March 27, 2019

On the eve of a new season, some encouraging signs for the Twins

The Twins wrapped up spring training on Tuesday with a 5-5 tie against the Colorado Rockies. A blowout win over the Rockies would have been an even better message for fans, but the Twins still showed promise in the right areas in Tuesday’s tie game for 2019.

Starter Michael Pineda got through a rough first inning, then settled down nicely and struck out seven batters in five innings. He ends spring training with a 3.54 ERA and 20 strikeouts in 20.1 innings pitched.

And those players who are expected to see the most action this season contributed hits, big and small, in Tuesday’s game. Newcomers Nelson Cruz and C.J. Cron hit home runs, plus the team also got hits out of Max Kepler, Willians Astudillo, Jonathan Schoop, Ronald Torreyes and Jake Cave.

Extra innings…

-Most prognosticators see the Twins finishing solidly in second place in the AL Central in 2019. A smaller number think the Twins will dethrone the Cleveland Indians this season, while many think the Twins will make the postseason as the second wild card team.

Some predictions:

-The New York Times:

Even if they cannot catch Cleveland, the Twins could claim a wild card by feasting on the weak in the division. The bottom three teams each lost at least 98 games last season, and none have done much to improve.

-Eric Karabell, ESPN.com:

The Indians are vulnerable, and whenever everybody simply assumes a team has a division locked, I look. What if Corey Kluber falls apart? The Twins will score more runs and the pitching is, well, OK.

Bleacher Report:

It’s a new season now, and the Twins have a new look.

 

Part of it is the sheer power the Twins have lined up for 2019. Newcomer Nelson Cruz can hit them as many as 40 home runs. Fellow newcomers Jonathan Schoop, C.J. Cron and Marwin Gonzalez and incumbents Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler could hit 20 apiece.

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.