Ervin Santana’s ERA jumped from 1.50 to 2.07 and the Minnesota Twins were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position in a 5-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies in Game 1 of today’s doubleheader.
“He had a little trouble early, had a couple calls that didn’t go his way in the first, and there was a little frustration there. But a two-out homer in the first inning, they put together a little bit of a rally, which started with a leadoff walk,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said of Santana’s outing.
Santana still has the third-best ERA in the American League, and was able to go seven innings despite not having his best stuff.
“His command’s been a little bit off his last couple starts, but he’s trying to find ways to pitch through that,” Molitor added. “The other side of the coin was we just didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that we had. We didn’t have a ton, but we left some guys out there, and we couldn’t close the gap.”
The 0-for-9 RISP stat is a ghost of Twins past, back when Minnesota was avoiding 100-loss seasons. Molitor didn’t seem overly concerned with the nine men the Twins left on base today, and one game isn’t necessarily a trend in an 162 game season.
“We had some pitches to hit that we just, you’re not always gonna hit them. It looked like there were some guys that worked counts fairly well and got themselves in pretty good positions, but we just couldn’t come up with that hit,” said Molitor.
“Miggy had a good at-bat there, the one where he ended up flying out, it looked like he had a breaking pitch that he saw pretty well, but just got underneath it.
“Those things are gonna happen where you don’t take advantage some days.”
Molitor called a team meeting in the fifth inning, and the Rockies did not score from then on out. By then German Marquez, the Colorado starter, had been knocked out of the game.
“I think everyone sensed there was a little frustration early, some of the way things were going, some of their runs, [Mark] Reynolds got jammed a little bit, but he hit it right over the bag, and then [Ian] Desmond fires one out to right and just to try to hang in there,” said Moltior.
“We knew their starter was up in the 70-pitch range after four innings, and just try to put together an inning and try to get in the bullpen and try to stay with the game. It was just kind of a sense of that there was something hanging around that didn’t feel very good. I was just trying to have to push forward a little bit, which is what you should do everyday anyways.”
If you’re looking for positives, here’s two: Eddie Rosario tripled on a 10-pitch at-bat and Ryan Pressly struck out five of the six batters he faced, meaning the Twins didn’t have to dig into their bullpen in the first game of a double header.
“It was good,” Molitor said of Rosario’s triple. “The first pitch he thought might have been in, but he hung in there and fouled off some tough pitches and worked the count full before he finally delivered with the triple.
“Those are the kind of at-bats you look for, guys that don’t let calls discourage them and things like that, and they find a way to grind through them.”
Pressly entered the game with an ERA over 8.00, but was able to mow down the Rockies offense using mid- to high-90s fastballs to blow by the Colorado lineup.
“It was really impressive for him to do that. You try to figure out the best way to give yourself a chance and who to bring in in that situation. He had such a clean eighth, and his pitches were down,” said Molitor.
“We went ahead and had some protection if they got a baserunner there in the ninth, but he mowed them down. So five strikeouts in six hitters, that was a nice outing for him, and it continues to get better.”
While Rosario’s triple, Pressly’s outing and even Santana’s ability to get through seven are silver linings, in the end the Twins lost another game — their third in a row.