Dylan Bundy’s stellar start to the season becomes an exercise in saving bullpen arms, and Tampa’s Corey Kluber channels the days when he and Cleveland were making Ron Gardenhire get even grumpier. Inning-by-inning notes:
1: The Twins don’t do anything, which is fine because I am REALLY hungry and wanted to eat before working on these.
The Rays do, though (baseball game things, not eat). Near-perfect 2022 Bundy starts regressing to “there’s a reason he was available cheap” Bundy, with two doubles, a single and a career-first homer by rookie Josh Lowe before one out is recorded. Bundy then allows a walk and he/Gary Sanchez a steal, to Randy Arozarena. Bundy’s first out of the game immediately follows, as Kevin Kiermayer singles and Trevor Larnach throws Arozarena out at home. Bundy strikes out two Rays to avoid any further damage. Maybe the indoors action is activating his inner Brad Radke. Rays 4-0
2: Still nothing from the Twins, and Bundy is not following the Radke protocol, walking leadoff Taylor Walls who steals (I thought nobody stole anymore) and scores on a Yandy Diaz single. Urgh. Tampa Bay 5-0
3: What is this, 2014? Kluber is perfect through three, and Bundy grooves another “first dong of the season” to veteran Mike Zunino. He’s either striking guys out, walking them, or giving up home runs (not quite, but it feels that way). Can a pitcher be an Adam Dunn, “three true outcomes” guy? Devil Fish 6-0
4: Byron Buxton breaks up Kluber’s perfecto (yay) by getting plunked on the wrist (boo; commenter mikecardii notes how “that looks almost identical to how buck got hit on the hand to land him on the IL last year.” Anyways, Bux does score on a Carlos Correa single (yay), while Correa is doubled off first on a Jorge Polanco liner caught with Mr. Superstar caught too far off the bag (boo). Bundy gets three outs the normal, not Adam Dunn-ish way, Tropicana Sugar Water 6-1
5: Gladden mentions how, with Cleveland, Kluber had a workout regimen younger players would “try to follow.” This makes it sound as though Kluber was one of those wiry old guys in their 70s you see biking uphill faster than your car stuck in traffic. Um, Kluber was in his early 30s at the time, not exactly ready for “Akron Shores Memory Care.” And at 36, he’s still giving the Twins hitters fits. Bundy sends down his seventh Ray in a row, and is amazingly only at 80 pitches, when it feels like he should be at 150 by now.
6: Well, if the Twins are gonna tank this game like a watery container you put a stingray in for kids to annoy, at least it’s going fairly fast. Kluber retires the side, and HIS total is now 71 pitches. That’s super pitching or a offense kinda thrown off whack tonight. Bundy pushes his up to 94, and it looks like both are done. Maybe Tampa shares Gladden’s opinion of Kluber’s extreme age-related fragility.
7: You’re forgiven if you’re thrown for a second by the Rays bringing in reliever Javy Guerra, as there was a longtime reliever of that name we haven’t heard from in a while. It’s not the same guy. It’s a young guy with a similar name. Some Twins do some stuff but not much.
Odd defensive moment for Twins reliever Danny Coulombe; with two on and one out, Tampa pulls a double steal. But a subsequent grounder results in Lowe getting thrown out at home by Correa. Odd, I didn’t say it was interesting.
8: OK, we have something worth looking up; Tampa uses the niftily-named reliever Phoenix Sanders, whose first game in MLB was a few weeks ago. He was born in Augsburg, Germany (so, no relation to disheveled politician Bernie). That’s unfortunately about the most interesting thing about him that I can quickly find. He quickly says “nein” to Twins hitters. Veteran Coulombe gets two strikeouts on sub-84 MPH offspeed slop and a lazy fly to allow all the remaining Twins pitchers to relax and think about fishing/golf/sex/food.
9: Thrilled, yet? Apparently, by the time we get to Phoenix, the Rays are coasting. Nick Gordon amusingly manages a double past four outfielders, but nothing more comes of it. A two hour, sixteen minute Florida WIN.
Your funny silly comment exchange came courtesy of sandwiches asking “I wonder what the attendance is tonight at The Trop. 350?” Brandon responded: “It was about then that I realized this stadium was actually about eight stories tall and was a crustacean from the plethazoic era” (even though that’s NOT an actual era, we’ll accept it). Heck, the gamethread died pretty early.
Tomorrow at 3:10 you’ll get to catch Chris Archer against his former team of eight seasons — he’s never pitched against them before. Tampa is starting a pitcher named McClanahan, which is a very appropriate Florida name, for 1980s TV fans.