March 22, 2021

14 hits, 12 runs and 8 extra-base hits: Twins finally get a spring training laugher

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.

Extra innings…

-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…

 

March 18, 2021

Make that 2 Twins pitching duds in a row

Twins pitcher Jose Berrios appears to have started something. After a scintillating start to exhibition play, Berrios finally turned in a stinker on Tuesday and allowed four runs on eight hits for his first loss in Grapefruit League action. Perhaps “stinker” is not the right word because allowing four runs is certainly not the end... Continue Reading »

March 17, 2021

There it is: Jose Berrios and the first pitching dud of spring training

Twins starting pitchers Jose Berrios, Kenta Maeda, Matt Shoemaker, J.A. Happ and maybe Randy Dobnak or Lewis Thorpe, have pitched extremely well this spring. So well, in fact, that their collective performance has stood in sharp contrast to that produced by the relief corps. (My apologies to Mr. Michael Pineda who is very much a... Continue Reading »

March 15, 2021

The real-deal Twins looked good on Sunday. However, about the bullpen…

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli unveiled the real deal on Sunday, using a lineup that we can probably expect to see a lot during the regular season. All the familiar names were there: Max Kepler, Josh Donaldson, Nelson Cruz, Mitch Garver, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sano, Byron Buxton, Andrelton Simmons and Brent Rooker, who played in left... Continue Reading »

March 14, 2021

Twins pitching still stellar, but where’s the hitting?

Five Twins pitchers combined to two-hit the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday, once again demonstrating that the Twins appear to be more than ready on the mound. The only problem? Rays pitching was almost as good, limiting the Twins to just four hits. Twins pitcher Randy Dobnak, aka the Dobber, dazzled on Saturday, striking out... Continue Reading »

March 13, 2021

Despite a losing record, Twins starting pitching remains sharp this spring

The ball isn’t flying into the outfield stands at a rate we’ve come to expect from the Twins, but it certainly is sailing well off the mound based on the low number of earned runs starters have allowed this spring. And it continued Friday after Michael Pineda gave up only one earned run over two-plus... Continue Reading »

March 8, 2021

Twins starting pitching has been sensational. The bullpen? Now that’s a different story

In games that Twins pitchers Jose Berrios, Kenta Maeda, Michael Pineda, Matt Shoemaker, Devin Smeltzer and Lewis Thorpe have started so far this spring — and this is likely to be the starting rotation, give or take Smeltzer, for the regular season — they have allowed a grand total of one earned run. That came... Continue Reading »

March 4, 2021

At least Jose Berrios pitched well

Twins pitcher, Jose Berrios, made his spring debut on Wednesday and looked every bit like the veteran pitcher he has become by striking out three over two innings, and exiting the game with a 1-0 lead. And then everything went quickly downhill from there. The next three Twins pitchers did a fantastic job of impersonating... Continue Reading »

March 3, 2021

Braves blank Twins, Thorpe looks sharp in debut

The Twins fell to 2-1 on the young start to exhibition play after the Atlanta Braves shut out the club 6-0 on Tuesday. It appears that Twins manager, Rocco Baldelli, went with youth on the mound and they didn’t fare so well, allowing 11 hits, including four extra-base hits, over seven innings. Braves pitching, meanwhile,... Continue Reading »

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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.