The Twins looked pretty good on Thursday, so good in fact it’s as if the team capped a long winning streak, or opened up a substantial lead in the division over their closest rival, or clinched a playoff spot.
But let’s not get too excited because Thursday’s 6-0 win over the Boston Red Sox means the Twins managed to earn a split of the four-game series and are now back to .500 at 38-38, still clinging to a one-game lead over Cleveland.
However, there was a lot to like in Thursday’s win, including Byron Buxton’s two, booming home runs. More impressive, though, was starter Joe Ryan, who pitched a complete game shutout, allowing just three hits with no walks and nine strikeouts.
It was the first such pitching performance since Jose Berrios did the same in April 2018, according to an MLB.com story. But here’s an even crazier statistic, according to that same story: “It was the first nine-inning complete game — shutout or otherwise — in the Rocco Baldelli era in Minnesota.”
What? Baldelli has managed the Twins since 2019. That stat is bound to light a fire under Rocco’s critics and some pitchers (see Sonny Gray) who say Rocco has been too quick to lift starting pitchers in favor of relievers.
Nevertheless, he let Ryan go the distance, tossing a pretty efficient 112 pitches.
The Twins are in Detroit for the weekend. Kenta Maeda, apparently off the injured list, gets the ball Friday.
Extra innings …
-I continue to make the case that pitcher Ryan is an All-Star. He is now 8-4 with a 2.98 ERA.
-On June 22, 1984, the Twins’ former longtime owner Calvin Griffith, officially sold the team for $32 million in a pre-game ceremony at the Metrodome before the Twins took on the White Sox. The buyer was Minnesota Banker Carl Pohlad. His family continues to own the team today.
The Minneapolis Star and Tribune captured during the ceremony an emotional Griffith, who frequently wiped tears from his eyes, but also an old man, now prickly with the media.
“During the press conference Griffith warned Pohlad several times about the news media, telling him, ‘Be careful what you read in the paper.'”
“And as the press conference was near its end, Griffith showed his frustration by telling a TV reporter that he would not answer his question because he doesn’t like the reporter.”
The sale of the team was a long time in coming after a reporter captured an openly racist Griffith speak his mind at a Lion’s Club meeting.