The Twins’ 10-2 blowout victory over the Seattle Mariners on Thursday produced a number of storylines, but the one that interested me was the play of shortstop Andrelton Simmons, whose contributions were both obvious and subtle yet equally important.
At the plate, Simmons doubled twice and singled in five at bats. I like his attacking style with the bat and his ability to go to opposite field. In the field, he made two key plays that underscore just how important his defensive skills are likely to mean to the team all season.
Starter Jose Berrios picked off two base runners at first and second, but the play at second wouldn’t have been possible without Simmons’ positioning and quick glove. The runner who retreated to second was initially called safe, but after the call was challenged it was clear the base runner was out.
Later, second baseman Jorge Polanco committed a fielding error that put base runners on first and second. The next ball in play was hit to Polanco again and this time he fielded it cleanly and started the double play with Simmons. But the runner headed to first would not have been called out if not for Simmons’ quick move to second and flashing throw to first base.
Matt Shoemaker gets the ball on Sunday. Michael Pineda is on the bump Saturday.
-Berrios gave the Twins a complete effort. He picked off two base runners, and despite 99 pitches and three walks over five-plus innings, he still struck out eight batters. He’s now 2-0 on the season with an ERA of 1.54.
-The Twins scored 10 runs on 16 hits, including nine for extra bases: six doubles and three home runs. The big blow was Mitch Garver’s three-run home run in the third inning. Byron Buxton and Luis Arraez also homered.
-The Twins now lead the AL Central by a game and a half.
-Can someone please explain White Sox pitcher Lance Lynn’s transformation since leaving the Twins? It continued Thursday after Lynn pitched a complete game five-hitter with 11 strikeouts to shut out the Kansas City Royals 6-0. The first series between the Twins and South Siders is May 11-13.