BALTIMORE — The last time the Twins opened at Camden Yards, in 2016, they lost by a 3-2 score on a walk-off hit (that one was by Matt Weiters) and stumbled to an 0-9 start to the season.
So after losing their 2018 opener 3-2 on a walk-off on Thursday, they’re praying that history doesn’t have such a cruel sense of humor that it would repeat that disaster.
“Hopefully this game was a good confidence booster,” Jake Ozorizzi said. “It [stinks] we couldn’t pull it out, but we put up a good effort.”
Here are a few more odds and ends from Game 1:
Odorizzi, the fifth pitcher ever to make his Twins debut as their Opening Day starter, admitted he was nervous as he took the mound. It didn’t look like it.
“I’m sure his heart was pumping, but he was as advertised: He used the elevated fastball,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said. “I don’t think his splitter was exactly where he wanted it. He got a couple of swings and misses along the way.”
More than a couple, actually. Odorizzi, acquired in a trade last month from Tampa Bay, struck out seven Orioles in six innings, more whiffs than in all but three of his starts a year ago, and five came on high fastballs.
“Fastball command was good. [It was] what the hitters were giving me, so I kept going up there,” Odorizzi said. “All in all, from my standpoint I was happy with today.”
He could have pitched longer, too, but Molitor told him after six innings, and 93 pitches, that his day was done.
“I’m not unhappy with the decision. Hopefully as the year goes on, and we start to get a feel for each other, I’ll get that extra inning here and there,” the 28-year-old righthander said. “But Opening Day, I completely understand that you don’t want to overdo anything.”
Zach Duke’s second-worst pitch was a really good one. It broke so wickedly, in fact, that Trey Mancini had little chance of hitting it.
Trouble is, Jason Castro had little chance of catching it, either, and it bounced to the backstop as Mancini took first base.
“It was a curveball in the dirt. It just kind of kicked awkwardly,” Duke said of his Twins’ debut. “It looked like Jason was in a good position to block it, but it just came at a weird angle. Just one of those things where it takes a weird hop.”
It opened the door for a rarity — and a calamity.
Duke also struck out Tim Beckham, Craig Gentry and Chris Davis in his inning of work, making him the first Twins pitcher since Tyler Duffey, on May 8, 2016 against the White Sox, to whiff four batters in one inning. But there was another wild pitch, an intentional walk to Danny Valencia, and, between Gentry and Davis, a disastrous pitch to Caleb Joseph that wound up on the warning track.
It was Joseph’s third career triple, and scored Mancini and Valencia.
“It was a fastball away. It was up a little bit more than I wanted,” Duke said. “If it’s down, it’s a ground ball to Brian [Dozier]. But he got enough of it to get it over his head.”
Ryan LaMarre’s three-year hitless streak sounds a lot worse than Ryan LaMarre’s 0-for-12 hitless streak. But either way, it’s over.
LaMarre, 2-for-37 in his three-cups-of-coffee big-league career before making the team out of spring training, is now 1-for-1 as a Twin. He entered Thursday’s game as a pinch-hitter for Logan Morrison in the ninth inning, and scored the tying run on Robbie Grossman’s single. Then he lined a sharp single to left in the 11th inning, but he was stranded on third base.