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

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 “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

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.”


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.