April 2, 2021

Spring training really is meaningless after Kepler, Buxton shine at plate in loss

Twins outfielder, Max Kepler, singled, doubled and tripled in Game 1 of the regular season on Thursday, reminding Twins fans everywhere (OK, me) that spring training results are pretty much meaningless. Kepler hit all of .070 during spring training, but it sure didn’t seem to matter on Thursday. Also bucking the trend was, Byron Buxton, who hit a towering home run, and then there was Kenta Maeda…

Starting pitcher Maeda was absolutely stellar during spring training, but wouldn’t you know it? He actually labored on Thursday, tossing 88 pitches over four-plus innings. He allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Unfortunately, one of those walks forced in a run.

The Twins were leading the Milwaukee Brewers 5-2 when the wheels came off late in the game. And despite Kepler’s good showing at the plate, he misplayed what appeared to be a sure out (it was scored a hit, not an error), which contributed to a three-run rally that tied the game and forced extra-innings.

Brewers flamethrower, Josh Hader, struck out the side in the 10th to earn the win for Milwaukee. Twins relievers Alex Colome and Randy Dobnak were tagged with the blown save and loss; however, the four runs they allowed were unearned. The Brewers finally won in walk-off fashion, 6-5.

Jose Berrios gets the ball on Saturday.

Extra innings…

-Here’s the irony of ironies: Flawless fielder, Andrelton Simmons, committed an error in Game 1 of the season.

-Josh Donaldson doubled in his first at bat then pulled up lame at second base with an apparent injury. Let’s hope it’s not too serious.

-The Twins scored five runs on 10 hits. In addition to Kepler and Buxton, Luis Arraez had a pair of hits and Simmons had two as well. The Twins also struck out 17 times as a team and left 13 men on base. They were 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

-Brewers closer Hader is scary good. Twins hitters looked completely overmatched as Hader slung it in there at 100 miles per hour.


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.