Well, there's nothing like a major league debut to help a team get over its latest clunker, so the Twins are hoping that Fernando Romero will help turn things around for them. It might take more than that. Over the past week and a half, the Twins have lost three walk-off games and now last night's debacle at Target Field.
Let's look ahead to Romero's outing today against the Toronto Blue Jays (12:10 p.m., FSN).
First of all, the kid has a live arm. I first saw him during a spring training game in 2017. I watched him throw 88-90 mph and wondering where is the good fastball I heard about. Well, those were his sliders. He finally flipped a pitch out of his hand that hit 97 mph on the stadium radar gun. And it wasn't one of those max effort heaves.
I wrote about Romero that spring. There were some Twins officials nudging me to speculate that he could make the team as a reliever that year. There were some who wanted him up that year. But the Twins stuck with the big picture. It was his second year removed from Tommy John surgery, so he was on a pitch count to get through the season. This year, he has no restrictions.
Romero, 23, was 0-1 with a 2.57 ERA in four games (three starts) at Class AAA Rochester. His walk rate is a concern (4.3 BB per 9IP is not good). But he has excellent stuff and its time for him to get some experience. He was pitching fine, not dominating, so that's a little bit of a concern. But today's game will be worth watching.
Here are the lineups:
TWINS: Dozier 2B Mauer DH Kepler CF Escobar 3B Rosario LF Grossman RF Morrison 1B Petit SS Castro C
BLUE JAYS: Granderson LF Hernandez RF Smoak 1B Solarte 3B Pillar CF Martin C Morales DH Gurriel 2B Diaz 3B
Mighty mite Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman (0-3, 8.88 ERA) is really struggling this season.
In case you missed them, here are a couple of companion pieces to last night's game story:
Jim Souhan's column on what we should think of the Twins is here.
Chris Hine's analytical look at the Twins' woes is here.