Six games into 2014, and the Minnesota Twins have scored 39 runs. Consistency in producing runs is definitely going to be an issue this summer, but the Twins have blown it out of the water so far. And who do we have to thank for it? Trevor Plouffe, Chris Colabello, Jason Kubel, and Kurt Suzuki. Who saw that coming?
Pitching continues to be an issue. The Twins took a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the fourth, when David Murphy flipped the head of the bat at an outside two-strike pitch and lucked it into right field for a single. Pedro Florimon couldn't turn two one batter later, leading to back-to-back walks and then a bases-clearing double from Jason Kipnis when Jason Bartlett misplayed the bounce off the left field wall.
Oh, yeah. Josh Willingham was taken out of the game after getting plunked by Justin Masterson in the top of the first inning. Oswaldo Arcia was unavailable, so who else can Gardy trot out there? Bartlett misplayed that ball off the wall, and an inning later dove and missed on two separate fly balls; one to his left where it was a difficult play that he needed to dive for if he wanted any chance at making the catch, and one to his right where he should have stayed on his feet to just limit the damage the hit could produce.
It's hard to blame Bartlett too much for either play. He's not an outfielder, regardless of how many fly balls he's shagged in spring training or randomly throughout his career, and judging and tracking fly balls is a huge part of fielding the position. But we can talk more about this later. Let's talk about the Indians getting Colabello'd.
With the game tied at six in the top of the sixth, Colabello stepped in with the bases loaded and one out and turned on a 95 mph Blake Wood fastball, launching it deep into the left-center field gap. At this point there's nothing we can do but enjoy it. He's hitting .391 with five extra-base hits and 11 runs batted in - including four more today. He hasn't walked yet, either, but when you're playing a video game you don't care about those anyway.
The Twins were patient, taking eight walks. They came through with runners in scoring position, going 5-for-17. Casey Fien, Jaren Burton, and Glen Perkins all threw down scoreless frames to shut Cleveland out over the last three innings and secure the 10-7 win.
Today's game was a fun one. It was frustrating to watch Nolasco come undone, watching Bartlett fail miserably in left field, and then watching Anthony Swarzak just give away hits like he was throwing the fight, but that offense was on point today. Brian Dozier was 0-for-2 but walked three times. Joe Mauer was 3-for-4 with a walk. Plouffe was 1-for-3 with a walk and another run driven in. Kubel was 2-for-4 with a walk and a run driven in. It was just ridiculous.
The win lifts Minnesota to 3-3, evening them with Cleveland and Chicago and putting them a game and a half off of the pace currently set by Detroit. Oakland comes to Target Field tomorrow to kick off the home opener, and they'll be a good challenge. We'll see you then!