Handing out Minnesota Twins Grades for the Game of the Year
By Otto Johnson
Minnesota Twins that went Above and Beyond
Max Kepler: 0-3, 2 BB, 1 K, 2 SB, HBP, Game Saving Grab
Despite the fact that Max Kepler went hitless in during the game, it’s easy to see why he earned an A. He got on base three times during the game, walking twice and being hit by a pitch, and added two stolen bases. That’s a very good offensive night, and that’s before talking about the catch.
With runners on second and third with and one out, Orlando Arcia lined a ball to right field that should have scored two runs and put the Twins out of the ball game. Instead, Max Kepler did this:
Impossible to tell why Jedd Gyorko, a veteran, didn’t know what to do here, but Kepler gets all the credit in the world and an outstanding grade for his troubles. Grade: A.
Miguel Sano: 2-3, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
For a bat that needed to wake up, Miguel Sano couldn’t have picked a better way to do it. Two long doubles and an RBI make this a great night, but when you remember that Adrianza scored running for Sano, his highlights seem all the more impressive. Great game for the Minnesota Twins’ first baseman. Grade: A.
Caleb Thielbar: 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R
Caleb Thielbar, a guy who has been out of Major League Baseball since 2015, had to come in with a guy on second and get three outs. Thielbar sent them down one-two-three and kept the tie in a VERY high-leverage situation. That’s an A in my book. Grade: A.
Jorge Alcala: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 R
Now everything I just said applies to Jorge Alcala, but Alcala pitched TWO of those innings and has just 8.2 MLB innings under his belt. He got allowed two base runners, but he didn’t allow a run, and for that he earned his first Major League Win. You cannot ask for more than that from a guy who still hasn’t reached rookie status. Grade: A.
Minnesota Twins A+ Grades
Kenta Maeda: 8 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 12 K, 2 BB
Kenta Maeda is in a class all his own as far as grades go. Maeda took a no-hitter into the ninth inning before a stray Eric Sogard single ended his night. Maeda threw a career high 115 pitches, lasted through a Twins season-high eight inning start, striking out a Twins season-high 12 batters, and set a Twins record for consecutive strikeouts with eight straight.
This was a dominant start from the new No. 1 starter for the Minnesota Twins. You couldn’t possibly ask for anything more than what he gave last night. Grade: A+.