July 10, 2023

O’s send Twins reeling with 15-2 rout and sweep at Target Field

The 2023 season came to an end on Sunday for the Minnesota Twins.

Not literally, of course, but symbolically after the Twins were swept at home, finally losing in embarrassing fashion, 15-2. This may seem hard to believe, but the Twins actually scored the first run of the game and then watched as the Orioles reeled off 14 unanswered runs until Twins rookie Eddie Julien, the only bright spot in an otherwise terrible game, connected for a home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to give the Twins their second run.

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has ripped this team for a lot less, but on Sunday he appeared to back them 100 percent, according to an MLB.com story.

“I couldn’t believe in our team any more,” Baldelli told MLB.com. “I don’t know any other way to say that. That’s pretty straightforward. We have a lot of not just ability, but character and leadership — and all the things we want as a staff, as a manager, that you have in a roster, we have it.”

Starter Joe Ryan took the loss, despite striking out 10 batters over four-plus innings. Unfortunately, the bullpen had nothing to offer as Jovani Moran served up three runs, Cole Sands was rocked for six more and Jordan Balazovic topped it off with an additional run. Twins pitching allowed 17 hits, including six home runs.

Of course, now the question is: Where do they go from here? In my previous post, I said it was time for the Twins to move on from Joey Gallo and Max Kepler. There also has been a lot of social media chatter about dealing All-Star pitcher Sonny Gray. I agree. I question whether Gallo and Kepler attract anything of value, but Gray, dealt to a contender, likely does.

One reason the Twins could move on from Gray is that they recently signed former Cy Young award winner Dallas Keuchel to a minor league contract where he has so far pitched to a 0.64 ERA at Triple-A St. Paul, according to Baseball-Reference.com.

Also of note: When Keuchel was signed by the Twins, the Star Tribune quoted him praising Baldelli for being a “player’s manager.” We’ve also recently had reports about a players-only meeting following the Braves’ sweep and how players are going to hold themselves accountable through some sort of undisclosed incentive plan. Another way to look at this is that the inmates are running the asylum, and one might ask: When do the adults, in the form of Baldelli and his coaching staff, start holding the players accountable as well?

Extra innings …

-Besides Julien, there was a second bright spot on Sunday: Reliever Jorge Lopez again made a scoreless appearance in the ninth, this time striking out two batters.

-Who got the pitching win on Sunday? Old friend Kyle Gibson, who cruised through the Twins lineup, allowing two runs on three hits over seven innings with a walk and 11 strikeouts. He is now 9-6 with a 4.60 ERA.

-Twins Territory social media was livid on Sunday. A sampling:


Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.