Minnesota Twins Sunday Wrap-Up: Looking at Baseball’s First Week

Baseball is back Twins fans! We go over the first three days of the MLB season and how they’ll change the season for the Minnesota Twins.

Each Sunday, I’ll go over the week that was for the Minnesota Twins, the AL Central, and the MLB news that matters in Minnesota, and even though we only had three days of baseball, there’s still a lot to go over.

Almost every single team in the American League is 1-1 (The Astros and Mariners are the exception). Some MLB debuts went really well, others were not so good. The Twins went out and bashed the White Sox on Opening Day, only to get trounced the next day. There were so many faces in new places, and it was a great opening weekend. We break it down here.

Minnesota Twins Opening Day: Debuts, Notes, and More.

  • Josh Donaldson, Tyler Clippard, Aaron Whitefield, and Matt Wisler all made their debuts for the Twins over the first two games of the season, with Clippard and Wisler making a good first impression, while Donaldson and Whitefield didn’t really make an impact.
    • Clippard was excellent in his debut inning, allowing just a single walk while striking out one and earning a hold on Friday night.
    • Wisler also put together a shutout inning on Saturday, giving up a hit and a walk, but striking out two and getting out of the jam.
    • Whitefield entered the game in the top of the ninth as a pinch runner on Saturday, making him the 35th Australian-Born Player to play in the majors, but the Twins didn’t do much after he got in, so we didn’t get to see that legendary speed.
    • Donaldson was the big money addition to the team, and he has struggled in his first two games, hitting .143 with two walks over his first two games. It’s not the debut we were hoping for, but it’s just two games.
  • Randy Dobnak looked really sharp in his 2020 debut allowing one run over four innings. He threw 73 pitches, but 51 were for strikes, but 13 of those pitches came in one at bat against Nicky Delmonico. Dobnak is looking to prove he belongs in the rotation, and Saturday was a good start.
  • Willians Astudillo is officially cleared to play and will head to St. Paul to join the alternate group for the Twins. I expect him to move to the taxi squad at some point when he’s ready to go, taking the spot of Tomas Telis.
  • Byron Buxton is expected to be back on Tuesday after traveling to Chicago to be with the team. It’ll be great to have Buxton back roaming center and having Jake Cave back in his perfect role as a fourth center fielder.

 

Around the AL Central: Taking a Look at the Minnesota Twins Rivals

  • Cleveland Indians: Splitting two games with the Royals, the Indians were the first victims of the new start with a runner on second, and the players weren’t happy with it. Their pitching looked excellent, while their bats were quiet.
    • The Indians 1-2 punch of Shane Bieber and Mike Clevinger looked excellent over their first two games. If they pitch at this pace all season, they just might keep the Indians afloat. Here were their stat lines:
      • Bieber: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 14 K
      • Clevinger: 7 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
    • The offense managed just nine hits and four runs over two games, looking like their biggest battle will be scoring. The Royals starters are solid at best, so this isn’t a good start for the Twins’ main competition.
  • Kansas City Royals: The Royals also only earned nine hits in their two games against the Indians, which was disappointing considering their lineup was supposed to be their strength. On the flip side, Danny Duffy and Brady Singer were both solid, and they stole a game from a division heavyweight, so there isn’t much to complain about in KC.
  • Detroit Tigers: C.J. Cron and Jonathan Schoop have both been excellent so far, helping the Tigers split their first two games against the Reds. They won’t be any good this season, but their win was fun because of what it meant for Miguel Cabrera.
    • Cabrera passed Adrian Beltre for 30th on the All-Time home run list with his 478th homer and passed Cal Ripken Jr. for 25th on the RBI list with No. 1695 and 1696. It’ll be fun watching Cabrera continue to climb the record list, as Jim Thome is next on the RBI list (just three away).
  • Chicago White Sox: We’ve watched the White Sox beat up on the Twins and get beaten down by the Twins, so it’s hard to tell, but I can already see two sides of the team starting to take place:
    • That lineup is good. I talked about how good I thought the lineup would be and how I thought the White Sox would finish second in the division, but I didn’t expect them to open up the season with 15 runs. This lineup will make them the toughest team to shake.
    • Their pitching will definitely weigh them down. They only have two high-level starters, and the Minnesota Twins saw both and hit them for a total of nine runs over nine innings (Dallas Keuchel looked solid, it was mostly Giolito). I know it’s a small sample size, but it’s still not ideal.
    • Luis Robert swings at everything, but he’s looked as good as advertised in his first eight at-bats. Robert is hitting .375 with two singles, a double, and a run. Despite him playing for a rival, I think he might end up being a stud.

 

Around the MLB: Looking at important Minnesota Twins-related news around the league.

  • Only seven teams across the MLB have records that are different than the Twins’ 1-1, and only three are undefeated, meaning there won’t be a lot of sweeps. This really is going to be an absolute sprint.
  • Several prospects and overseas players made their debuts this weekend, including Robert and Singer, who the Twins will have to deal with for a long time. Evan White was the only other Top 25 Prospect to debut, and he managed just one hit in his first seven at-bats. He should rebound.
  • Jhoulys Chacin signed a one year deal with the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday, just two days after being cut by the Twins. This wasn’t surprising for the former pitcher, who asked for his release early so he could latch on elsewhere.
  • Other former Minnesota Twins Fernando Abad, Stephen Gonsalves, and Ryan LaMarre found new teams as Abad signed a minor league deal with the Yankees and Stephen Gonsalves was claimed by the Red Sox, a team in desperate need of pitching. LaMarre joined the Cubs on a minor league deal as well.
  • Drew Butera (Rockies), Eduardo Nunez (Mets), and Rene Rivera (Mets) all made the thirty man roster as close calls for former Twins, while Zach Granite (Yankees) and Mike Morin (Brewers) were sent down and Hector Santiago (Tigers) and Anthony Swarzak (Phillies) were cut.