Minnesota 4, Atlanta 2
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!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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