Some extras from another quiet night, offensively, at Target Field:
Paul Molitor has been worried about his team’s mental mistakes lately, particularly on the bases. The Twins gave him more fodder on Friday, both due to overaggressiveness.
Brian Dozier was thrown out in the first inning trying to stretch a single in the corner into a double, a mistake that the manager could forgive, since it came with two outs and appeared to be a double off the bat.
He sounded a little more dismayed by Ryan LaMarre’s mistake in the sixth inning, short-circuiting what might have been a bigger rally against Texas starter Mike Minor. With Max Kepler on second base after a leadoff double, LaMarre drew a walk. When a pitch bounced past catcher Robinson Chirinos, Kepler immediately headed to third base. LaMarre, though, hesitated at first, then decided to run too late. He was caught in a rundown and thrown out.
“We’ve done that twice now — a pitch where the guy at second’s got a good read. I get it when you’re on first, you see the ball and you’ve got to see what the runner’s doing at second, and if there’s any hesitation on him, you go back to the base,” Molitor said. “But you don’t have to go. That’s the whole thing. I talked to Ryan about it. He said he kind of lost the ball and [couldn’t tell] how far away it was. When you’re down four runs, if you’re not sure, you’d better hold your ground.”
Eduardo Escobar hit a couple of home runs in batting practice, then walked over to a group of fans, flexed his right biceps, and said, “You see? Strong.”
So his bruised elbow clearly improved over night. Some stiffness remained, though, so Molitor decided to keep the third baseman on the bench another day.
But he called upon Escobar to pinch-hit in the eighth inning. He drove a ball down the left field line, but it hooked foul, and the at-bat ended up with a strikeout.
Still, it appears Escobar will be in the lineup on Saturday.
“I was surprised today to see his pregame work. I saw him throw the ball across the field. Most of his swings were left-handed. There’s still some uncomfortableness there from the right-hand side,” Molitor said. “We’ll see how that feels tomorrow, but there’s a good chance he’ll have a chance to start.”
Eddie Rosario, meanwhile, was back in the lineup on Friday, after sitting out Thursday with a sore shoulder. Rosario went 0-for-4 and didn’t hit the ball hard.
“I didn’t really ask him, but I would imagine he’s not quite at 100 percent,” Molitor said. “He’s in a position where he’s probably going to try to grind through it unless it regresses to a point where he can’t.”
If defenses could score, football-style, the Twins may have won Friday’s game. They executed over-the-shoulder catches on the run, short-hop scoops, catch-and-throw pickups and a sensational dive-and-flip double play.
Give them plenty of style points, for sure. Just not nearly enough runs.
Taylor Motter, filling in for Escobar at this base, raced into foul territory in short left field and snagging a Joey Gallo popup, back to the plate, as it flew over his head. Motter also foiled a DeLino DeShields bunt in the seventh inning, picking it up and throwing in one motion.
Two batters later, Dozier ended a tense bases-loaded jam for Addison Reed by diving for an Elvis Andrus line drive, then using his glove to flip the ball to Ehire Adrianza to double up Ronald Guzman while lying on the ground.
“I like making [good plays] in situations like that. That was pretty cool. Nice job by [Adrianza] getting to the bag and reading it pretty good,” Dozier said of the play, which was upheld when the Rangers challenged the call at second. “I didn’t really know if I got him or not. But I guess we did.”