Jake Odorizzi showed a lot of improvement in his second start back. Shaking off some of that first-outing rust, Odo swapped out his splitter-heavy workload from last week, and substituted a gameplan based mostly around the deceptive similarities of his slider and cutter.
It was an effective switch; the Royals went down on strikes six times in Odorizzi’s four-inning start, an outing cut short by an accelerating pitch count and early fifth-inning homer. But for three innings, Jake was perfect, and demonstrated a bit of that veteran dominance we’ve been waiting to see.
The Royals had to change their pitching plan today — with Jakob Junis derailed by back spasms during his warmup, Kansas City skipper Mike Matheny pivoted into a pure bullpen game. Starter-turned-closer-turned-psuedo-starter-slash-opener Ian Kennedy still began the afternoon with his requisite two frames, before giving way to Gabe Speier.
Speier and and fellow rookie Tyler Zuber each shared an earned run on Nelson Cruz’s towering two-run blast in the third, a 448-foot missile that clattered off the facing of the third deck, right next to the fan mural in left field.
Byron Buxton would plate Miguel Sano on a fourth-inning sac fly, and Cruz would score again on Eddie Rosario’s two-out double in the fifth.
As the page turned to the sixth inning, it was already set-up time. Duffey had cleaned up the fifth inning, and Romo followed, with the end of the game prematurely nigh.
Strangeness aside, a win is a win, and you’re not going to see any Twins players complaining that the Royals didn’t get an extra six outs today. Taylor Rogers’ last inning was the seventh instead of the ninth, and though the Royals brought the tying run up twice, the Twins held on and added one to the win column in a brisk two-and-a-half hours or so.
There will be a short break in between games, and then it’s onto the afternooncap.
SP Jake Odorizzi (4 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K)
SS Jorge Polanco (2-for-3, R)
DH Nelson Cruz (2-for-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR)
NO DUDS! Twins win!
ROBOT ROLL CALL: