Offense is down. The ball isn’t flying like it was last season. Nobody hits for power in their 40s. These are things somebody forgot to tell Nelson Cruz.
Home Runs: Cruz 2 (8)
Win Probability Chart (via Baseball Savant):
Nelson Cruz hit a pair of solo bombas tonight, giving him eight on the season. This was Nelson’s 23rd game played of 2020, it took him 37 games to hit eight homers last year. Sergio Romo, Mr. Excitement, managed to catch Cruz’s second home run in his cap.
How fun is that? In addition to Cruz, both Jorge Polanco and Eddie Rosario both had two-hit nights.
Cruz blasting baseballs is nothing new, but the Bomba Squad seems to be turning in a web gem every game so far in 2020. Tonight it was Rosario, who once again played a ball off the left field wall perfectly and threw a strike to second base to retire the runner.
This was a bullpen game for the Twins, and they nearly turned in a shutout. Matt Wisler opened the game with two no-hit innings to lower his ERA on the season to 1.50. What a find he’s been so far. Devin Smeltzer was the primary pitcher, delivering 2 2/3 innings of scoreless ball while striking out three batters.
From there, Tyler Clippard recorded four outs before Tyler Duffey and Trevor May each turned in a scoreless frame. Zack Littell gave up a solo homer in the ninth. All told, the Twins combined to give up seven hits and two walks while striking out nine batters.
Speaking of bullpens, what’s going on here?
The new rules regarding video weren’t made crystal clear before the start of this season — there were plenty of other rule changes to catch up on — but Kansas City is clearly trying to cover up the TV that’s playing video.
Here’s what Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci wrote about the new regulations on July 21:
“Every player and staff member will be assigned a personal tablet to use during games. In past years teams shared a few tablets. But the tablets are preloaded with information and video commonly associated with scouting reports and are “locked down” with no connectivity once the game starts. There is no capacity to review at-bats in the course of a game.”
So it’s not clear to me whether the Royals were doing something wrong or not … but they sure looked like they were up to no good.
Bullpen Usage Spreadsheet