Some quick hits from tonight's game:
Byron Buxton said during spring training that he worked on getting even faster during the offseason, which sounded astonishing. Buxton's sprint speed (thanks, Statcast) of 30.1 feet per second led baseball last season.
Well, the unthinkable happened on Tuesday when Statcast's Daren Willman reported that Buxton, while beating out an infield hit in the second inning on Tuesday, covered 31.5 feet per second. The fastest man in baseball is, indeed, faster. It took Buxton 3.96 seconds to reach first base on that play.
That. Is. Ridiculous.
Max Kepler pinch hit in the sixth inning and flied out. But it was how he did it and where he did it that has to have the Twins encouraged.
Kepler got a pitch that was up and on the outer half of the plate and belted it the other way to deep left field. During the summer, the ball carries well into the seats. Right now, during the winter that won't leave, the ball dies on the warning track.
Twins manager Paul Molitor did not start Kepler on Tuesday against Houston lefthander Dallas Keuchel, but Kepler did start the home opener against Seattle lefthander James Paxton. So Molitor is going to give him shots. But solid at bats - and showing a willingness to go the other way, will keep Kepler in the lineup.
Managers usually keep their eyes on the field, but Molitor and A.J. Hinch were looking at each other in the second inning after the Astros were charged with a second visit to the mound when catcher Brian McCann went to the mound after Brian Dozier reached first base. Home plate umpire Mike Estabrook had missed the visit, and Molitor went out to inform him that it happened.
Estabrook checked with other umpires between innings to make sure.
But once Molitor went back to the dugout, he said Astros manager A.J. Hinch looked at him and held up two fingers. "I think so," Molitor said to Hinch, and play resumed.
Also, we learned after the game that Addison Reed was under the weather and not available. But he was expected to recover in time to be available Wednesday