During the 2019 season, the Twins earned the nickname “bomba” — Spanish for bomb — for the record number of home runs the team hit. In case you’ve forgotten, it was 307 home runs, a new single-season record.
And after Sunday’s beat down of the Chicago White Sox, it’s clear the bomba squad is alive, well and mashing.
Jake Cave hit a first-inning grand slam, Marwin Gonzalez tacked on a home run late, but in between Mr. Automatic, Nelson Cruz, went 4-for-5, including two home runs, and drove in half of the Twins’ 14 runs on Sunday. The final was 14-2.
Pitcher Kenta Maeda, who made his Twins’ debut on Sunday, did just enough for the win. He struck out six over five innings, then stepped aside for a bullpen that had a much better day, including Matt Wisler, who struck out four batters on 39 pitches.
The Twins picked up the series win and are now 2-1 on the young season. They now return home for their opener on Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals. They have two games versus the Cards and then they host the Cleveland Indians.
-At first glance, a 60-game season might seem like a sprint to the finish line, with teams prepared to throw all their resources at the opposition to make the playoffs. But given the extended offseason because of the novel coronavirus, a number of players, particularly pitchers, probably aren’t ready to pitch deep into games. That might explain why the Twins lifted Randy Dobnak after four innings on Saturday and Maeda was done after five on Sunday. If starting pitchers still need to pitch themselves into shape, expect teams to really lean on their bullpens for the next 57 games.
-The Twins have not only hit one grand slam in the first inning of a game, they also have done it twice. On July 18, 1962, before 15,000 at the Met, Bob Allison and Harmon Killebrew each hit a grand slam in an 11-run first inning against the Cleveland Indians. They went on to win 14-3. On the mound for the Twins, Dick Stigman of Nimrod, Minn., who struck out 11 in the complete game win.
-The Twins on Sunday scored 14 runs on 13 hits. Josh Donaldson, who is still looking for his first home run of the season, walked twice and scored two runs.
-Speaking of pitchers who need to pitch themselves into shape, MLB may have lost two of the best pitchers in the game after Corey Kluber exited his game with shoulder tightness and Justin Verlander announced a forearm strain.
Two important observations about the Twins:
Dallas Keuchel from Sat. about the #MNTwins: "That's one of the best lineups that any of us will see this year. They won the division for a reason last year, & we're going to have to go through them to win this thing. I have a lot of respect for a ton of those guys over there."
— danhayesmlb (@DanHayesMLB) July 26, 2020
#MNTwins fans should be just as excited about the 0 on the scoreboard as the 10. Maeda's dominated. We knew this team could score, but he'd be a really nice No. 3 in the rotation if he's close to this good throughout the season.
— Nate Dickinson (@NATEonKATE) July 26, 2020
Sources: MLB.com and Baseball-Reference.com.