Tonight’s game in Yankee Stadium for Game 1 of the American League Divisional Series couldn’t have started much better. Jorge Polanco hit a 1st inning homerun and Berrios held the Yankees to 0 runs through 2 innings. Nelson Cruz hit another solo shot in the 3rd, making it 2-0 good guys, entering the bottom half of that inning. But, that’s where things went sour.

The Twins came back to tie the game at 3 and the bats looked ready to hang in there, early. Unfortunately, it took them 30 minutes between at-bats because our bullpen was too busy walking guys and then giving up big hits, while those hitters we need ran around the field on defense.

I put a lot of this loss on the shoulders of that defense because it was Cron missing the backend of that double play above, and a hobbled Arraez not being able to make it to a pop-fly that same inning, that got the Yankees going.

But the freshman manager, Rocco Baldelli deserves plenty of the blame too. Berrios struggled to get his slurve over for a strike in the first few innings and it got him into trouble. After giving up 3 runs in the 3rd however, a different Jose Berrios took the mound in the 4th inning, mowing down the side with only 12 totaling him at 88 on the night. But, Rocco Baldelli chose to bring in…… Zach Littell…… to replace him for the 5th. A walk + hit batter later, Littell was replaced by Tyler Duffey.

Duffey saved the inning and kept the Twins in the game but Baldelli’s calls to the bullpen didn’t get anymore normal after that.

The score was 5-4 when this game entered the bottom of the 6th. So naturally, Rocco Baldelli called on a guy he’s trusted all season (lol), Cody Stashak… Yeah, he brought in Cody fucking Stashak to pitch the 6th inning of a 1-run ALDS game. He (shockingly) gave up 2 more. This team hasn’t played in 4 days and the entire bullpen is fresh as fuck… but you call Stashak in that situation? Oh yeah, then (in slightly less frustrating fashion) Gibson came in to nibble his way to 3 walks and two outs before he gave up a bases-clearing triple.

Just like that, it was 10-4 and the game was all but over.

This was a terrible playoff debut for Rocco Baldelli and there is plenty to question… but there is still plenty of hope, too. We weren’t sure what we were going to have for starting pitching when we came into this series so there aren’t additional worries after we wasted Berrios’ start. As I’ve bitched about for much of this blog, we didn’t use any of our key relievers, either. This 2019 Twins team has already proven they won’t be phased by losses and I expect them to look a lot better on Saturday, and for the rest of the series. We are far from out of this thing.

Still, tonight wasn’t the start we were looking for.

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan