Today’s contest was the last of a long 10-game road trip and Minnesota was looking to finish strong, with a 6-4 record. They had the right guy on the mound in Jake Odorizzi, who has been nothing short of dominant all season, but even more so as of late. Over his last seven starts prior to today, Jake was 6-0 with a 0.65 ERA and 16 1/3 scoreless innings.
Odorizzi: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K, 70.7% strikes (70 of 99 pitches)
Bullpen: 3.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K
Home Runs: Cruz (11), Sano (6), Buxton (8), Rosario (19)
Multi-Hit Games: Cruz (3-for-6, HR), Rosario (3-for-6, HR), Cron (2-for-5, 2B), Sano (2-for-5, HR), Adrianza (2-for-3, 2B, BB), Buxton (2-for-5, HR)
WPA of +0.1: Cruz .125, Garver .111
WPA of -0.1: None
(chart via FanGraphs)
Scoring Comes Early
Early run support was one of the FSN broadcast keys to victory and Minnesota did exactly that. Jorge Polanco and Mitch Garver jumped on Detroit pitcher Ryan Carpenter before most fans had time to find their seats. A single from Polanco and a double from Garver scored the Twins first run on only the fourth pitch of the game. The first inning scoring did not stop there.
With Garver standing on second and nobody out, Nelson Cruz stepped into the box and quickly found himself in an 0-2 hole. He battled back to even the count at 2-2 before blasting a high fastball over the left field wall, giving Minnesota a 3-0 lead and marking the fourth consecutive game in which Nelson Cruz has homered.
The fourth inning would also prove to be advantageous for Minnesota. Miguel Sano led off the inning with a solo blast to right center. Adrianza followed with a single, then advanced to third when Buxton singled through a wide-open shifted infield. The table was set for Polanco, with runners on the corners and nobody out. Polanco lifted a sacrifice fly, scoring Adrianza. Mitch Garver walked, moving Buxton into scoring position. Now it was time for Eddie Rosario to join the fun and get his first knock of the series and he did exactly that, singling to center field and scoring Buxton.
The RBI single from Rosario was the end of the line for the Detroit starter. Our old pal Austin Adams was next in line to be abused by the red hot Minnesota offense. With two runners in scoring position and two outs, C.J. Cron doubled off the wall in right field, scoring both runners and giving the Twins a five-run fourth inning. By the time the fourth inning was over, every starter in the Twins lineup had recorded a hit.
The early offensive output should come as no surprise. Minnesota has entered the fifth inning with a lead 42 times and have trailed going into the fifth only 16 times. Another way of saying that is they have entered the fifth inning with a lead in 65% of their games. Minnesota has also crushed left-handed pitching to the tune of .300/.366/.506 and an .872 OPS, which makes them the best in the league when facing left-handed pitching.
Let The Good Times Roll
The Minnesota offense did not cool off after their early onslaught of runs. They added another run in the fifth, thanks to an RBI single from Nelson Cruz. In the sixth inning, Adrianza reached base for the third time, after being hit by a pitch. He would also cross home plate for the third time, following the two-run home run from Buxton - his eighth of the year. Eddie Rosario launched his 19th of the season with a solo blast in the seventh inning.
The home runs from Buxton and Rosario were the 124th and 125th of the season for Minnesota, tying the franchise record for home runs before the All-Star break.
Bold prediction: The 2019 Minnesota Twins will set a new franchise record for team home runs before the All-Star break. You can quote me on that.
Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Not even Stevie Wonder could stop Jake Odorizzi and the Minnesota Twins. The 12 runs scored by the offense would certainly be more than enough run support for the American League ERA leader, Jake Odorizzi.
Jake turned in another quality start and bolstered his case for being the AL starter in the All-Star Game as well as the front-runner for the AL Cy Young. His final line was: 6 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. He lowered his season ERA to 1.91.
Postgame With Baldelli
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Tue vs. SEA, 7:10 pm CT (Perez-Leake)