Jose Berrios topped his 7.2 inning 2017 debut against the Cleveland Indians by punching out 11 Rockies hitters in the Minnesota Twins 2-0 win over Colorado in Game 2 of Thursday’s doubleheader.

“Well, he backed up the last one. Might have even been a touch better than that [first one]. I just think that it was even a touch more dominant,” said Twins manager Paul Molitor after the game.

“But all the things that we’ve asked him to do, in terms of trying to help him find success at this level, he’s been trying to address. And it’s showing up so far in his first couple of starts.”

Things looked shaky early on. He hit Nolan Arenado in the first inning and Ian Desmond, the first batter in the second inning. He was also was called for a balk against Raimel Tapia, the third hitter the second frame.

“He hit a couple of guys early in the game on a backup breaking ball and a fastball he tried to get in,” said Moltior. “But pitched around the small trouble he had.”

The key for Berrios was attacking hitters. He had all three pitches going — his fastball, curveball and changeup — and threw 72 of his 106 pitches for strikes.

“It’s what we’ve been stressing with him, to be able to maximize the giftedness that he has,” Molitor said regarding Berrios’ aggressiveness. “If you pitch from ahead up here, it just makes the game that much easier.

“That’s a really good percentage. We’ll get a chance to break down the fastball, curveball, change and see how they add up as far as that category. But overall that’s a really good percentage.”

To put Berrios’ performance in perspective:

His performance also overshadowed Max Kepler’s spectacular catch in deep right-center off of Gerardo Parra that bailed Berrios out after he hit Desmond in the second inning.

“He went a long way. He’s got the ability to do those type of things,” said Molitor. “I think he’s still maturing into a guy who trusts his athleticism, but that was just one of those plays where it goes up and you know you gotta just kinda turn your back and hopefully you get to the right spot.

“But he went a long way. It was a good play.”

Berrios’ performance was timely in two regards. First, it stopped a three-game losing streak. And, secondly, it kept the bullpen rested in the second game of a doubleheader.

“I can’t say you’re desperate for a win,” said Molitor, “but you come off a good trip and you let the last one on the trip slip away, and you get off to a rough start the first couple of games, backing up Ervin today, and [pause] it’s a long day at the park, we all know how doubleheaders work, and to be able to salvage that — credit to him.”

If this is a glimpse into the future for Berrios, things are looking bright. It’s not everyday that Molitor gets booed by a fanbase because they want the pitcher to stay in. This team isn’t too far from removing pitchers much less talented than Berrios in the fourth inning — or earlier.

“I don’t know if that’s happened a ton,” said Molitor when asked about being booed. “I kinda anticipated that it was gonna happen, that’s why I called for him early, so I didn’t change my mind on my way out.”

NO COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY