Spring training came to an end on Tuesday, the Twins scoring one run on one hit (no, it wasn’t a home run) to finish in a 1-1 tie with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Starter Matt Shoemaker allowed a run over three innings and the bullpen was perfect the rest of the way.
So, what does it all mean for these Minnesota Twins? I know we’re supposed to treat spring training as meaningless, but I think the strength of Twins’ pitching the past month, particularly the work of Kenta Maeda, Randy Dobnak, Jose Berrios and Michael Pineda, bodes well for the regular season. Shoemaker appears to be working his way into form, while J.A. Happ’s ultimate form is still an unknown.
The bullpen got knocked around in early Grapefruit League action, but finally showed improvement. Relievers Derek Law and Brandon Waddell pitched with distinction, although they did not make the opening day roster, according to MLB.com. I guess it’s nice though that the Twins can turn to them in a pinch.
The big question mark is Twins hitting, which didn’t exactly tear the hide off the ball, and Twins fans got another taste of that on Tuesday. The “A” team took a turn through the lineup, and so did the “B” team, and yet the best they could come up with is one hit. Luis Arraez singled and Max Kepler eventually drove him in with a sacrifice fly. Kepler’s line for spring training: 3 hits in 43 at bats, with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI. He hit .070. And there were quite a few players who didn’t hit much higher than Kepler did.
Oh, well, put it behind you, Max. Wins and losses count Thursday when the Twins open the 2021 season at Milwaukee. Maeda gets the ball in Game 1. The Twins play three at Milwaukee, three at Detroit and then return for the home opener against the Seattle Mariners on April 8.
-The Twins finished spring training with a record of 11-15.
-The Twins clearly like what they see in The Dobber because he agreed to a five-year extension worth a guaranteed $9.25 million, according to MLB.com.
-Waiver pickup Kyle Garlick made the opening day roster, beating out rookie, Brent Rooker, who was optioned to the Twins’ alternate training site at Triple-A St. Paul, according to MLB.com. There was some social media angst about Rooker not getting the job, but Garlick did outhit him, hitting .293 with a team-leading five home runs and 13 RBI.
-Sports Illustrated (remember them?) has picked the Chicago White Sox to win the AL Central.
-And then there was this…
A new and promising day is indeed ahead.
Tickets for the first 17 @Twins home games of 2021 go on-sale today at 10 a.m! Can't wait to see our #MNTwins fans back at Target Field.https://t.co/eeFQ2npqGQ pic.twitter.com/ATm4qqTURx
— Matt Hodson (@MattHodsonMN) March 25, 2021
-Random sports observation of the day: The NHL’s Buffalo Sabres have lost 18 straight games. Ugh.
-I wish I could say that me and my son were going to attend the home opener, but it wasn’t to be after limited ticket sales and the pandemic. Maybe our visit will happen later this summer. In the meantime… go Twins!