The Minnesota Twins took their season-opening series against the Chicago White Sox this weekend, scoring at least 10 runs in the first and third game, while giving up 10 in the middle contest.
Here’s a few takeaways from this weekend’s series that might give a better impression of what the 2020 Twins will look like throughout the season.
High Scoring Affairs
Minnesota scored 10 runs on Friday, allowed 10 on Saturday and scored 10 in four innings on Sunday’s rubber match. As is often the case with a lineup full of home run-seeking batters, strikeouts may ensue when the big swings don’t connect. That trend was evident over the weekend with the Twins’ entire batting order being productive Friday and Sunday but coming up cold on Saturday.
While it is important to note that the Twins are likely to have a more varied lineup of success throughout the season, some games they will look like a completely different team with pitchers finding ways to keep them off the base paths, as Dallas Keuchel did in his White Sox debut on Saturday in Chicago’s 10-3 victory.
One Bomba, Two Bomba
Minnesota is back to its 2019 ways with the home run. The first pitch of the season was sent to the right field bleachers by Max Kepler on Friday, and he added another in his second at-bat. But by the end of the series Nelson Cruz had more home runs, three, than Kepler. The Twins have seven home runs this season, tied for the MLB lead with the White Sox.
While many anguished over seeing Byron Buxton injured again and out of the lineup, his replacement is taking advantage of the extra playing time. Jake Cave, the Twins’ fourth outfielder, made the most of his two games in the lineup by going 3-for-9 with six RBIs, including a grand slam in the first inning of Sunday’s victory.
Early Pitching Woes
Although Minnesota’s starting rotation was bolstered in the offseason, the Twins struggled in the pitching department overall during the series. Opening Day starter Jose Berrios made it through four innings and allowed five runs.
Zack Littell (three home runs) and Devin Smeltzer (two) struggled out of the bullpen, but Game 2 and 3 starters Randy Dobnak (three hits, one earned run in 4.0 innings pitched) and Kenta Maeda (4 H, 2 ER, 5.0 IP) had strong showings before they turned it over to the bullpen.
Nelson Cruz is Ageless
Cruz, 40, has shown no early signs of regression in the first three games this year.
Cruz went 7-for-13 with two doubles, three home runs and 10 RBIs in three games against Chicago. The second year of his Twins career looks to be off to a good start, and in the middle of a strong batting order, gives more hope that Minnesota can return to the postseason in 2020.