Matt Shoemaker was rock-solid in his first start with the Twins, only allowing 1 run on 3 hits with 5 strikeouts in 6.0 innings. He didn’t need to be.
The story of the day was the offensive explosion for the Twins. It started slowly in the first, as Luis Arraez, Jorge Polanco, and some sloppy fielding by the Tigers combined to put the Twins on the board. In the second inning, some more piranha-ball and timely two-out hitting got the Twins another run. And then came the boom(stick).
Nelson Cruz wasted no time in making up for a series on the bench, mashing a grand slam in the 2nd and a second dong in the fifth. Following his slam, the game was never really close, which allowed the Twins to give some starters some innings of rest.
Luis Arraez left the game with an illness, similar to how Buxton left yesterday’s game. This gave La Tortuga some playing time, with which he went 3-4 with two doubles. Mitch Garver and Kyle Garlick also spelled Jorge Polanco and Max Kepler, respectively. Other highlights of the offense: Miguel Sano walked(!) three times(!!!), the offense hit five doubles, and the team scored in five different innings.
Matt Shoemaker and Randy Dobnak combined to pitch the whole game, giving the bullpen a nice day off. They were both rock-solid until the 9th (giving up one solo dinger each), when Dobnak struggled with control in his third inning and gave up a 5-spot (not that it mattered). Former Twins prospect Akil Baddoo got his second career homer on a grand slam off of the mustachioed righty.
Looking at the big picture, it was a very encouraging first game for Matt Shoemaker, who could be a key part of the rotation if he’s able to stay healthy. Furthermore, the offense, even without Donaldson and Buxton, put up a whopping 15 runs, and did it without completely relying on the long ball. The squad can still hit some bombas, but it has been noticeable that this year’s team is more capable of manufacturing runs and working walks than the last couple iterations of the team.
Buxton and Arraez should both be back before long, as Buxton was technically available off the bench today, although Rocco had the luxury of not needing to use him. Tomorrow, Casey Mize and J.A. Happ square off.
- Nelson Cruz: 3-6, 2 HR, 1 2B, 5 RBI
- Max Kepler: 1-2, 2 BB, 2B, 1 RBI
- Willians Astudillo: 3-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI
- Walking: the Twins walked 11 times in total
- Matt Shoemaker: 6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 5 K, 0 BB
- NO DUDS, TWINS WIN
“That’s just the wrong kind of runs.” -Blake Donlon