After two very convincing wins over the New York Yankees earlier this month, it appeared this Twins team was on the verge of something special — so special in fact that we would soon forget about how disappointing the past two seasons were.
But since then — other than one easy win over the Boston Red Sox — this team has struggled to score runs and save games. The one constant has been excellent starting pitching, but even that positive note fell flat on Saturday after Pablo Lopez, fresh off a new contract extension, struggled for four innings, rookie pitcher Simeon Woods-Richardson was no better and the Twins were pushed around by the lowly Washington Nationals 10-4.
The Twins have already lost the series to the Nats, so they will try to avoid the sweep on Sunday. Bailey Ober gets the ball, according to MLB.com.
Extra innings …
-Well, you knew this was coming. When Lopez struggles, the only response now is to check how ex-Twin Luis Arraez did. The Miami Marlins swept a doubleheader from the Cleveland Guardians on Saturday. Arraez went 4-for-8 in the two games, with two walks, two RBI and one run scored. He’s hitting .444. Lopez allowed five runs on eight hits over four innings with two walks and six strikeouts.
-Woods-Richardson followed Lopez and also allowed five runs on seven hits over four-plus innings with three walks and five strikeouts.
-The Twins had their share of hits (nine) on Saturday, but could do very little with them because they were 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on base. Carlos Correa had a 3-for-4 day at the plate.
-Reliever Emilio Pagan was terrible in his last appearance, which came Thursday in the Twins’ 11-5 loss to the Red Sox. Starter Kenta Maeda had to exit the game early after he got drilled in the ankle by a line drive, then Pagan came in and lasted all of five outs, giving up six runs on eight hits.
-Second baseman Jorge Polanco, who last played Aug. 27, 2022, finally is back in the lineup. He went 1-for-5 in his return. I understand he is the incumbent second baseman and the job is his, but I am looking forward to seeing more of Quebecois Edouard Julien.
-The Twins are now 11-10 in the AL Central with a one-game lead over the Guardians. The Twins need to avoid being swept by the Nats because guess who comes to town next? The New York Yankees.