Ah, baseball. You mysterious fig.
First, a possible no-hitter. A full 4 1⁄3 innings worth, in fact.
Then, a loss of control paralleling a JV high school game that lead to a 9-1 deficit and an apparent blowout.
Finally, there was the tease of a comeback, that included the Twins getting the tying run in the on-deck circle in both the eighth and ninth innings. But it simply was not to be for Rocco Baldelli’s squad.
After a fantastic first start of the season from Jake Odorizzi, he fell apart in Philadelphia last Friday night, lasting just 2⁄3 of an inning. On Wednesday in New York, Odorizzi looked every bit the part of the pitcher the Twins thought they were getting from Tampa Bay prior to last season. If the player they thought they were getting was never going to give up any hits, that is.
Indeed, Odorizzi threw 4 2⁄3 hitless innings, issuing just one walk and only a couple of even remotely hard-hit balls. He had also laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt in the top of the third that led to a run, as Max Kepler ultimately drove in Jonathan Schoop from second base with a bloop single after the Odorizzi bunt.
But in the top of the fifth inning, the Twins had two outs and Byron Buxton at the plate while holding a 1-0 lead. Odorizzi was still pitching a no-no and the bases were clear, but Baldelli sent would-be pinch-hitter Marwin Gonzalez into the on-deck circle as a please-don’t-pitch-around-Buxton deterrent, hoping that the Mets would attack the Twins No. 8 hitter. The idea makes some sense, of course, although pitching around Buxton and putting him on the bases wouldn’t have been the worst thing for the Twins.
Buxton struck out, and Odorizzi came back out and retired one Mets batter before things unraveled. But back to the Gonzalez thing: FSN color commentator and former Home Run Derby champ Justin Morneau surmised that Odorizzi may have been thrown-off by Gonzalez moseying on over to the on-deck circle in his stead. One would assume that Baldelli may have explained his thinking to Odorizzi, perhaps even noting that Gonzalez’ presence was a complete bluff, but that remains unclear.
Besides, would Baldelli really have had the, er, fortitude to remove a guy who had faced one over the minimum through four innings simply to put Gonzalez at the plate with two outs in a one-run game in the fifth?
At any rate, Odorizzi fell apart, giving up a single and three walks with a wild pitch mixed in, which was a blessing in disguise as the Twins nailed a tentative Jeff McNeil wandering off third base.
Newest Twin Andrew Vasquez took the bump and immediately hit a batter and walked two guys before last night’s early-inning-but-high-leverage hero, Trevor Hildenberger,
came to the rescue also walked a guy and gave up a two-run single. Eventually, Hildy got a strikeout and the Mets finished the inning with six runs on two hits. So, yeah, things were going poorly for the Twins.
After the Mets scored three runs off Martin Perez in the seventh, things looked to be about over with a 9-1 deficit. But successive hits from Mitch Garver, Schoop, and Buxton chased Noah Syndegaard from the game. Then, hits from pinch-hitter Jake Cave and Kepler followed by a walk to Jorge Polanco loaded the bases with nobody out in what was suddenly a 9-4 game.
But Willians Astudillo proved to be mortal, and his contact at all costs approach led to his fourth GIDP of the season, plating a run but more importantly using up two of the Twins precious remaining outs.
In the ninth inning, the Twins saw Garver hit his third home run in the past two games and another hit from Schoop before Buxton and pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza made the final two outs of the game.
- The Twins finished the road trip with a 4-3 record. Respectable.
- Twins pitchers served up 10 walks and a hit batter. Yikes.
- Mitch Garver has an OPS of 1.474 and the Twins should offer him to the Mets for Jacob deGrom and/or Syndegaard. Tonight. Before the plane leaves the airport.
Future Met Mitch Garver: 2-for-4, HR, 2 R
Jonathan Schoop: 3-for-4, 1 RBI
Max Kepler: 2-for-4, 1 RBI
Jake Odorizzi (first 4 1⁄3 innings): 4 1⁄3 IP, BB, 3 K, 0 H
Jake Odorizzi (final 1⁄3 inning): 1⁄3 IP, 4 ER, 3 BB, 1 H, 1 WP
Yep, that’s four baserunners and four runs scored.
Andrew Vasquez: 0 IP, 3 ER, 2 BB
And Vasquez is the reason that all of those runners crossed home plate.
Martin Perez: 2 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, 2 BB, 4 K
If Perez pitches better the game is tied and goes to extras. Not saying, just saying.
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That’s all. And guess what? Thursday is another off day, so that gross taste isn’t leaving for nearly 48 hours...