The five-game losing streak is over after Twins pitcher Kenta Maeda made his best start of the season, scattering two hits over six innings with 10 strikeouts in a 6-2 win over the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
He pitched so well that it brought back memories of 2020, and even spring training, and the realization that if he had pitched like this for most of the season, the Twins probably wouldn’t be in their current hole at the bottom of the division.
Not only did he give the Twins six shutout innings, the Twins backed him with six runs on nine hits, including five extra-base hits, and three of those were home runs from Jorge Polanco, Alex Kirilloff and Max Kepler, which was great to see. In fact, Max was served a little chin music, which had him jumping out of the way, and then he hit the next pitch into the right field stands.
Bailey Ober gets the ball Monday, the first game of a seven-game home stand against the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers. Want to turn the season around before the all-star break? Win all seven games, Minnesota.
-Former Twins pitcher Jim Kaat on Kenta Maeda during Sunday’s TV broadcast:
“See, I just throw the pitch count out the window here. When you see a guy (Maeda) dealing like this, it’s like taking Blake Snell out of the World Series and poor Kevin Cash, he’s at the mercy of the analytics department, but when you got stuff going for you like that, get on the horse and ride it to the finish line.”
-There was also an interesting exchange between TV play-by-play man Dick Bremer and Kaat about a game Kitty pitched in early 1961. Bremer recalled that the game was played at the Met, but a check of Baseball-Reference.com shows that it was played on the road in Kansas City before only 6,500 fans.
It was April 24, 1961, and Kaat got the ball for the Twins while Don Larsen got the nod for the Kansas City Athletics. Kaat exited after five innings with the no-decision start, while reliever Paul Giel, who would later be named the athletic director at the University of Minnesota, was tagged with the blown save. The Twins, though, eventually prevailed 10-6 in extra innings. Both Kaat and Larsen had control problems that day. Kaat walked five in five innings and Larsen walked six batters in five-plus innings.