CLEVELAND – Sending a runner home didn’t work. Holding another one at third didn’t, either.
Is there another option the Twins haven’t tried?
Minnesota scored twice in the first inning Friday but failed to add any more runs in their 7-2 loss to the Indians. And a couple of scoring chances were foiled when third base coach Joe Vavra’s calculated risks didn’t work out.
The first came in the second inning, when Brian Dozier hit a sharp two-out single to left. Kurt Suzuki rounded third at roughly the same time left fielder Michael Brantley threw the ball home, and the Twins’ catcher was out by 15 feet to end the inning.
In the fifth, Dozier singled again with one out, and Joe Mauer followed with a double to left-center field, his first extra-base hit of the season. Dozier “checked up for just a second” after the ball was hit, he said, “but I was hauling” as he neared third base. Vavra stopped him there, gambling that he would score a batter or two later. It didn’t happen.
“Whether we could have scored or not — Joe has a better look at it than I do. I thought I could have got it, but oh well,” Dozier said. “Hammer [Josh Willingham] is coming up, [Chris] Colabello is swinging good right behind him.”
But Cleveland starter Danny Salazar intentionally walked Willingham, loading the bases. Colabello, who launched his first home run of the season in the first inning, then seemed to validate Vavra’s decision by hitting a hard line drive — but right at second baseman Jason Kipnis.
“That ball was a missile,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “That ball goes through, and we’ve got action.”
Instead, they had a second out, and Trevor Plouffe grounded out to end the threat.
“We had our chances,” Gardenhire said. “We couldn’t get it done.”
The math on the draft
Whoever the Twins select with the fifth pick in this June’s draft can expect a contract worth $3,575,900. Or that’s what Major League Baseball strongly suggests.
MLB has released its draft slots for 2014, and Minnesota, by finishing with the fifth-worst record in baseball last season, has the fifth-largest budget to spend on players, a total of $7,525,600 for the first 10 rounds. Teams face penalties, potentially including the loss of draft picks, if they exceed those budgets, though they can distribute their bankrolls any way they wish.
With no compensatory picks due this year for losing free agents, the Twins’ second pick will be No. 46, a player that MLB suggests they spend $1,218,800 on.
• Trees are coming back to Target Field, but not directly behind the pitcher. The team announced Friday that a number of Spartan junipers will be installed under the Minnie & Paul sign high above center field, a bit of landscaping to spruce up the ballpark. Those will be well above the batter’s eye, where black spruce pines were originally planted in the new ballpark, then removed after one season when batters complained they made for a difficult background behind the pitcher.
• Rochester lefthander Matt Hoffman has been placed on the seven-day disabled list because of a right calf strain.
• Saturday’s game will be the first MLB game ever televised by Fox Sports 1, the new national channel that made its debut in September.