Winners and Losers from the Minnesota Twins Exhibition Game
The Minnesota Twins played their first non-Spring Training game since October, and we got a look at several new faces and some old ones.
There’s a lot to take away from our first live Minnesota Twins action against another team in months. Though the team didn’t end up winning in the end, we learned a lot about the new team members, what some strengths were, and more.
There were some good performances and bad ones, so we’ll take a look at the biggest winners and losers of the thirteen hitters that got an at-bat and six pitchers that saw the mound. With so much to look at, let’s jump right in.
Minnesota Twins Winner No. 1: Miguel Sano’s Defense
When Josh Donaldson was signed to take over the hot corner, Miguel Sano was moved over to first to keep him in the lineup. There were immediately questions about how well that would go. Sano was a solid defender at third (for his size), but that had a lot to do with his arm. How would he fare on the other side of the diamond?
Well, if Wednesday night was any indication, Sano will be one of the top defensive first basemen in the game. He was that good:
If you were able to watch the game, you could clearly see how comfortable he was and how well he played. The Twins defense looks like it will take a huge step forward with Donaldson at third and Sano at first. It’s a very good thing.
Minnesota Twins Loser No. 1: Homer Bailey
Homer Bailey was signed to become the Twins’ fifth starter while Michael Pineda is serving his suspension. The only problem? In his first action against someone other than his teammates, Bailey didn’t look good. Here was his exhibition stat line:
- 3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
That’s not a good stat line. You can’t really expect to win when your starting pitcher gives up four runs in just three innings. The main culprit for these tough numbers was homers; Bailey gave up three in the first three innings, and fans weren’t happy:
Now Wrigley field is a hitter-friendly park and Bailey did manage about a strikeout per inning, which is good. That said, make no mistake about it Bailey looked bad tonight, and for a pitcher with Devin Smeltzer and Randy Dobnak on his heels, he couldn’t really afford a bad night.
Minnesota Twins Winner No. 2: The Bullpen Other Guys
The Minnesota Twins bullpen is supposed to be one of the team’s biggest strengths, led by stud relievers like Trevor May, Taylor Rogers, Tyler Duffey, and Sergio Romo. Wednesday night showed something other than the top bullpen guys: the depth.
We know the Twins had a lot of good bullpen guys, but we finally saw the other guys in action. After Bailey’s rough start, Tyler Clippard, Matt Wisler, Zack Littell, Caleb Thielbar, and Jorge Alcala were excellent in relief, allowing just one hit and no runs.
Now I only expect Clippard and Littell to make the initial thirty-man roster, but knowing the Twins have lots of different options in the short season will be a huge boost over the fast paced season. The bullpen is shaping up excellently.
Minnesota Twins Loser No. 2: The Bomba Squad Lineup
What a tough night for the team’s greatest strength. The Twins lost because the lineup simply couldn’t score in the big moments, going an AWFUL 0-9 with runners in scoring position. That shouldn’t happen with a lineup this good.
On top of that, Mitch Garver, Alex Avila, Nelson Cruz, Jorge Polanco, Miguel Sano, Jake Cave, Marwin Gonzalez, and Max Kepler all went hitless in a combined 23 at-bats. There are some big names there, and to have all of them go hitless isn’t good.
To make matters worse, the team only scored twice in the fifth due to two errors from Wilson Contreras and a wild pitch from Dillon Maples. I don’t expect this to be a continuing trend, but if it does, this season could get bad fast.
Overall, it was just nice to have baseball against other teams be back. We can’t put too much stock into just one exhibition game, but it was still nice to take a real look at what the team will look like in 2020. Now just two days until Opening Day!