Games 29/30: Twins earn split vs. Red Sox, Blue Jays
The Twins host the Pirates on Saturday with right-hander Anthony Swarzak getting his second start of the spring.
What went right: Both starting pitchers fared well, as Nick Blackburn allowed two runs on five hits over five innings against the Red Sox, while Liam Hendriks gave up just one hit and a walk over five scoreless frames against the Blue Jays.
Blackburn also appears primed to start the home opener against the Angels on April 9, as Scott Baker doesn’t seem likely to be ready to start the season because of his battles with right elbow tendonitis.
Hendriks also established himself as the front-runner to start the club’s third game against the Orioles on April 8, as it doesn’t appear that Jason Marquis will be ready to go because he’s been back home tending to a family issue for more than a week.
On the offensive side, Chris Parmelee homered against the Blue Jays, and continues to make a strong case to be Minnesota’s starting first baseman come Opening Day.
And Justin Morneau had another solid day at the plate, going 1-for-3 with an RBI double while serving as designated hitter yet again. Joe Mauer also went 2-for-3 with a walk to raise his average to .367.
What went wrong: The Twins didn’t exactly pitch well against the Red Sox, as both Jeff Gray and Brian Duensing gave up three runs.
The Twins also made some sloppy plays in the field, including a boneheaded play in the seventh that allowed a run to score from second on a bunt.
Luke Hughes cooled off a bit by going 0-for-5 against Boston, but is still hitting .339 in Grapefruit League play.
What they said: “Figure the math,” Anderson said about Blackburn’s first start this season. “Five days after that, when is he throwing again? It’s the home opener.”
What’s next: Right-hander Anthony Swarzak is set to make his second Grapefruit League start on Sunday against the Pirates at Hammond Stadium. Swarzak, who has a 3.86 ERA this spring, is being stretched out in case Scott Baker and Jason Marquis aren’t ready to start the season. Right-hander Kevin Correia starts for Pittsburgh.
Injury update: Outfielder Trevor Plouffe (strained right hamstring) returned to the lineup on Friday, and went 0-for-3. … Right-hander Kyle Waldrop will be placed on the 15-day disabled list to start the season. He’s suffering from a strained right elbow. … Right-hander Scott Baker is set to pitch in a Minor League game against the Red Sox’s Triple-A club on Saturday. … An MRI taken on Alexi Casilla’s right knee revealed only inflammation. He’s day to day.