The Minnesota Twins returned home from a successful road trip for a strange one-off game against the Seattle Mariners. The game, which was a make-up for one that was snowed out on April 8, was delayed an hour and 42 minutes before it got underway.
From that point on, it was an unlikely pitcher’s duel between Twins righty Jake Odorizzi and Mariners lefty Wade LeBlanc. Neither side blinked until the Mariners opened the eighth inning with a double, and then a bunt was mishandled by Logan Morrison which led to the only run of the night scoring.
This left reliever Trevor Hildenberger with a hard-luck loss, and the Twins off to a tough start to the homestand with National League Central-leading St. Louis coming to town next.
Here’s what we saw from our vantage point:
Odorizzi’s night was “Double, Double and Toil” but no trouble
Odorizzi was very, very good on the night, but did allow leadoff doubles in the third, fifth and sixth innings. Each time, however, he was able to wriggle out of trouble.
“Jake did a nice job,” manager Paul Molitor said. “He pitched around a couple leadoff doubles and kept putting zeroes up there. Even after taking a shot (line drive off the bat of Kyle Seager), he was able to make pitches on that last hitter to keep it tied at the time.”
In the third inning, Ben Gamel roped a double off the top of the wall in deep right-center. Gordon Beckham — freshly added to the roster with the injury to Robinson Cano — struck out swinging, Dee Gordon grounded to short and Jean Segura grounded to Logan Morrison, who made a nifty play at first for the out.
In the fifth, Ryon Healy drilled a double to left. Mike Zunino followed by striking out, then Gamel walked, Beckham struck out swinging and Gordon popped to Ehire Adrianza, who made a fine running play to preserve the scoreless tie.
Adrianza's grab saves a run!
— FOX Sports North (@fsnorth) May 15, 2018
In the sixth, Segura led off with a double to deep right. Mitch Haniger flew out to left, Nelson Cruz was grazed by a pitch and Kyle Seager roped a liner off Odorizzi’s backside which deflected to Adrianza at short. Adrianza had trouble getting a handle on the ball at first, but recorded to beat Cruz to the bag — just barely — for the second out. After some warm-up tosses to make sure he was OK, Odorizzi rebounded to strike Healy out swinging.
All told, three of the four hits against Odorizzi went for extra bases, but each time he settled in and more often than not, used strikeouts to get outs when he needed them. Odorizzi had a stellar 15 swinging strikes on 97 pitches. According to Brooks Baseball, seven of them came on the four-seam fastball (11.7 percent), four came on the slider (22.2 percent), three came on the split (18.8 percent) and one came on the curve (18.8 percent).
All of those are terrific marks on the respective pitches.
The Twins offense was punchless against Wade LeBlanc
Anyone who had seen LeBlanc pitch before knew he wouldn’t be overpowering, but he was almost a pitching Picasso the way he moved his fastballs in and out of the zone to keep the Twins off balance. LeBlanc only fanned four batters, but he also allowed only three hits — all singles — in his six shutout innings.
“The story of the game for me was that we couldn’t find a way to barrel up any balls against LeBlanc,” Molitor said. “The cutter seemed to give us trouble, both lefties and righties.”
LeBlanc had just seven swinging strikes on the night — four on the cutter, one apiece from the two- and four-seamer and the changeup — and never broke 90 on the night.
His fastest pitch was an 89 mph four-seam fastball.
“It was just one of those nights,” a dejected Morrison said after the game.
On the Morrison error, it looked like Segura was way, way in the baseline
With Gordon on second after a leadoff double, No. 2 hitter Segura squared to bunt. The left-handed throwing Morrison has an advantage on these plays, as he has a more natural throwing angle to third base if there’s a chance to get the out.
In this case, there was not, as Gordon is one of the fastest runners in the league. Segura is pretty fleet afoot as well, so catcher Mitch Garver told Morrison to take the out at first base.
Morrison’s throw not only pulled Brian Dozier off the bag at first, but sailed down the right-field line, allowing Gordon to scamper home with the game’s only run.
One thing I noticed is this: When Morrison sets up to make the throw, Segura is well inside the baseline. From where Morrison fields the ball, he has a good, but not great angle to hit Dozier at first, but a case can be made that Segura is obstructing that throw.
In fact, look where Segura is as the ball gets past Dozier:
And now look where he is once he reads that Dozier has missed the ball, and he’ll not only try to get to second base, but have to touch first base before he can do that:
You can be pulled over in most large cities for not signaling a right turn that sharp.
“If we missed it, then we missed it,” Molitor said. “But I didn’t see that.”
To Morrison’s credit, he didn’t place any blame on where Segura was running — “No, I didn’t even see him, to be honest with you,” he said — but it’s fair to wonder if he’s just being a good soldier here or really still kicking himself for a play he should have made.
“It’s a routine play that I’ve gotta make,” he said. “I didn’t make it.”
Garver had the only hit of substance for the Twins on the night
Garver roped a double off Mariners reliever James Pazos in the seventh inning that registered 107.6 mph off the bat — second only to Segura’s first-inning single (107.7 mph) — but otherwise the Twins were absolutely punchless on the night. Rosario popped up to end the inning, and the only threat the Twins had all night long.
Odorizzi allowed four hits — three doubles and a single. Mariners pitchers allowed four hits — three singles and a double.
Like LoMo said….it was one of those nights.
Robbie Grossman got ejected for arguing a pitch that was a strike
Grossman struck out looking to end the fifth inning, then was mysteriously replaced in left field by Eddie Rosario. Ultimately, it was deduced that Grossman had been thrown out of the game.
It was the first ejection of Grossman’s career, and the first of a Twins player this season.
Here’s a look at the pitch Grossman was upset about:
It’s the pitch that’s clearly in the strike zone. Molitor said that Grossman got his money’s worth with the ejection, but c’mon now. There’s no reason to take that pitch.
- FoxSports1’s Ken Rosenthal and Tom Verducci were in town in advance of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. They’ll be part of the broadcast team as Jose Berrios takes on Jack Flaherty to open the St. Louis series — the second half of a home-and-home set.
- Matt Magill threw a scoreless seventh inning — his fourth straight scoreless outing.
- The Twins fell to 1-2 against the Mariners this season with the loss.
- Minnesota is 5-5 against AL West opposition this season.
- Mariners reliever James Pazos threw a scoreless seventh, extending his scoreless streak to 13.1 frames over the last 12 games — the second-longest streak in the AL entering play on Monday.