It’s official. The Minnesota Twins, the home-run-record-shattering Bomba Squad from 2019, is no longer with us. The Twins’ anemic offense during the shortened 2020 season was apparently not an aberration. No Jonathan Schoop. No CJ Cron. No offense.
Okay. That’s admittedly dramatic, but still. The Twins have scored five runs over the past three games/23 innings of baseball. The pitching had been solid, until I apparently jinxed Jose Berrios and Tyler Duffey with typing that assessment on the internet for the world to see earlier this afternoon.
Berrios was fine, actually, pitching a shutout through four innings. The Twins struck first, scoring a single run in the first inning following back-to-back singles from Josh Donaldson (he’s back!) and Nelson Cruz and a sacrifice fly from Kyle Garlick. Bonus/scary stuff: Donaldson immediately tested his legs by going first-to-third on Cruz’s single and scoring from third on the sac fly. He apparently was no worse for the wear, so, good job, Josh!
But the anemic offense returned, notching just one hit over the next couple of innings and squandering a Jorge Polanco leadoff double in the fourth as Luis Arraez, Miguel Sano, and Max Kepler went down in order.
In the top of the fifth, the Red Sox took advantage of the Twins’ inability to add to their slim, one-run lead.
Boston started their half of the inning with a double and a walk. After Old Friend Marwin Gonzalez struck out, Bobby Dalbec reached on an infield single, and Berrios walked Franchy Cordero to force in a run. That was the end of his afternoon/early evening as Rocco Baldelli turned to Tyler Duffey.
After Cody Stashak stranded an inherited runner in scoring position in Game 1 with a pair of strikeouts, Duffey looked to be well on his way to doing the same, getting Kiké Hernandez to strikeout. But after a single, a wild pitch, and two walks, the bases were re-loaded. Baldelli brought in Caleb Thielbar to face Rafael Devers in what was still a 4-1 game. But Devers lined a single into right field and the Twins were suddenly in a 6-1 hole.
Minnesota didn’t get a hit over the final three innings, with their only baserunners coming on a pair of seventh-inning walks (reminder: this was a seven-inning game). At that point, the deficit had grown to 7-1 after Alex Verdugo knocked a solo homer off of Thielbar in the top of the seventh.
And just like that, your Minnesota Twins have lost five games in a row and are 5-7.
- This is the first of the Twins’ seven losses with a final deficit of more than two runs.
- Analyzing on Bally Sports North, Justin Morneau began to make some excuses for his boys in blue late in Game 2, noting that there hasn’t been any on-field batting practice during this odd stretch of almost exclusively day games. This is true, but the Twins aren’t the only ones. (Unless I’m wrong, and the Twins having played 11 of 12 games with early first pitches is a complete anomaly, and then I’ll accept the excuse and note that it’s unfair. Come on, MLB.)
- Hopefully Morneau and the current Twins can get over their fear of day games. They play again at 12:10 p.m. on Thursday — an even earlier game time!
- Donaldson was 1-for-2 with a walk, a first-to-third scamper, a run on a sac fly, and appeared to be moving well defensively. Great to see.
- Byron Buxton rested for Game 1 and was expected to play Game 2, but apparently the Twins kept him out as a a precaution due to a sore hamstring. Fingers crossed, per usual.
- Josh Donaldson: 1-for-2, BB, R
- Jorge Polanco: 2-for-3, 2B
- First Four Innings Jose Berrios: 4 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, BB, 4 K
- Max Kepler: 0-for-3, 2 K
- Tyler Duffey: 1⁄3 IP, 2 ER, H, 2 BB, K
- Fifth Inning Jose Berrios: 1⁄3 IP, 4 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, K