The Twins dropped Game 1 of their three-game series against the Cleveland Indians, the defending AL Central champs. And the loss largely falls on the shoulders of Devin Smeltzer, who made his second start for the Twins after pitching well in his major league debut.
Smeltzer also pitched well early in Tueday’s game, but ultimately served up five earned runs, including four home runs. Smeltzer fell to 0-1 on the season and the Twins lost 5-2.
The Twins scored both runs on solo shots: Eddie Rosario hit his 18th dinger and Marwin Gonzalez hit his seventh.
Martin Perez gets the ball Wednesday. Carlos Carrasco will take the mound for the Tribe. The Twins have already faced Carrasco this year in a 9-3 win on March 31.
-The Twins are now 40-19. They have two more games in Cleveland, then head to Detroit for a three-game series, before coming home to play the Mariners, Royals and Red Sox. Those should all be winnable games for the Twins.
-It was a long night for Max Kepler and Nelson Cruz, recently returned from the injured list. Both struck out three times.
-I have a feeling that Smeltzer might benefit from the opener format, in which a reliever starts the game and then turns the ball over to a primary pitcher like Smeltzer. I say that because once the Cleveland lineup had seen Smeltzer two or three times, the ball started to fly out of the ballpark. In theory, the opener approach prevents that familiarity.
-The Twins have drafted two players who have ties to the Northwest: Spencer Steer, an infielder at the University of Oregon, and Casey Legumina, a right-handed pitcher at Gonzaga University.
According to MLB.com:
Steer had been a well-rounded hitter throughout his three years at Oregon, en route to becoming the highest-drafted position player in program history with his third-round selection. The Long Beach, Calif., native credits part of his marked improvement to a .349/.456/.502 junior season to his experience in the Cape Cod League last summer hitting behind Vanderbilt outfielder JJ Bleday, the No. 4 selection in this draft.
The son of a former prospect in the Dodgers’ and Tigers’ organizations, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Legumina was reported by FanGraphs as having cranked his fastball up to 97 mph in February to go with a power slider.
The Twins also drafted a player from Minnesota: Matt Wallner, an outfielder at Southern Miss.
Minnesota's own Matt Wallner said he hoped the Twins would use that 39th pick on him, but tried not to dwell on it. "My dream has always been to play for my hometown team," said the So Miss outfielder, who grew up going to the Metrodome.
— Phil Miller (@MillerStrib) June 4, 2019