Sixty-nine years ago Red Smith, the Dean of all American sportswriters, went to his typewriter (or so I presume) and tapped out the most famous sports lede of all time after the New York Giants’ Bobby Thomson hit a ball into the left field stands at the Polo Grounds off the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Ralph Branca.
Smith’s lede that day included the following line: The art of fiction is dead.
Mr. Smith may have said the same about the 2021 Minnesota Twins.
The Twins lost again to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday, the team’s 13th loss in the last 15 games, forever cementing April as the cruelest month. But it gets worse: After Twins closer, Alex Colome, served up the game-winning home run on Monday, Twins pitching coach, Wes Johnson, and manager Rocco Baldelli, reportedly agreed that the best thing for Colome was for him to make another appearance, but not in a high-leverage situation. So, instead of entering the game on Tuesday in the ninth inning, Colome appeared in the eighth.
It didn’t go as planned because Colome uncorked a wild pitching line of strikeout, hit batter, walk, strikeout, walk and one more walk to force in a run to extend the Tribe’s lead to 6-4 from 5-4. By then, Colome was lifted and replaced by reliever Jorge Alcala, who had to face bases loaded with two outs. He hit the first batter he saw and the lead grew to 7-4.
In the top of the ninth, Twins hitters lined out, popped out and struck out to end the game. Wow.
After the loss, Baldelli addressed the team, according to MLB.com.
“It’s been about as tough a stretch as I’ve ever seen in professional baseball,” Baldelli told MLB.com. “The way we’ve played these games, we’ve had our guts ripped out over and over again, is what I said. And our guys have continued to give everything they have.”
J.A. Happ gets the ball on Wednesday.
-The Twins are now 7-15 with three days left in the month of April. Good riddance.
-Despite Colome’s problems, the loss fell to Kenta Maeda, who had another subpar outing. Maeda allowed five runs (all earned) on eight hits, including three home runs for the second consecutive start. He’s now 1-2 with a 6.56 ERA.
-The Twins scored four runs on eight hits. Byron Buxton, Nelson Cruz and a slowly improving Jake Cave, had six of the eight hits. Buxton hit his team-tying seventh home run and Cruz tripled in the first inning.
-The Twins will make up the two missed games against the Los Angeles Angels because of COVID-19 on May 20, which means next month is going to be brutal. The Twins get two days off in May and that’s it.