MIL 5, MIN 4: Jake Cave Homers in MLB Debut
Image courtesy of © Brad Rempel-USA TODAY SportsSnapshot (chart via FanGraphs)
The Twins acquired Cave this offseason from the Yankees, where he figured to have very little opportunity to break in at the major league level. Well, taking a look at the Twins’ depth chart and considering the fact he’s a lefty, it didn’t appear there was going to be much of an avenue for him to contribute here, either.
Good thing for him baseball happens.
Mauer will take some time off to recover from a neck strain, meaning Logan Morrison will be manning first base and Robbie Grossman will get some work as the DH. That opened the door for another outfielder to enter the fold, and Zack Granite just recently returned from an injury of his own, creating the perfect storm for Cave to enter the picture.
Cave took advantage of his first opportunity, destroying a pitch for a round tripper. According to Matt Kelly of MLB.com/Statcast, Cave’s exit velocity of 111.4 mph is the second-highest of any Twins homer this year, trailing only Miguel Sano. Heck of a way to make an impression on your first hit.
Maybe this means people will know his name. FanGraphs had him listed as “A Cave” in their box score. Not sure if they thought the Twins were just going to literally put a cave in centerfield tonight, or what.
Anyway, as I noted earlier Bobby Wilson drove in the other two runs, meaning all the damage tonight came from a couple of guys who aren’t even really supposed to be here. That had to have felt good, considering Milwaukee’s first run of the game scored after Wilson committed a throwing error in the first inning.
Wilson spent all last year in Triple A and even considered retiring at the end of spring training. With Jason Castro out for the year, it sure is a good thing the Twins talked him into going to Rochester.
The Twins picked up only three more hits outside of those contributions from Cave and Wilson, one of which was a leadoff double from Morrison. Bad news: He ended up being picked off at second base.
The best way I could describe Minnesota’s performance tonight would be flat. The Brewers, on the other hand, played with energy and passion. Unfortunately, both teams’ fan bases also matched the energy of the teams they were rooting for. I’m sure there were more Twins fans in the crowd at Target Field, but it sure didn’t sound like it.
Fernando Romero had his worst start, plummeting his ERA to 1.66. Oh wait, that’s actually still really good. Romero gave up four runs, three earned, on three hits and two walks over five innings. He only managed to strike out two batters.
The bullpen basically had to be perfect. They were not, as Addison Reed gave up a go-ahead homer to Christian Yelich in the eighth inning.
Hindsight’s always 20/20, of course, but Ryan Pressly had only thrown eight pitches while recording the final two outs of the seventh. Can’t help but wonder what might have happened if he stayed out there, though you can’t fault Paul Molitor for going to Reed.
The Brewers’ bullpen basically had to be perfect … and they pretty much were. Dan Jennings (1.2 IP) Jeremy Jeffress (1.0 IP) and Josh Hader (2.1 IP) held the Twins scoreless for six innings and racked up nine strikeouts while only giving up a pair of hits.
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
Sun vs. MIL, 1:10 pm CT
Mon vs. DET, 7:10 pm CT
Tue vs. DET, 7:10 pm CT
Last Three Games
MIL 8, MIN 3: Gibson Falters, Mauer Exits Due to Neck Injury
MIN 4, STL 1: Berrios is Back
STL 7, MIN 5: Lynn with a Dud Again
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