The starting pitching has been strong, the bullpen has shown improvement, but this Twins team is not hitting, and that was underscored Tuesday after they were shut out by the Pittsburgh Pirates 1-0. The Twins had a grand total of three hits.
After that loss, I crunched some numbers that showed the Twins have scored fewer than four runs a game during exhibition play. And when you’re not hitting (and scoring runs) there are bound to be casualties, which led the Twins to announce that outfielder Alex Kirilloff, the top prospect who made his major league debut in last year’s postseason, has been optioned to the team’s alternate training site.
Kirilloff has four hits in 31 at bats for a batting average of .129. Here’s the sad part: Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Miguel Sano have guaranteed roles with the club, but if they were rookies, they’d be headed to the alternate training site as well because they’re not hitting either. Buxton is hitting .138, while Kepler is hitting a woeful .061, or two hits in 33 at bats. Miguel Sano is struggling, too, with only three hits in 32 at bats for an average of .094.
Who really deserves to play in the Twins outfield? Kyle Garlick, Brent Rooker and Keon Broxton. Who saw that coming?
-Kenta Maeda gets the ball Friday against the Atlanta Braves. The Twins are 1-5 against the Braves in exhibition play.
-The Twins’ offense got back on track a little bit Wednesday, but they still lost 7-6 to the Tampa Bay Rays.
-As I just mentioned, the Twins’ Buxton has struggled at the plate, but he did hit a triple in Wednesday’s loss.
-Starting pitcher Michael Pineda didn’t have his best stuff, allowing five runs, all earned, on nine hits over five innings, but he exited with no decision. The loss fell to Tyler Duffey, who served up a two-run home run.
-Who had the three hits in the Twins’ shutout loss to the Bucs? Luis Arraez, Willians Astudillo and Andrew Romine.
-The Oakland A’s clobbered the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, 14-4. The A’s had seven extra-base hits, including four home runs.