The Twins won despite collecting only six hits on Sunday, just the second time this season (their 4-hit, 5-3 win in Chicago two weeks ago was the other) that they’ve managed a victory with so little offense. Here are a few extra notes:
Logan Morrison got this week off to a good start on Sunday by getting the game-winning hit. But he already knows it’s going to be a good week: He gets to play the field every day.
“I enjoy playing defense,” Morrison said. “I think I’m a pretty good first baseman, and I like to help the team more than just in the [batter’s] box.”
With Joe Mauer on the disabled list, Morrison started at first base for the 15th time on Sunday, and Twins manager Paul Molitor said he’s perfectly comfortable putting the 30-year-old, who signed with the Twins knowing that he would mostly serve as the designated hitter, at the position.
“He takes a lot of pride in his defense,” Molitor said. “Joe is one of our elite first basemen in the game, so it is probably tough to try to compare those two guys, but left-handed is an advantage, and I know he’s focused on every pitch.”
Morrison is beginning to put his terrible start at the plate behind him now, too, and he believes that playing defense might help, too. “I don’t want to make excuses for anything when I’m being a DH, but [playing defense] is just something you’re more comfortable with, more accustomed to,” Morrison said. “It’s been good to get out there, but at the same time, I know the deal: When Joe comes back, I’ll be DH-ing again, and I have to get better at it.”
Wayne Hattaway, the Twins’ honorary clubhouse attendant and longtime clubhouse character, was at Target Field for the first time this season on Sunday. The 78-year-old former athletic trainer known as “Big Fella,” who has been in baseball since starting as a batboy in his native Alabama 65 years ago, “walked in here about a half-hour ago,” Molitor said Sunday morning. “It’s good to see him.”
Pitching orthodoxy says keeping the ball down is the most important way to pitch, but Jake Odorizzi relies on high fastballs more than most. There’s a reason for it, he said Sunday.
“It’s kind of one of my strengths, I guess, so if they’re swinging at it, if I can get the strike at the top of the zone, it makes it a whole lot more enticing,” Odorizzi explained. “[If] it’s been called, you kind of have to swing at it. As the game goes on, bigger situations, guys start to swing a little bit more and get into swing mode, that’s when it really benefits, when they see it out of the hand and it’s automatically a swing. It looks good to a lot of hitters.”
Still, keeping the ball down is critical to his success, too. There’s just a strategy at work. “I just want to continue to establish the strike zone down early, and then go away from it,” Odorizzi said. “Because if you don’t [throw low strikes first], it doesn’t really have the same effect.”