Another day and another win for the Minnesota Twins. This time it was a 5-2 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates, with Randy Dobnak on the mound. This latest W extends their winning streak to six, with an overall record of 10-2 (the best in the majors). It is also the first time in Twins history a team has had this record through 12 games.
Even though the game was a pitcher’s wet dream to begin with, it was far from boring. Primarily due to rookie pitcher Randy Dobnak. Who toyed with the team he grew up rooting for and going to games.
Note: If my editor Eric thinks European kickball is boring, I don’t know how he didn’t find this game to be the same. (Eric’s editor’s note: we’re writing about real sports today… idk why Jack has to bring his hobbies into this.)
DOBNAK FOR ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Although Minnesota Twins fans saw Dobnak pitch in nine games in 2019, not including the disastrous Game 2 of the ALDS, he is still considered a rookie. Having not reached the minimum 50 innings pitched to lose his rookie status in 2019.
After a hot start to this year, Dobnak has continued to impress. Especially considering he has been a replacement starter after three of the team’s starters went to the injured list. Throwing six complete innings while allowing only three hits and no runs. Although he only struck out one, that doesn’t matter when you hold opposing teams scoreless!
He now sits with a 2-1 record (although you can’t blame him too much for the loss to the White Sox), eight strikeouts, and a ridiculous 0.87 WHIP and 0.60 ERA. It may be early, but maybe Rookie of the Year is selling him short. Time to rev up the Cy Young hype campaign!
When your pitching staff doesn’t render a single run until the bottom of the ninth, it takes a lot of pressure off of the offense. Which was perfect for tonight as the Minnesota Twins offense generated only a single run on four hits through the first eight innings. It wasn’t until the ninth that the offense started rolling with four runs capitalized by a Max Kepler three-run Bomba.
While that may be concerning to some fans, manager Rocco Baldelli isn’t too concerned. Speaking to the lack of firepower, as of late, in his pregame press conference. Baldelli mentioned that this team is more well-rounded than 2019 and that while the Bomba Squad was a team effort, they haven’t thought too much about it. As long as the team is winning games, Baldelli is happy. The same should be said of fans.
DON’T TREAD ON THE OFFENSE
As for the offense, fans shouldn’t worry too much…yet. Yes, it isn’t what they have come to know and love. But with the best record in the majors and a pitching staff that is putting the offense in position to win games may just be the M.O. for this year’s club.
Yet it still should be in the minds of everyone. With Sano having seen minimal playing time, Arraez seeing his batting average dip, and Donaldson not living up to the fan’s $92 million hype, there are some fair criticisms.
But when looking at Arraez’s advanced metrics, he still has a top-10 strikeout rate and is making better contact this year. The issue is that his launch angle is more than four degrees higher and he is getting under more balls. Leading to more fly outs and teams shifting their defense towards his tendencies.
Luis Arraez vs. Trevor Williams— MLB Big Boomers & Boinks (@mlb_big_boomers) August 6, 2020
Pitch type: 85 mph Changeup
Result: Double ↖️ (72 mph 🐢, 26°)
Single | Double | Triple | Home Run
17.7% | 76.0% | 0.3% | 0.0%
0.940 xBA – 1.706 xSLG – 1.112 xWOBA
As for Donaldson, Baldelli says he has loved his at-bats and Donaldson has felt good about his plate appearances. He mostly contributed the slow start, as seen elsewhere in the league, to the quick ramp-up and just getting under the ball. Both easy tweaks.
While injuries have come early and often for the Minnesota Twins, nothing has seemed to be too serious. Baldelli spoke on this matter as well pregame. Highlighting that Jake Odorizzi, Rich Hill, and Josh Donaldson all made the trip to Pittsburgh. They wouldn’t have done so if their injuries were serious.
Baldelli anticipates Odorizzi to start in the upcoming series against the Kansas City Royals, but also won’t put a timeline to return on anyone. Pitching coach, and pitching guru/god, Wes Johnson stated Hill should begin throwing bullpen sessions in the coming days.
Baldelli says Odorizzi, Hill, Donaldson all with team. Expects Odo to pitch in KC, but won’t set timeline for any of them. Not super worried, otherwise wouldn’t have them on trip. #mntwins— Jack Kewitsch – Tier 3 (@JackKewitsch) August 5, 2020
Wes Johnson says Odorizzi will pitch a bullpen session today. Rich Hill not expected to pitch today, but likely in the next day or two. #mntwins— Jack Kewitsch – Tier 3 (@JackKewitsch) August 5, 2020
TIME TO SWEEP THE BUCCOS, AGAIN
Tomorrow’s 12:35 pm game gives the Twins a chance to sweep the Pirates in back-to-back series. With Kenta Maeda (2-0, 1.64 ERA) scheduled to face-off against JT Brubaker (0-0, 0.00 ERA), the Twins should get the job done before heading into a stretch of 16 games solely against the Royals and Milwaukee Brewers.
Jack Kewitsch | Minnesota Sports Fan