Minnesota Twins: 5 notes from Opening Day
By Nate Palmer
The Minnesota Twins had an exciting 11 inning Opening Day game against the Baltimore Orioles. Here are 5 notes from today’s game.
The Minnesota Twins were part of an exciting game in their season opener against the Baltimore Orioles. The Twins, unfortunately, came out on the wrong side of the game when in the bottom of the 11th Adam Jones turned on a Fernando Rodney pitch and launched it into the seats. We as fans had front seats to a great game and have learned plenty already about this 2018 club. Here are 5 notes from today’s game.
No. 1: Jake Odorizzi was dealing
Jake Odorizzi put together an excellent game today. It is the exact type of performance the Twins are hoping to see out of him throughout the season. Odorizzi pitched 6.0 innings, allowed two hits, two walks, and seven strikeouts. He was clearly able to utilize a high fastball very well as his go to strikeout pitch several times throughout the day. Odorizzi’s performance was one very encouraging sign for the Twins.
No. 2: Joe Mauer sets franchise record
Today marked Joe Mauer’s 14th consecutive Opening Day start, a franchise record. It would have been an even sweeter day if Mauer could have come through with a big hit. He did collect one hit in five at-bats. Mauer also played solid defense at first picking a few throws to help out his fellow infielders. Especially considering some of Mauer’s health issues this is a pretty incredible feat for the veteran first baseman.
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No. 3- Buxton consecutive stolen base streak
Byron Buxton singled with one out in the 5th inning. He wasn’t on first base long as he would steal second for his first stolen base on the 2018 season. It also was his 25th consecutive stolen base. That puts him halfway to the major league record of 50 stolen bases set by Vince Coleman. Buxton went 1-for-3 on the day before being pinch hit for in the 9th inning.
No. 4: Questionable bullpen move
After Odorizzi’s dominant performance, manager Paul Molitor brought in one of his other new pitchers Zach Duke. With right-handed hitters coming up to bat it just seemed like a strange move to bring in the left-handed reliever. Now if Jason Castro had been able to handle the strikeout pitch to start the 7th inning the whole outlook of the game may have been much different. Duke had some bright spots in his performance as he actually struck out four batters in the inning. The question will remain if his manager set him up for failure from the get go. Especially with a pitcher like Trevor Hildenberger sitting and ready in the bullpen.
No. 5: Pinch Hitting Robbie Grossman pays off
In what almost looked like another managing blunder, Robbie Grossman delivered the game tieing hit. It would have been exciting to see Buxton battle through the at-bat and see if he could have pulled off a similar result. As much watching Buxton would have been exciting. With Brad Brach struggling with his control it did make sense to bring in the disciplined Grossman. And it paid off as Grossman blooped a single into the outfield to score two and tie the game.
The Twins now get the day off on Friday. Hopefully, with Kyle Gibson on the mound, they will be able to recover and tie up the series in Baltimore. Their Opening Day was certainly full of excitement, they just, unfortunately, ended up on the wrong side of things in the end.