March 30, 2018

No, no, no. The Twins do not need Fernando Rodney

Twins fans who are old enough to remember reliever Ron Davis likely had a debilitating flashback on Thursday after watching closer Fernando Rodney serve up a walk-off home run to Adam Jones and the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles prevailed 3-2 in 11 innings and the Twins lost on Opening Day for the ninth time in 10 years.

Count me among those who grew up watching Davis and his tendency to serve up walk-off home runs at the worst possible moments. And I have absolutely no interest in reliving that experience this season.

Yes, it was Game 1 of a long season; yes, it’s April; yes, Rodney will probably pitch well enough this season. But well enough isn’t going to do it for me, particularly if he gives up an ill-timed home run to miss the playoffs, or during the playoffs, or even worse: during the World Series. Cut him loose, as far as I’m concerned, and replace him with another reliever, such as Fernando Romero or Zack Littell, two pitchers who generated some buzz during spring training. Romero will start the season at Triple-A Rochester, while Littell has been sent to Double-A ball.

Other than the way the game ended Monday, there was a lot to like. Starter Jake Odorizzi struck out seven over six-plus innings and Addison Reed pitched well, too. Reliever Zach Duke struck out four in one inning, but also threw two wild pitches and gave up two runs late in the game.

But the Twins rallied to tie the game. Max Kepler drew an 11-pitch walk, and then manager Paul Molitor made a move that caused a stir on social media. Instead of letting Byron Buxton hit, Molitor called on Robbie Grossman to pinch hit for him and he came through with a bloop single to tie the game. Then Rodney gave it all away…

Extra innings…

-Ryan LaMarre, who hit better than .400 during spring training, won a spot on the Twins and appeared in Monday’s game as a pinch-runner for Logan Morrison. He also singled in the game.

-Kyle Gibson gets the ball on Saturday.

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.