Rocco Baldelli comments on Pablo Lopez's Opening Day performance
By Josh Hill
Opening Day couldn't have gone much better for the Minnesota Twins.
It marks the first time this decade that the Twins won an Opening Day game, and it's only the fourth time since 2010 that the team has started the season 1-0. Pablo Lopez becomes the first pitcher since Brad Radke to win an Opening Day game on the road for Minnesota, and he left Twins fans feeling pretty good about his first start with the team.
Lopez went 5.1 innings and struck out eight while allowing zero runs on just two hits. It was an increidble start to his career in Minnesota, one that came with high expectations given what the team gave up to acquire him back in January.
He was pulled in the sixth inning after facing one batter but was taken out for strategy rather than performance.
After the game, manager Rocco Baldelli spoke to the media and praised Lopez's start, noting that there were only a few small adjustments he needed to make moving forward.
"We didn't bring Pablo Lopez over here and think that we were going to rework everything," Baldelli said after the game. "He does so many things so well, I'd call it small adjustments here and there and one of those things is the slider and how he's using it."
Rocco Baldelli shouts out Christian Vazquez after his Twins debut
Lopez wasn't the only Twins player who made his debut and got some love after the game.
Baldelli called out Christian Vazquez, specifically for his role in the game-saving double play that got the Twins out of a jam in the fifth inning.
"If you talk about Pablo, you have to talk about [Christian Vazquez]. He did a great job back there working around several situation, keeping the guys locked in," Baldelli said. "The play that [Joey Gallo] made, turning the double play and finishing that, we might still be playing right now if they don't make that play."
It was more than just Lopez, Vazquez, and Gallo who stepped up in big ways on Opening Day. The bullpen took a step in the right direction, with Caleb Thielbar, Jorge López, Griffin Jax, and Jhoan Duran combining for 5.2 innings of scoreless work without allowing a single hit.
It's just one game, but the Twins gave fans a lot to feel great about.