wednesday’s Twins game? There weren’t many

The Twins got knocked around pretty good on Wednesday, losing 12-3 to those AL East winners, the Baltimore Orioles. And the O’s took advantage of not just a bunch of pitchers trying to make the cut, but established veterans. Pablo Lopez was tagged with the loss, allowing two runs on three hits, including a home... Continue Reading »

February 28, 2024

The curtain hasn’t fallen on the Twins’ Jose Miranda just yet

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator of the wildly popular 2015 musical “Hamilton,” has watched as the curtain has been raised and fallen to adoring crowds ever since. His cousin, Twins’ infielder Jose Miranda, also had a breakout rookie season in 2022 in which he slashed .268/.325/.426 with 15 home runs and a team-leading 66 RBI. The... Continue Reading »

February 26, 2024

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

Two spring training games are in the books and the Twins have emerged with a 1-1 record in early Grapefruit League play. The Twins lost on Sunday 8-6 to the Boston Red Sox, but kicked things off Saturday with a 5-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. It appeared the Twins were on the verge of... Continue Reading »

February 21, 2024

The favorite to win AL Cy Young award? The Twins’ Pablo Lopez, says MLB.com

Here we are on the cusp of a new baseball season and the Twins, or at least one member of them, is on the cusp of a major pitching honor, according to MLB.com, who say the Twins’ Pablo Lopez is the favorite to win the American League Cy Young award in 2024. After his 2023... Continue Reading »

February 12, 2024

Twins’ Jackson puts the ‘journey’ in journeyman

The Twins continue to add depth to their bullpen, announcing that they have traded (possibly disgruntled) infielder Nick Gordon to the Miami Marlins for lefty reliever Steven Okert. But before that deal was hatched, they came to terms on a free agent agreement with the well-traveled Jay Jackson, a 36-year-old righty reliever who has pitched... Continue Reading »

February 5, 2024

We hardly knew ye, Jorge Polanco

Second baseman Jorge Polanco, who spent 10 seasons with the Twins making him one of the longest tenured members of the club, is no longer that after he was sent to the Seattle Mariners for four players, including two proven major leaguers: Veteran pitcher Anthony DeSclafani and reliever Justin Topa. It’s a move I can... Continue Reading »

January 24, 2024

Say it’s so, Joe

Minnesota native and catcher Joe Mauer, who spent his entire 15-year career with the Twins, was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday in his first year of eligibility. Mauer appeared on 76.1 percent of ballots cast by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, just inching past the 75 percent mark to... Continue Reading »

January 22, 2024

With nothing else to write about, let’s spend a few minutes with ‘The Klaw’

As I thought he might, Strib columnist Patrick Reusse produced a nice piece on former Twins manager and cut up Billy Gardner, who died earlier this month at 96. Reusse recalled some of Gardner’s better quips and mannerisms over the years, including this observation of Gardner as he watched left-handed pitcher Tom Klawitter work during... Continue Reading »

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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.