HOU 2, MIN 0: Failure to Launch
Image courtesy of Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsSnapshot (chart via FanGraphs)
You see a lot of weird stuff in baseball, but this outing from Lance Lynn tonight was one of the stranger pitching performances I can remember in a while. He channeled his inner Francisco Liriano, striking out nine batters while only lasting five innings. It took Lynn 105 pitches just to make it that far and only 57 of which were strikes.
Lynn walked four batters, but two of the three hits he gave up never left the infield and probably would’ve been outs more often than not. Eduardo Escobar had trouble picking up a slow roller at shortstop and Miguel Sano charged in to field a ball but failed to pluck it out of his glove.
It’s always difficult to evaluate performances early in the season, especially for guys like Lynn who sign late, but this cold weather is making it even more difficult to draw conclusions.
Lynn clearly did not have great command, he was either having issues gripping the ball or blister problems, but he made pitches when he needed to. You’ll take the five shutout innings any day of the week, but I’d imagine under normal circumstances this would have been an even better outing for Lynn.
Or maybe it was just really hard to hit tonight. The teams combined to record far more strikeouts, 23, than base hits, 13.
The Twins lost this game because they were 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base. In both the eighth and ninth innings, the Twins came close to slugging epic homers that would have changed the game (first Sano, then Byron Buxton), but it wasn’t meant to be. They both had the distance but sailed foul.
Our friend Eddie Rosario had another adventurous night at the ballpark. In the sixth inning, a hard liner was hit right at him. It should have been an RBI single, but Rosie couldn’t keep it in front of him and was charged with a two-base error. Luckily that runner did not score.
In the eighth inning, a long fly ball hit off the wall, but it appear Eddie should have had a play on the ball. I’m not sure if he lost it at the last minute or what, but Rosario whiffed, the ball rolled quite a ways toward the infield and a runner came all the way around to score from first base.
I was accused of being unfairly hard on Rosario earlier in the week, so you all are gonna have to let me know what you thought of that play. He had to go a real long way to get to the ball, but it certainly looked to me like it was catchable. And even if he pulled up and just played it off the wall, that run probably wouldn’t have scored from first.
Anyway, unlike the other night where we could laugh off Rosie’s antics because he made a huge game-changing throw, things got worse from there. The Twins loaded the bases with one out in the eighth inning and on the first pitch of his at-bat, Rosario hit into an inning-ending double play.
Rosario finished the game 0-for-4 with seven men left on base. Joining him in the 0-for-4 club were Sano, Buxton and Logan Morrison, who has started his Twins career 1-for-23. Do you remember how terrible Rondell White’s start was in 2006? Well, he had three hits through his first seven games with the Twins that season.
Postgame With Molitor
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Next Three Games
Tue vs. HOU, 7:10 pm CT
Wed vs. HOU, 12:10 pm CT
Thu vs. CHW, 7:10 pm CT
Last Three Games
SEA 11, MIN 4: That Escalated Quickly
MIN 4, SEA 2: Bombs and Bullpen
MIN 7, PIT 3: Rosario Sparks Comeback, Inspires Some Head-Scratching
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