Solo home runs rarely win games. The Minnesota Twins found that out Friday night, losing a close game to the Royals 3-2 in a rainy Kansas City.
It wasn’t the start they were hoping to have for this 16-game stretch against the Royals and Milwaukee Brewers. Hopefully you didn’t take my prediction from yesterday to the bank… Yet with Donaldson hitting the IL today, plus Luis Arraez (knee soreness) and Nelson Cruz (rest) out, this was arguably the worst lineup the Twins have fielded so far this season. They still kept it close.
SOLO BOMBAS ARE A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD
As mentioned, solo long balls will rarely be enough to win a game. Yet that is what the Twins were faced with as Marwin Gonzalez and Byron Buxton each hit their second home runs of the year. Both were to take or retake the lead.
Both of Buxton’s home runs have been hit in the last two games. Buxton admitted pregame that he is often too hard on himself so bombs in consecutive games should help his confidence.
With minimal help outside of those two, it was clear the Twins were in for a low-scoring affair. Devin Smeltzer kept the Twins in it through 4.1 innings, allowing four hits and two runs. Matt Wisler was then called upon after a brief delay and gave up the go-ahead run.
It could’ve been worse for the Twins too. With two on in the bottom of the fifth, Whit Merrifield hit one deep to left. Initially looking like it would bust the game open for the Royals, Jake Cave made a career-defining catch. Robbing Merrifield of the three-run shot.
Without any additional offensive production, there was nothing the Twins could do to claw back and start a new winning streak. It is the first time this year the team has lost back-to-back games, having lost in walk-off fashion to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.
Rocco Baldelli’s pregame press conference was chock full of injury talk. With the Twins having most of their starting pitchers and some key bats on the injured list in such a short season, there is some growing concerns.
Rich Hill is currently progressing through his throwing program, while Homer Bailey is back in St. Paul and has yet to begin throwing. The Twins are hoping he can start up in the next few days.
Homer Bailey not throwing right now and in St. Paul. Taking some days off. But Rich Hill his progressing through his program. Still taking it day-to-day. #mntwins— Jack Kewitsch – Tier 3 (@JackKewitsch) August 7, 2020
Josh Donaldson has been placed on the 10-day injured list with lingering calf tightness. His placement on the IL is retroactive to August 4th and is with the team, so the Twins could utilize him on this road trip. Yet the team is taking their time to get him up to speed. Something that should be considered when you have a team this deep and currently with a 99.9% chance of making the playoffs.
With regards to Arraez, Baldelli mentioned that he is not overly concerned with his minor knee soreness. Instead wanting to not rush him back and giving him a day or two to recoup.
Donaldson still on ramp-up to coming back. Looks fine, but again, they aren't pushing anything. Baldelli wants to make sure he is 100% #mntwins— Jack Kewitsch – Tier 3 (@JackKewitsch) August 7, 2020
Odds of reaching the postseason, AL— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) August 7, 2020
Twins – 99.9%
Athletics – 99.2%
Yankees – 98.6%
Indians – 97.7%
Astros – 96.6%
Rays – 66.2%
White Sox – 62.9%
Blue Jays – 50.2%
Red Sox – 44.8%
Angels – 24.1%
Orioles – 16.2%
Mariners – 14.9%
Royals – 11.0%
Rangers – 10.4%
Tigers – 7.3%
ODORIZZI’S FIRST START
Saturday’s game will be Jake Odorizzi’s first of the season. Having started the season on the injured list with upper back stiffness, all eyes will be on him. The Twins hope to get their rotation closer to 100%, soon.
Game two will bring Danny Duffy (0-2, 4.11 ERA) at 6:05 pm tomorrow. Have a drink tonight and take a deep breath. There is still baseball to play and the Twins still lead the AL Central. You can’t win them all…unfortunately.
Jack Kewitsch | Minnesota Sports Fan