CLE 2, MIN 1: Odorizzi Strikes Out 11, Wild Parker Surrenders Go-Ahead Run
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY SportsSnapshot (chart via FanGraphs)
Odorizzi: 6.0 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 11 K, 62.0% strikes
Home Runs: None
Multi-Hit Games: None
WPA of 0.1 or higher: Odorizzi .235, Buxton .206, Rogers .111
WPA of -0.1 or lower: Kepler -.237, Parker -.289, Cron -.472
Despite Odorizzi’s excellent effort, the Twins entered the bottom of the ninth trailing 2-1. Byron Buxton lifted what appeared to be a routine flyball out to lead off the inning, but it was misplayed and he ended up at second base.
Max Kepler struck out and Jorge Polanco lined out to center field, allowing Buxton to advance to third base. Nelson Cruz was intentionally walked to bring up Eddie Rosario, creating a left-on-left matchup with Brand Hand on the mound. He worked a walk to load the bases, bringing C.J. Cron to the box.
Cron took a massive hack at the first pitch, a fastball over the heart of the plate, but whiffed. He popped the next pitch up to short right. Game over.
Through the first three innings, Odorizzi was completely overwhelming Cleveland. He had a no-hitter going and six strikeouts already in his ledger.
With two outs in the fourth inning, Odorizzi fell behind 3-0 to Hanley Ramirez, missed his spot and left a ball right over the middle of the plate. Ramirez did exactly what you’d expect a major league hitter to do, depositing the ball 416 feet away in the seats.
Last season, there were plenty of instances where Odorizzi got off to a brilliant start but ended up watching it all fall to pieces as his outing progressed. Not today.
Odorizzi was at 80 pitches through the first five innings, but he went out for the sixth, which also was the start of his third trip through the Cleveland lineup. That’s spelled doom for him in the past, but he got a bunt popout, then struck out both Jose Ramirez and Tyler Naquin to end his outing with an exclamation point.
Odorizzi had 16 swinging strikes on his 92 pitches and was untouchable in the upper third of the zone. Here’s the location of those swings and misses:
Breaking Down the Bullpen
Trevor May took over in the seventh, but he pitched to just two batters. After surrendering a single, Adalberto Mejia was called upon to pitch to a lefty, except Terry Francona countered that move by pinch hitting with a right-handed hitter, Jordan Luplow. All those chess moves ended in Mejia striking out Luplow on three pitches.
That brought up Roberto Perez, who has a .724 OPS against lefties as opposed to a .602 mark against same-sided pitching. Mejia stayed in to face him and ended up getting him on strikes, as well.
Not an entirely impressive string of managing decisions by Baldelli, in my opinion, but there’s certainly no arguing against the results. Even just beyond the numbers, is Mejia really the guy you want pitching in a tie game with the go-ahead run on base when you have a fresh bullpen?
Interesting. Again, it worked perfectly, but … interesting.
It’s only one outing, but Mejia getting off on the right foot is just another of the many great signs we’ve seen these first two games. This bullpen looks a lot better if Mejia can find his footing out there.
Taylor Rogers came on for the eighth and did his Taylor Rogers thing of pitching a scoreless inning. Guy is automatic right now. With only 11 pitches today and an off day coming Monday, it’s entirely possible Rogers could pitch in every game of this first series.
Maybe all these extra days off aren’t so bad.
Blake Parker made his Twins debut in the ninth and had some control issues. He gave up a hard single to Carlos Santana, then allowed him to advance all the way to third thanks to a pair of wild pitches. He eventually scored the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly.
Just a gut punch of a way to give up the game-winning run.
The Framing Factor
And what of the guy behind the plate today, Mitch Garver? He had a very good day, here are all the called strikes and balls:
On the Offense
In the bottom of the fourth, Jorge Polanco hit a one-out triple and new Twins slugging designated hitter Nelson Cruz clobbered … an 86-foot dribbler between the mound and first base. Hey, whatever works. Polanco took off on contact and scored the game-tying run.
That Polanco triple and Buxton’s “double” were the only two hits of the game for the Twins. Cruz was hit in the wrist by Trevor Bauer, who was pitching him up and in all game, but was able to stay in and finish the game.
Postgame With Baldelli
Here’s a quick look at the number of pitches thrown by the bullpen over the past five days:
Next Three Games
Sun vs. CLE, 1:10 pm CT
Tue at KC, 7:15 pm CT
Wed at KC, 12:15 pm CT
MIN 2, CLE 0: Berrios Dominates, Sets Twins Opening Day Record for Ks
More from Twins Daily
Twins Daily 2019 Season Preview: The Minefield
What to Expect From the Twins Newcomers to Start the Season
Beginner's Luck? How Rookie Managers Typically Perform
- h2oface, dbminn, caninatl04 and 1 other like this