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  • Notebook: Cruz Crushed and Pitching Powered Twins to Win


    Andrew Luedtke

    The Twins were victorious today over Atlanta as Nelson Cruz crushed his second Spring Training homer and the Twins pitching staff, led by José Berríos, struck out 11. Additionally, the Twins announced how fans can secure tickets to the first 17 games at Target Field this season. Check it out in this edition of the Offseason Notebook!

    Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

    Twins Video

    Minnesota 4, Atlanta 2

    Box Score

    Twins Takeaways

    Standout pitcher: José Berríos (4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K’s - 82 pitches)

    Standout hitter: Nelson Cruz (1-for-3 with a 2-run HR)

    Fastest pitch (mph): José Berríos - 95.8 mph

    Fastest exit velo (mph): Nelson Cruz 107.5 mph

    Twins fans got a good one today. Not only was the game televised on FOX Sports North, the lineup included many potential Opening Day starters.

    We are 10 days away from regular season baseball!

    https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1374005749546954753

    Berríos Solid:

    José Berríos pitched well today in what may be his second to last Spring start. He didn’t allow any runs and struck out six. He also had 13 swings and misses, five of them on his changeup.

    Across four games combined in Florida, José has a 2.63 ERA with 14 K’s in 13 2/3 innings.

    Nelson Cruz destroyed a baseball:

    Nelson Cruz was doing Nelson Cruz things this afternoon as he took an 0-1 fastball from Kyle Wright and sent it to the moon. The ball left the bat at 107.5 mph and went a projected 426 feet (seems light). That was Cruz’s second homer of the Spring.

    https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1374058640181694467

    Jorge Polanco making plays at 2B

    Early indications are that Jorge Polanco’s ankle is feeling good. He homered in yesterday’s game vs. the Orioles and roped a 105.2 mph double down the RF line in the first inning turning on a fastball. Something he struggled with last year with his injured ankle. He also made two nice plays today defensively.

    In the fourth inning he caught a liner off the bat of Cristian Pache (.410 xBA) and in the fifth saved two runs with a nice play up the middle off the bat of Austin Riley (.670 xBA).

    https://twitter.com/fsnorth/status/1374069956934000641

    Polanco has a .899 OPS in 11 games this Spring.

    Kepler still struggling:

    Max Kepler’s tough Spring continued today. He went 0-for-3 with two weak groundouts and a strikeout. He is now 2-for-30 this Spring with no walks. The only two hits are singles. During the broadcast today, Twins hitting coach Edgar Varela was interviewed and didn’t sound too concerned about Kepler as he noted he has “had some bad luck and hit some balls hard”. He also preached how Spring training was about “process over results” where Kepler does a great job looking at the positives and will be in a “good spot” come Opening Day.

    Kepler is historically a good hitter early on in the regular season. He owns a .882 OPS in 264 AB over his career in March/April.

    Matthew Trueblood wrote a nice piece on Twins Daily about Kepler’s success early in at-bats.

    Let’s not panic, yet.

    https://twitter.com/NickNelsonMN/status/1374047516019326986

    Bullpen looked strong:

    After Berríos' day was finished, the Twins bullpen took over. Fans got to see Alex Colomé, Hansel Robles, and Taylor Rogers, which project to be essential in the backend of the Twins ‘pen in 2021.

    Rogers worked a 1-2-3 inning with two K’s on 14 pitches. Colomé and Robles each had a K in scoreless innings of work. Robles hit 95 mph on his Fastball. Encouraging signs.

    Twins Regular Season Tickets on Sale!

    Today, the Twins announced that on Thursday @ 10am CST fans can purchase tickets to the first 17 home games at Target Field. This includes Opening Day. The Twins can have 10,000 fans in attendance each game. Tickets will be available in “pods” of two or four tickets spread out throughout the ballpark to meet state COVID-19 guidelines.

    https://twitter.com/Twins/status/1374017726423957506

    That’s a wrap from today. Make sure to check back tomorrow when we recap the Twins vs. Pirates at LECOM Park. First pitch is at 12:05pm CST.

    MORE FROM TWINS DAILY

    Sire of Fort Myers Update! Who is Derek Law?

    Road to October: Breakdown of the Twins Schedule

    The Last Transaction the Twins Should Make Before Opening Day

    You can follow Andrew Luedtke on Twitter here.

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    I hate it when Berrios doesn't have great control and starts walking guys.  He did bare down and get out of a tough jam with guys on 2nd and 3rd and no outs and no runs came across.  Still he makes me nervous at times but yeah good game for him regardless of how I feel.

     

    Polanco was crossing off check boxes of my list the last couple of games.  Hit for power, Check,  take good at bats, check, play great defense, check.  I think I can stop worrying about him now.

     

    Robles looked better today than I have seen him so far, but his fastball still gets hit hard.  Honestly I prefer Derek Laws approach to Robles right now.  Robles seems to be coming around and I know I need to be patient but I sense disappointment from him in the end.  Hopefully I am wrong.

     

    Rogers wasn't nibbling as much today and had really good stuff.  Starting to feel more confident that he will take charge in the big moments when we will need him.

     

    Stashak was all over the place and while he didn't walk anybody he also gave up 2 runs.  He is generally so dependable I never have much to say about him but he had a tough day today.

     

    The starters are getting more time so less Sire of Fort Meyers action.  The regular season creeps slowly closer.  Real baseball is getting close and I am ready.  I bought new worry socks, worry pants, and worry shirts to go with my exasperated hat and shoes.  Went to Cosco and bought a bunch of antacids so I am ready for the ups and more importantly the downs of the season.

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    Thanks Andrew for the positive news. Cruz, Berrios, Polanco and the BP have erased any negative doubt pertaining to them. Kepler will come around, he just needs to find his groove. It concerned me that he played CF in the prior game. He should have been left in RF so he could focus on his hitting and feast on BAL pitching, instead of adjusting to CF.

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