Eddie Rosario entered Sunday 14th in baseball at swinging at the most pitches outside the strike zone. It’s not good, but it could be a lot worse. Teammate Eduardo Escobar is ninth, for example.
It can drive a coaching staff nuts to see a player so undisciplined at the plate. But Rosario routinely makes bad-ball hitting a good thing, like Sunday, when he blasted three home runs to send the Twins to a 7-5 victory.
Manager Paul Molitor said Rosario is making it look easier than it is: “I just think that he’s feeling it,” he said. “It’s a lot about going up there with confidence. We always say, Remember how you did it.’ And he seems to remember pretty well.”
And Rosario prepares. His .317 batting average is born out of a greater understanding of how he is being pitched, and by whom.
“I remember everything,” he said. “It’s more easy for me. I know the count and what they throw me.”
Sunday, he homered off starter Mike Clevinger in the first inning on a pitch headed for the opposite batter’s box. In the seventh, he homered off lefthander Tyler Olson on a pitch that was inside and off the plate. And in the ninth inning with Brian Dozier on first, he was able to hit a Cody Allen pitch in the ninth that was up and away 410 feet to center.
“When [Allen] threw the first-pitch fastball, I remembered the last time I faced him on Thursday,” Rosario said. “He came out and threw a fastball. But after he threw me a second ball, I knew he was going to throw me a fastball. It was up, and he throws 95, but I stayed through the ball. I didn’t know where the ball was going, but I wanted to try to finish the game.”
It’s the ninth time in Twins history a player has hit three home runs in a game. But five of the nine times have come in the past 275 regular-season games, with Rosario — who hit three homers last June 13 in a 20-7 victory over Seattle — the first player to do it twice.
Class A Cedar Rapids infielder Jose Miranda was named Twins minor league player of the week Sunday after hitting .414. He struggled the first month of the season but Miranda, 19, has hit .342 with a .952 on base-plus-slugging percentage over his past 22 games. He has played second and third for the Kernels.
And Cedar Rapids outfielder Alex Kirilloff has emerged into a promotion candidate by batting .332 with 10 home runs and 45 RBI, including a home run Sunday. His .972 OPS was second in the Midwest League entering Sunday’s games.