One pitch was all it took for the Minnesota Twins to get back in the win column Monday night. This 4-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers can be credited to an Eddie Rosario grand slam and another all-star performance from Randy Dobnak on the mound.
JUST GIVE DOBNAK ROOKIE OF THE YEAR ALREADY
You read that right, Randy Dobnak has been the Twins best pitcher this season. While it has been a small sample size, he doesn’t really have competition so far. He has easily been the most consistent and confident starting arm, allowing four hits and a single run, while striking out three over five innings.
We all know Dobnak isn’t a guy who will rack up strikeouts. Currently, he sits in the 14th percentile for both strikeout and whiff rate. Blowing batters away doesn’t matter when you’re minimizing baserunners (0.93 WHIP) and surrendering minimal to no runs.
His improvement, as cited by Rocco Baldelli in his pregame presser, has only increased his confidence and benefitted the Twins. Dobnak now holds a 3-1 record, 0.93 ERA, and an absurd .205 BABIP and 92.3% left on-base percentage.
Randy Dobnak got 17 called strikes tonight, a new season high for any #MNTwins pitcher, and 10 of them came on either the first pitch or an 1-0 count. Here are the locations of all 17 of those pitches: pic.twitter.com/MEXH5LBfa8— Tom Froemming (@TFTwins) August 11, 2020
Randy Dobnak through 4 starts in 2020:— Dustin Morse (@morsecode) August 11, 2020
20 IP / 2 ER – 0.90 ERA*
(*currently has the lowest ERA in baseball among qualified pitchers)
Randy Dobnak through 13 career games (9 starts):
48.1 IP / 7 ER – 1.30 ERA
Randy is rolling! #MNTwins
It is yet to be seen if this streak of consistency will continue through the rest of the year. If it does, expect some hardware for a future star. If he doesn’t win AL Rookie of the Year, expect commissioner Rob Manfred’s office and every voter’s inbox to be flooded with strongly worded letters.
IS THE BOMBA SQUAD BACK?
While Dobnak out-dueled another early season stud in Adrian Houser, this win couldn’t have happened without one important swing of the bat. With one out in the fourth and down a run, Eddie Rosario took the first pitch he saw yard. It was his fourth career grand slam and it gave the twins a three-run cushion.
So, is the beloved Bomba Squad back? Eddie’s home run, to keep the Brewers at bay, was a step in the right direction but the whole team isn’t back quite yet. Strikeouts have remained high for the team as a whole. Tonight was no exception. They whiffed 10 times for the third straight game. Aggressiveness in the box works, but must be done with some level of caution.
BALDELLI HEARD THE BULLPEN PLEAS
As for the bullpen, it seems that Baldelli took to heart the pleas to put in his best arms to secure the win. Or at least fans and writers like to think he did. Count it as a win, regardless.
After sitting on the team’s best relief arms during the four game losing streak (in which each game was winnable), the frustration was palpable among Twins fans. Yet Baldelli utilized those arms effectively in this win. Throwing Trevor May, Tyler Duffey, Sergio Romo, and Taylor Rogers at the Brewers. Although Romo gave up a solo home run in the eighth, the Rosario grand slam provided enough for the pen to work with.
Last Pitched— Seth Stohs (@SethTweets) August 9, 2020
Trevor May: Tuesday
Tyler Duffey: Wednesday
Taylor Rogers: Thursday
Sergio Romo: Thursday
EXPECT A LOT OF BULLPEN TUESDAY
Baldelli and Wes Johnson are yet to announce a starter for Tuesday’s matchup. Kenta Maeda’s start got pushed back a day. Rich Hill and Homer Bailey are still recovering so I expect Baldelli to lean on Lewis Thorpe, Cody Stashak or Devin Smeltzer to start the game. We’ll see.
Whoever takes the mound, will face off against Josh Lindbolm (1-0, 4.15 ERA). The Minnesota Twins are back into the win column, if only for a day, and hoping to build off of it into the remainder of this road trip. We’ll take more grand slams from Eddie Rosario too.
Jack Kewitsch | Minnesota Sports Fan