The Twins showed their loss on Saturday was an anomaly by getting back to being the best team in baseball on Sunday. Nelson Cruz, Kenta Maeda and The Bomba Squad won a laugher over the White Sox 14-2 in Chicago, taking the series and heading back to Minnesota happy. Minnesota now leads the AL Central with a 2-1 record.
It was less than 24 hours ago that many in Twins fandom, including myself to an extent, were freaking out. After a dominating offensive performance on Opening Day, the lineup went cold and the bullpen imploded in the second game of the series. It all resulted in losing 10-3 in a frustrating outing.
But it looks like it was just an off day for the otherwise fearsome lineup. With everyone seemingly contributing to the blowout.
SCARIEST OFFENSE IN BASEBALL
No one wants to face this offense, but they’re going to have to. Thankfully that isn’t something Twins fans have to worry about. The Bomba Squad put together another 10-run performance…and now have two in the first three games of the season.
But it wasn’t just the stars that showed up and it didn’t take long. With White Sox starter Reynaldo Lopez laboring, Jake Cave took him deep for a grand slam, making 4-0 in the first.
It was a horrific start for Lopez, much to the chagrin of the Twins, who threw 38 pitches and didn’t even make it out of the first inning. You have to feel bad for Lopez though. Although it is always great to rough up a starting pitcher, it sucks when they have to leave the game due to injury. Lopez left early due to shoulder tightness. Likely a result of the quick ramp-up to the season. But the Twins will take it if it means going into the win column.
CRUZ-ING TO VICTORY
Yet the Twins were far from done. They added five more runs in the second thanks to a three-run Nelson Cruz double, a one-run double from Eddie Rosario, and a run-scoring single from Luis Arraez. This lineup can rack them up in a hurry and made it 9-0 before Sox fans knew what hit them.
Cruz was easily the player of the game, too. He started the game 3-for-3 with two doubles and his second Bomba of the year, all before the fifth inning. But he wasn’t even done. Instead of being content with a home run and two doubles, he hit ANOTHER BOMBA in the eighth. This time it was a three run Bomba. He went 4-for-5 with the hits above and a ridiculous seven RBI and four runs.
At 40-years old, you would think was a player past his prime. But his start to 2020 has shown he may still be in it. Whatever the case, this is Nelson’s world and we should be thankful to live in it.
Nelson Cruz with a strong start to the season— Run Pure Sports (@RunPureSports) July 26, 2020
MAEDA IS AN ACE
For his first start with the Twins, Kenta Maeda was everything the Twins were anticipating from the former Dodgers arm. Through the first four innings, Maeda allowed only two hits, no walks, and struck out six. Maeda was showcasing an arsenal of pitches highlighted by a shifty slider.
Although he he gave up a two-run home run to Luis Robert to start the fifth, he settled back down to finish the inning. Even though Maeda labored slightly through the fifth, he proved he can be a viable long-term option in the rotation. Having ten runs of support helps too.
Even though his slider isn’t considered elite by Baseball Savant, who cares when you are rolling through a lineup supposedly as stacked as the White Sox? At least according to their fanbase.
ODORIZZI AND ASTUDILLO UPDATE
Back in the Twin Cities, the Twins and fans alike received positive news on pitcher Jake Odorizzi and catcher Willians Astudillo. Odorizzi, who began the year on the 10-day injured list with upper back stiffness, started throwing at Target Field Sunday. He is even slated to face live batters in practice early this week. Odorizzi won’t be eligible to start until July 30th against the Indians.
But it is a much better sign that his setback doesn’t appear to be anything major. He showed as much by playing long toss with Twins legend and radio announcer Dan Gladden.
Jake Odorizzi (sore back) is progressing. He’ll face live hitters early this week, according to Rocco Baldelli. Eligible to come off IL on 7/30. If he went Mon or Tues and all goes well in his session, wouldn’t rule out sometime next weekend vs. Cleveland. #MNTwins— danhayesmlb (@DanHayesMLB) July 26, 2020
As for Astudillo, he has been cleared to rejoin the team after testing positive for COVID-19 prior to his admittance to Summer Camp. Although he likely won’t get much playing time in 2020, he is still an important depth player. Not only is he the third option at catcher behind Mitch Garver and Alex Avila, but he also can play any position on the field. That is something manager Rocco Baldelli values highly in his bench players.
HOME OPENER TUESDAY
The Twins have an off day on Monday before coming back to Minnesota for their Home Opener against the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday at 7:10 pm. Homer Bailey will start his first game in a Twins uniform. He faces Carlos Martinez in the first game of the two game series.
The Twins will also miss the Cardinal’s promising ace in Jack Flaherty. Meaning you may want to expect a lot of runs and Bombas this week!
Jack Kewitsch | Minnesota Sports Fan