Twins’ Pitching Holds Up, Bats Fall Short on Opening Day

Photo: @Twins – Twitter

The Minnesota Twins’ lineup, with Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa and Jorge Polanco, enter the 2022 season with one of the best 1-2-3 punches in all of Major League Baseball. Their pitching staff, on the other hand, has way more questions than it does answers.

But if for only one game, it was the pitching staff — led by rookie starter Joe Ryan and scoreless appearances from unknown relievers, Jhoan Duran, Jorge Alcala and Danny Coulombe — who kept the Twins within striking distance of the Seattle Mariners on Opening Day.

Offense Lacking, Pitching Not

Unfortunately, the highly touted offense, especially Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa, failed to drive in runs when given opportunities. Both superstars went 0-for-2 with runners in scoring position. A solo homerun from newcomer, Gio Urshela, was the only run the Twins got on the scoreboard. Correa did have one of four Minnesota hits and his glove can’t be left out of this equation. He saved a run or two with his play at shortstop.

Joe Ryan is the first Opening Day starter the Twins have trotted onto the mound since 1969. He certainly wasn’t perfect, surrendering a 2-run HR to Mitch Haniger in the first inning and struggling to locate his fastball all day, but Joe Cool battled and certainly held up his end of the bargain (4 IP 2 R, 2 H, 4 BB, 4 K), especially given the circumstances.

Gary Sanchez: Almost a Hero

Down 2-1, the Minnesota Twins gave one more heart-stopping run at a victory in the bottom of the 9th inning. Luis Arraez manufactured a pinch hit single to leadoff the inning but it was followed by two-straight strikeouts. Then with two outs, Gary Sanchez connected with 2-2 pitch from Seattle closer Drew Steckenrider.

Sanchez thought he had walked off the Mariners in his first game as a Twin. Dick Bremer was convinced of the same fate. They were both wrong. Jesse Winker caught it at the left field fence and the game was over. Seattle wins 2-1.

Now, the 0-1 Minnesota Twins will look to get back to .500 tomorrow with Sonny Gray on the hill.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan