April 24, 2019

The Twins are for real, folks, but pitching could be a real problem, too

There’s a lot to like about the 2019 Minnesota Twins. The team is off to one of its best starts in years at 13-8 and they lead the American League in team batting average at .277. They also are second in on base percentage and third in runs scored, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Hot-hitting Eddie Rosario also hit his 10th home run Tuesday night, becoming the first Twins player to hit 10 home runs before May 1, according to MLB.com.

Despite those accomplishments, the Twins couldn’t hold on to their early lead Tuesday and fell to the Houston Astros, 10-4. Starter Michael Pineda gave up four runs over five-plus innings, but the bullpen surrendered six more runs after Pineda was done. Trevor Hildenberger took the loss and Tyler Duffey gave up four runs late, although none of them were earned because of two errors and a passed ball.

In an online post Monday, a Minnesota news site called Bring Me The News pointed out the Twins are winning despite the lack of quality pitching.

This is the frightening part of the stunning statistics. Minnesota has had just eight quality starts in 19 games and opponents are hitting .262 against relievers (12th in AL). That’s not a signal for long-term success, and the pitching will eventually have to hold up its end of the bargain.

To underscore this point, the Twins are dead last in the AL in innings pitched at 175.

However, the Twins are missing some bullpen depth. Both Addison Reed and Matt Magill are injured and are not expected to rejoin the team until May.

Kohl Stewart gets the ball Wednesday opposite Justin Verlander.

Extra innings…

-The Twins’ winning streak ended at four games after Tuesday’s loss.

-On Monday, the Twins beat the Astros 9-5. Jorge Polanco was 4-for-5 with a home run and starter Jake Odorizzi did just enough to even his record at 2-2.


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.