Messages from the team’s marketing department are apparently being lost in translation on their way to the club’s manager. Instead of the Bomba Squad, Rocco Baldelli appears to believe he’s managing the Bunting Squad.
Nelson Cruz hit a massive bases-clearing double in the seventh inning that not only put the Twins on top for good, but also bailed out his team after another questionable bunting decision.
Odorizzi: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 60.4% strikes (55 of 91 pitches)
Bullpen: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K
Home Runs: None
Multi-Hit Games: Cruz (3-for-4, 2B), Arraez (2-for-3, BB), Rosario (2-for-2)
WPA of +0.1: Cruz .491, Arraez .151, Rosario .141, Rogers .115
WPA of -0.1: May -.129, Schoop -.145, Polanco -.236
(chart via FanGraphs)
Nelson Cruz provides a solid presence in the lineup, veteran leadership and will even apparently bail out his manager after making a poor decision. What a guy.
The Twins were provided an excellent scoring chance in the seventh inning, and nearly returned the gift. A double-play ball was botched, resulting in the Twins getting runners at first and second with no outs.
Jonthan Schoop was coming to the plate. The Twins were still trailing by a run. It was still only the seventh inning. Still, Schoop was up there trying to bunt. He missed twice, looking absolutely horrible in the process, and ended up striking out.
Unlike when this happened last time with Jorge Polanco, I cannot imagine Schoop was doing this on his own. This is a guy who came into tonight with 13 homers and a .480 slugging percentage.
Luis Arraez followed with a single to load the bases. The next batter, Polanco, popped out, meaning Cruz was the team’s final hope of capitalizing on Tampa Bay’s big error. Cruz ripped a bases-clearing go-ahead double to center field.
Rocco Baldelli should have gone straight into his office and just submitted All-Star votes for Cruz from that moment to the final out.
Odorizzi Struggles With Command
Over his last three starts now, Odorizzi has given up 11 earned runs on 19 hits and five walks. All that damage was done in 15 1/3 innings, giving Odorizzi a 6.46 ERA and 1.57 WHIP over this recent downturn.
What’s going on? Well, tonight Odorizzi struggled with his command. His strike rate was just a shade over 60% and seemed to constantly be pitching from behind in the count. On the plus side, he did still strike out seven batters and got 12 swinging strikes on his 91 pitches.
Odorizzi left with the game tied 3-3, but the Rays completed their comeback with a Willy Adames go-ahead solo homer in the seventh, their third homer of the evening.
Rosie Exits Early
In the bottom of the third inning, Eddie Rosario pulled up while running the bases. It was later reported that he suffered an ankle injury and was day-to-day.
With both Byron Buxton and Marwin Gonzalez on the IL and Max Kepler nursing a sore elbow, courtesy of a 95 mph fastball, the Twins already had a very unconventional outfield to start this game.
In the fourth inning, the defensive alignment was Luis Arraez in left field, Jake Cave in center and Willians Astudillo in right. Arraez has a grand total of two starts in the outfield while down on the farm the past two seasons.
Kepler would later enter this game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement.
Postgame With Baldelli
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days: