The 2019 Bomba Squad season feels like it existed 100 hundred years ago. But for the last couple of days, it certainly feels as though Rocco Baldelli’s 2023 squad is trying to replicate the accomplishments of the first-ever Twins team he managed.
For a number of reasons — a different ball likely chief among them — there will never be another Bomba Squad, but this year’s team is suddenly putting their immense power on display.
After going homerless in wins on Friday and Saturday, the Twins got two jacks from Joey Gallo on Sunday. Monday evening in Miami, Max Kepler started things off with his 14th career leadoff home run and first hit of the young season.
In the second inning, Jose Miranda lead off with a walk and Nick Gordon slashed a single into right field before Gallo parked another one, a majestic, towering blast into the right-field seats. Just like that, the Twins were up 4-0.
The Twins were right back at it in the third inning. Byron Buxton took a one-out walk and scored easily from first base on a Trevor Larnach triple. Miranda knocked in Larnach and it was quickly a 6-0 game after only two-and-a-half innings.
In the meantime, Twins starter Tyler Mahle allowed a scratch infield hit in the first and a groundball single in the second. Mahle put down the Marlins in order in the third, and the Twins put up another two-spot in the top of the next frame.
Christian Vazquez walked, and with one out, Kepler legged out an infield hit before leaving the game with knee soreness. He was replaced by pinch-runner Kyle Farmer, who came around to score along with Vazquez on a Carlos Correa double that made the score 8-0.
The Marlins eventually got on the board on an RBI single from old friend Luis Arraez in the bottom of the fifth inning, but that was all they got in this one. Jorge Alcala threw two scoreless innings, only giving up a couple of hits while striking out three. Cole Sands did typical mop-up duty things, scattering five hits over two innings but not allowing any runs.
The Twins plated another pair of runs on a Larnach bomb in the seventh, and Ryan Jeffers hit a solo shot off of catcher Jacob Stallings after pinch-hitting for Byron Buxton in the ninth inning.
- Twins starters have now given up just two earned runs in 21 1⁄3 innings across the first four games of the season. That’ll play.
- Not to be outdone, Twins relievers not named Jovani Moran or Emilio Pagan have given up exactly zero runs in 11 2⁄3 innings.
- Bomba Squad jokes aside, the Twins hit four total homers on Monday, accounting for seven of their 11 runs. Ten of the Twins’ 11 runs scored on extra-base hits.
- Baldelli used his entire bench. Willi Castro flew out in his first at-bat of the season but he did come up with an outfield assist, throwing out Bryan De La Cruz at third base as he tried for a triple in the seventh inning. Donovan Solano struck out in his lone at-bat, Farmer went 0-for-2, and Jeffers hit the aforementioned garbage-time home run, to borrow a basketball term.
- Max Kepler: 2-for-3, leadoff HR (hope he’s okay)
- Joey Gallo: 1-for-3, HR, 3 RBI
- Trevor Larnach: 2-for-5, 3B, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R
- Carlos Correa: 2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI
- Tyler Mahle: 5 IP, ER, 5 H, BB, 7 K
- None. Twins win! Twins win!