When Fernando Romero got shelled on Wednesday night, giving up eight runs on nine hits in an 11-8 loss to the Royals in Kansas City, Jake Odorizzi sought out the rookie pitcher to let him know that everyone has a bad outing every once in a while.
Little did Odorizzi, a seven-year veteran, know that he would have a similar outing on Thursday.
“It’s funny, I was talking to Romero this morning about last night and said, ‘Hey, it’s going to happen from time to time in your career. Just move on from it. Remember it,'” said Odorizzi after giving up eight runs on seven hits in 3.2 innings against the Cleveland Indians.
“It’s funny to pass that knowledge along to him and no I have to look myself in the mirror. I’ve been through it before. We all have as pitchers. Take it, get over it, flush it and move on from it.”
The game itself might be particularly hard to move on from. After digging out of an 8-0 hole on Wednesday, only to lose 11-8, the Twins once again mounted a comeback, only to fall short.
“Pretty similar script to yesterday,” said manager Paul Molitor.
Miguel Sano took Zach McAllister deep, hitting an opposite-field home run on an 0-1 pitch that landed in the flower bed in right field to tie the game 8-8. But Francisco Lindor took Addison Reed deep in the eighth to complete the “super cycle” — doubles in his first two at-bats, plus another home run in the fourth in a 4-for-5 night — and ensure Minnesota would not come back.
“A little cement-mixer slider right down the middle to a pretty good hitter,” said Reed when asked which pitch Lindor clobbered to right-center. “He did what he’s supposed to do with it.
“You’ve got to pitch to your strengths,” he added, “and that’s what I was doing. I threw some pretty good sliders to him. I got a little slider-happy, and I just threw a bad one, and he didn’t miss it.”
On one hand, the Twins propensity to come back from large deficits is a sign that this team, which has been walked off eight times already this season, has not thrown in the towel. On the other hand, losing on consecutive nights after making up early deficits could wear on the clubhouse morale.
“You just gotta see how the guys come in tomorrow,” said Molitor. “It’s deflating when you try to make comebacks like the way we did, but this game doesn’t allow you to have those things linger very long, because the hole will get deeper.”
The hope for the Twins is that they can hang on while key players like Joe Mauer, Byron Buxton and Ervin Santana recover from injury. But if they cannot, they are perilously close to seeing a promising season derailed — even in one of baseball’s weakest divisions.
“We all know that things are going the wrong direction right now, it’s not hard to see,” said Molitor. “We talked about trying to hold our own here as best we can until we can replenish somewhat. You gotta find a way to start to turn it around before things can get out of hand.
“We’ve seen that a couple years ago. I don’t think we’re heading that direction, we got too much talent in there, but we need to win some more games.”
The Twins are 22-30 after the loss. The Indians are 30-25. The gap widens with every walk-off loss. With every early deficit. With every incomplete comeback.