Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The opener

I don't think the Twins had specified that Randy Dobnak would be the opener Tuesday night against the Red Sox rather than a traditional starter, but it shouldn't have been a surprise, either. The righty had pitched four innings over the previous five days.

And now he's allowed two runs -- both unearned -- over nine major league innings. Not bad for a guy who opened 2019 in High A ball.

The bullpen didn't exactly shine Tuesday in Fenway; Trevor May and Taylor Rogers each allowed homers, and a 6-0 lead dwindled to 6-5 by the final out. But they got the job done.

We'll probably see more of the opener this month, particularly while Kyle Gibson is out. The Twins have a ton of arms available in the bullpen right now. Last night Lewis Thorpe was the bulk inning guy -- he got 11 outs -- but the Twins also have Kohl Stewart and Devin Smeltzer active now. That gives Rocco Baldelli four stretched-out arms in his bullpen.

Cleveland lost to the White Sox on Tuesday, so Minnesota now leads the division by 6.5 games. I said here entering the road trip that I'd be happy with 7-3; the Twins are now 7-1 on the trip with two more to go in Boston. And the magic number to clinch the division is 18.

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