I saw the eight-spot the Twins put up in the first inning against Madison Bumgarner last night, but didn’t dig down into the play by play of it all until a few minutes ago. And how about this: the first eight batters all got hits, and all eight came around to score. That’s some trick. In fact, it’s a trick that hasn’t been done for over 20 years, when the Yankees did it against the Orioles in late 1990.
By the way, that’s eight straight wins for the Twins and 15 of 17 in the win column. The same Twins who I so adroitly declared dead a week or two ago because, as is always the case, I know nothing about everything.
On the bright side, if Minnesota goes on to win the World Series, that will be two straight years in which a death sentence from me inspired greatness. It may be an odd gift, but it’s a gift all the same.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.