Eddie Rosario’s major league career could not have possibly started better when, on the first pitch he ever saw in a Twins uniform, he belted an opposite-field home run that launched Minnesota to a 13-0 victory over Oakland on May 6.
Everything about it — the aggressiveness, the fact that it came off a lefty, the fact that it cleared the fence in left with plenty to spare (a rarity for a left-handed hitter at Target Field) — combined to make folks take notice. His supporters in the stands went crazy. It was a great moment.
He followed that game with some more timely hits, going 4-for-12 with four RBI in the next three games. It was a promising debut, to say the least. What has happened since is not promising, though it is predictable.
With even a handful of Rosario MLB at-bats available for study, pitchers are adjusting to his strengths and trying to make him prove he can succeed in other ways. And lately, the pitchers are winning.
In his past three games, including Thursday’s forgettable 13-1 Twins loss to Detroit, Rosario is 0-for-10 with 7 strikeouts. Batting average is a fickle thing with so few at-bats, and his has tumbled from .313 to .192 in the process.
Now it will be his turn to make adjustments. From the at-bats I’ve seen, pitchers are working him with breaking stuff and high fastballs; Anibal Sanchez of the Tigers polished him off with that exact sequence in the fifth inning Thursday.
Rosario’s minor league numbers suggest he’s never going to walk a ton, but zero walks in 26 MLB plate appearances suggests an aggressiveness that worked for him in the first handful of games and has worked against him lately.
His approach more than his overall numbers will be worth watching over as the season progresses.