March 17, 2021

There it is: Jose Berrios and the first pitching dud of spring training

Twins starting pitchers Jose Berrios, Kenta Maeda, Matt Shoemaker, J.A. Happ and maybe Randy Dobnak or Lewis Thorpe, have pitched extremely well this spring. So well, in fact, that their collective performance has stood in sharp contrast to that produced by the relief corps.

(My apologies to Mr. Michael Pineda who is very much a part of the starting rotation. I knew I was forgetting someone!)

But that all changed Tuesday after Berrios got knocked around by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He allowed four runs on eight hits and exited the game after four innings. The Twins bullpen, meanwhile, was spot on and pitched five scoreless innings.

The Pirates were leading 4-0 when Berrios left the game, but Bucs pitching held the Twins in check. The Twins did little for most of the game until finally scoring two runs in the bottom of the ninth. They had six hits (Josh Donaldson had two of them), including two extra-base hits.

Extra innings…

-Who manages the Pirates? Former Twins bench coach Derek Shelton, in case you’ve forgotten.

-Pirates pitcher Chad Kuhl got the start on Tuesday and then he was followed by Harvard man and ex-Twin, Sean Poppen. Poppen (Porcellian?) struck out three over two innings and allowed just one hit.

-Cleveland Indians pitcher and defending AL Cy Young award winner, Shane Bieber, had a weird outing on Tuesday. Bieber allowed nine runs on seven hits over three innings, but only one run was earned because the Tribe committed five errors, including three by the same player — two fielding errors and one botched throw. Bieber is now 0-2 with a 5.87 ERA. I bet he’s relieved this is happening during exhibition play and not during the season.

-The Twins are 6-8 through Tuesday.

-And then there was this:

-And this…

COMMENTS

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.