A generational snowstorm and a pair of wins against a generational team. It was an interesting week to say the least. The Minnesota Twins opened the week on a mission to avenge an embarrassing series against the Houston Astros last season. The Twins got outscored 40-16 by the Astros over three games last May at Target Field. It was a series that embodied all the flaws of last season’s squad.
Fast-forward 11 months and it was easy to see a lot had changed. For one thing, the Astros are even better. They won the World Series, didn’t lose any significant pieces, and added a guy who looks like an ace in Gerrit Cole. However, it was the improvement of the Twins that stood out.
Newcomer Lance Lynn battled Justin Verlander pitch for pitch in game one. Lynn struck out nine over five innings in what was a nice rebound from his debut in Pittsburgh. In the end, the Astros prevailed showing just how good their pitching staff can be. Verlander threw seven shutout innings, and the bullpen finished out the shutout.
Game two was all about the Twins bullpen. Jake Odorizzi was able to make it through six, but it wasn’t pretty. However, Zach Duke, Ryan Pressly, and Fernando Rodney were impressive. Pressly in particular seems like a new man with great command of all three pitches. His seasons in Minnesota have been extremely inconsistent, but the stuff has never been the issue. Pressly could be a huge a game changer if he has truly put it together.
The series finale was a rollercoaster, but an important trend continued to emerge. Max Kepler is starting to look like the player everyone thought he could be. Kepler hit two home runs Wednesday and he’s walked more than he’s struck out thus far. The big thing with Kepler has always been his inability to hit left-handed pitching. Paul Moilter still seems to be protecting Kepler from lefties, but that may change if he continues to hit.
Thursday was headlined by Joe Mauer’s greatness. Only 257 players have reached the 2,000 hit mark, so it really is an exclusive club. Appreciate Mauer while you still can, because he’s truly one of the great players in franchise history. The game Thursday was a big one for several reasons. It was the first game against an AL Central opponent, and it was likely to be the last game for a while. Jose Berrios ended up delivering a masterpiece in a 4-0 win. Berrios really looks like he could be special.
It’s obviously tough to not play four days in a row, epically in April. Players are trying to get into a rhythm early in the season, and the extended break won’t help with that. However, the Twins play in Puerto Rico and Tampa Bay this week so the likelihood of getting all five games in is extremely high. Keep an eye on Berrios this week. Emotions should run high with him pitching in his native country against the Twins biggest rival. The series with Tampa Bay will be huge. They are one of the worst teams in baseball and the Twins need to cash in.
If you would like to receive an email each time a new Minnesota Twins article is published, fill out ourÂ email notification form.