After a 1-5 start to spring training, the Twins have gone 8-4, including their 2-0 win over the Boston Red Sox on Monday.
Max Kepler and Miguel Sano hit solo home runs and that was enough because Twins pitching limited the Sox to three hits. Twins pitcher Bailey Ober pitched four scoreless innings with three strikeouts and Simeon Woods Richardson, who came to the Twins in the deal that sent Jose Berrios to Toronto, struck out two over two innings to earn the save.
Red Sox pitching was pretty stingy, too. They struck out 12 Twins combined and, despite some pop from Kepler and Sano, the Twins were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
There was a scary moment in the game when Kepler and Nick Gordon collided on a fly ball, and Gordon got the worst of it, lying motionless on the field. But it apparently looked worse than it actually was because Gordon later cleared concussion protocols, according to MLB.com.
The Twins improved to 9-9 in Grapefruit League play.
-In my previous post I mentioned the herky-jerky start the Twins got off to in 1969. They lost four games, then won seven straight in April. But in July, the Twins really poured it on with a 23-7 record, including nine straight, the longest winning streak of the season. One of those winning-streak wins was an 11-1 pummeling of the lowly Seattle Pilots.
Pitcher Jim Perry went the distance and Twins hitters lashed 14 hits in the win. The big boppers were Hall of Famer Tony Oliva and first baseman Rich Reese, who went a combined 6-for-8 with a home run and double.
“It’s great to have a guy like Reese behind Killebrew,” Twins manager Billy Martin told the Minneapolis Tribune after that July 1969 win. “When he’s hot they can’t pitch around Harmon. It’s the same as having Harmon behind Tony Oliva and Oliva behind Rod Carew. Everyone gets good pitches.”
-I think Martin would say the same of the 2022 Twins. With Carlos Correa, Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela in a lineup that already features Buxton, Sano, Kepler, Polanco and Arraez, a lot of those guys are going to see some good pitches.
-The Twins have a final game against the Red Sox on Tuesday, and then the Twins host the Seattle Mariners for opening day on Thursday. Snow is in the forecast so there’s already talk of bumping the home opener to Friday.
Source: Newspapers.com, Baseball-Reference.com