Despite best efforts from field correspondent Matt Monitto to provide good mojo, the Twins just couldn’t muster any good hitting today, and dropped another game to the Boston Red Sox on the back of another lackluster offensive performance.
And, yes, the offense has been as bad as it feels — although all teams will have cold streaks throughout the course of a 162-game season, it’s frustrating to watch that cold streak BEGIN the campaign.
#MNTwins fewest hits through nine games:— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) April 17, 2022
51 — 2022
58 — 1981
59 — 1976
59 — 2016
Twins have an AL-worst .182 batting average on the season.
Let’s move to the positives. Bailey Ober tied his personal best with 6 IP today, giving up two runs — both unearned — and only allowing four hits and a walk. It was thanks to Ober’s outing that Minnesota was in the game as long as they were; the two runs on his linescore weren’t added until the home sixth.
Until that point, it had been a zeroes-trading kind of ballgame. Boston starter Michael Wacha one-hit the Twins through his five innings of work, striking out five and keeping things even as Ober kept recording outs for Minnesota.
Then, the sixth inning rolled around; a pair of sacrifice flies netted a run each for the City Connect-clad Sox, but it was a costly Miguel Sano error that got the line moving in the first place. A ball lined squarely to the first base side tipped off Sano’s glove to lead off the inning, setting up the Xander Bogaerts double that would lead into the pair of RBI flyouts. 2-0 Boston.
It appeared momentarily that Minnesota had received a wake-up call. Facing relievers Matt Strahm and Ryan Brasier, the Twins started stringing together a few good at-bats. After Jorge Polanco nearly beat out a bunt single, Kepler cracked a non-bunt single to get aboard, and Gio Urshela singled him to third.
After a run-scoring sac fly of their own — this one off Trevor Larnach’s bat — the Twins would wind up loading the bases with two outs and Kyle Garlick in the box.
In their best opportunity of the day, Garlick would go down swinging on a 1-2 pitch, stranding all three runners, and keeping the lead intact for the home side.
It was still close — all the way up until the bottom of the eighth, when everything came apart. Caleb Thielbar entered out of Rocco’s Magical Arm Barn and served up 1B, 1B, 1B, 2B — two runs were credited to Boston, and no movement for a new magical arm out of the magical barn until Thielbar was able to induce a one-out pop fly.
His replacement, Cody Stashak — just added today as a corresponding move for Sonny Gray’s 10-day IL placement — went 1B, 1B, 1B, and yet another run-scoring sac fly, which felt like an afterthought, as the game was already 8-1, the Sox having put up a solid six-spot in their half of the eighth.
With shades of “that one inning” from the Dodger series still fresh in their minds, the Twins did little to argue the 7-run lead, and went down in order in their half of the ninth.
So, just like last weekend, the Twins will need to win the wrap-around game in order to salvage a series split with a tough out-of-division opponent. It’s the morning game that’s been sweeping the nation; so, set your clocks nice and early if you’d like to be part of the action. Hope to see you then!
SP Bailey Ober (6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 ER, BB, 3 K)
3B Gio Urshela (2-for-4)
Saying “the offense” is cheating
RP Caleb Thielbar (0.1 IP, 4 H, 4 ER)
RP Cody Stashak (0.2 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, K)
ROBOT ROLL CALL:
Uncle Lincoln reminds us of one of baseball’s oldest adages.