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 Sunday.

But then the “opener” — using a reliever to set up the starting pitcher for a successful outing — worked to perfection. Rookie starting pitcher Kohl Stewart took the mound after May and started his day by striking out Houston’s No. 9 hitter, according to MLB.com. From there, he pitched five scoreless innings. After Stewart exited the game, the Astros tagged on another run late and the Twins lost 5-2. Get a better opening from May and the Twins would have won this game.

Things return to normal Wednesday when Jake Odorizzi gets the ball.

Extra innings…

-Can a data-driven, analytically-minded team like the Twins actually win games without talent on the field? In other words, can the data compensate for what the Twins lack as a ball club and help them win games? It can’t, right? I say this out of frustration after watching the Twins’ “openers” not go as planned, and it has me wondering: Maybe the Twins aren’t as talented as I think they are.

If you had to name a star on the Twins, who would it be? I guess it would be Eddie Rosario because of his consistent play at the plate and in the field. And after that? Well… I wish I could say Miguel Sano (and now Sano is hurt again) and Byron Buxton but both took big steps back this season. Jose Berrios, while at times pitching well, also has struggled. Tyler Austin, Jake Cave and Mitch Garver might represent the future, but they’re not stars either.

So where does the real talent lie on this team? It’s getting harder and harder to tell.

COMMENTS

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.