Twins pitching scattered eight hits over nine innings the other day, seemingly enough quality pitching to earn any team a win. Adalberto Mejia and Fernando Romero were among those Twins pitchers who pitched scoreless baseball in that game.
Yet the Twins didn’t get the victory.
The Tampa Bay Rays, on the other hand, sent eight pitchers to the mound, including ace Blake Snell, and shut out the Twins on two hits to beat them 1-0.
It’s a loss like that makes me ask: Did the Twins do enough this offseason?
Yes, I think they did. With the arrival of Nelson Cruz, C.J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop and Marwin Gonzalez, the Twins appear to have plenty of pop and power to at least return to their 2017 wild-card form after taking a step back last season. And if everyone stays healthy, plus Miguel Sano and Byron Buxton set new trajectories for their respective careers, I think the Twins are poised to have a breakout season.
But a loss to those Rays also has me asking: Did the Twins do enough to bolster the rotation this offseason?
That answer is not as clear. The Twins will have a core rotation of Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson and Jake Odorizzi, followed by some combination of Michael Pineda, Martin Perez, Kohl Stewart, Stephen Gonsalves, Mejia and Chase De Jong. There’s also the option that some pitch in the “opener” format, which was used by the Twins with some success during the second-half of last season.
The two biggest question marks are Pineda and Perez. Pineda hasn’t pitched since 2017 and Perez, although left-handed, struggled last season with a 6.22 ERA to go along with a career ERA of 4.63. Not exactly the most encouraging set of numbers.
There is good news, however. Pineda pitched two scoreless innings of baseball on Friday against the Boston Red Sox.
-Byron Buxton and Eddie Rosario continue to hit well in early exhibition play. Buxton is hitting .600 and leads the team with three home runs, while Rosario is hitting .667 with eight hits in his first 12 at bats.
-Fan favorite Willians Astudillo went 2-for-2 with a home run in Saturday’s loss to the Washington Nationals.
-De Jong might be in the running for a spot on the roster, but he won’t be if he continues to pitch like he did on Sunday. Against the Red Sox, De Jong served up seven runs (all earned) in two-plus innings of work. Lefty Perez looked much better in a split-squad tie against the Philadelphia Phillies. Perez stuck out four in three innings of scoreless baseball.