Prior to Sunday’s game, I had wondered: Where is that spring training game where the bats come alive and the hits come easy and it produces the lopsided win or horse race we come to expect during exhibition play?
The Twins have been on the receiving end of one of those games — the 9-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox comes to mind — but haven’t produced one themselves. But that all changed Sunday after the Twins poured it on for a 12-7 win over the Baltimore Orioles. The Twins scored the 12 runs on 14 hits, including eight extra-base hits, six of them home runs.
It’s a welcome change of pace after the Twins combined for only four runs on nine hits in their two previous games.
After back-to-back misfires from Jose Berrios and Matt Shoemaker, Twins starting pitching got back on track with a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday. Kenta Maeda, who has had a chart-topping spring so far, struck out six over five-plus innings, and allowed only one earned run. The bullpen was sharp the rest of the way, including Brandon Waddell, who may have a little “Rube” in him after all. He struck out five of the seven batters he faced.
Randy Dobnak also pitched well on Friday, although the Twins lost to the Atlanta Braves, 4-2. The Dobber struck out five over three-plus innings and allowed a run, but it was unearned. The bullpen wasn’t nearly as good Friday, issuing eight walks and allowing three more runs in the loss.
-Jose Berrios gets the ball on Monday versus the Atlanta Braves.
-The Twins are 8-10 through Sunday.
-Among the home run hitters on Sunday: Oregon State University product, Trevor Larnach, who hit his first homer of the spring.
-J.A. Happ got the win on Sunday, but only because he benefited from the Twins’ offensive explosion. Otherwise, he wasn’t very good, serving up five runs (four earned) on six hits over three innings. I’m suddenly having serious doubts about Happ’s ability to make a worthwhile contribution this season.
-You know who’s struggling? Max Kepler, who went hitless again on Sunday with two strikeouts. He’s now hitting .074.
-And then there was this…
#MNTwins have a healthy dilemma in their outfield. Both Rooker & Garlick are hammering the baseball. Kiriloff is struggling this spring but appears to be the future replacement for Eddie. Then there is Larnach along with Cave, all vying for LF and reserve OF duty. I smell a trade
— Doug Munson (@TwinsWild16) March 21, 2021