DETROIT — There’s always a lot of anticipation for Opening Day. But there wasn’t much to say about this one. David Price made sure of that.
But overlooked in the Twins’ shutout loss — the fourth time they’ve been shut out on Opening Day, and first time since 2000 — was a performance by Phil Hughes that looked a lot like his 2014 successes.
Well, except for the home runs. Hughes allowed two home runs in one inning Monday, just the second time he’s done that as a Twin. J.D. Martinez hit the first one, a ball that hit off the top of the wall in right-center to lead off the second inning, and Alex Avila followed him one out later, launching a ball into the bullpens in left-center. Both came on cutters that were meant to start outside and break across the back of the plate; instead, they started too close to the plate and crossed right through the middle.
“I tried probably three times during [Avila’s] at-bat to get one there, and for whatever reason I just didn’t have the feel for that pitch yet,” Hughes said. “Martinez, same thing — I was trying to go away from him and missed over the middle.
“Three runs on pitches that were more mental mistakes than anything,” he said. “Tough way to go.”
Still, Molitor said, it looked like vintage Hughes to him.
“He was aggressive. He threw strikes. He ended up walking one, which is always kind of a surprise,” Molitor said, and indeed, the walk was the first Hughes had allowed in 23 2/3 innings, dating back to Sept. 13 of last season. “You’ve got to be pleased. He gave us a chance, we just weren’t able to manufacture a run.”
— Manager Paul Molitor considered asking for a replay review of Martinez’s home run, because it looked from the dugout that it might not have hit the wall above the yellow line. Replays showed that it was indeed a home run, but Molitor said he regretted not going out and asking the umpires about it, because he didn’t know that at the time.
— Jordan Schafer ran a long way for Yoenis Cespedes’ fly ball to the warning track in center field, but was unable to catch it once he got there. That particular play has become a problem for the Twins; at least three similar balls fell in during spring training, though not when Schafer was in center.
— The weather is expected to be similar on Tuesday, roughly 50 degrees and dry. But there’s no game scheduled. After the off day, rain is in the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday.