The Twins’ search for the old Kenta Maeda came to the right place: 60 feet, 6 inches from Texas Rangers hitters.
Maeda, whose strikeout rate fell to a career low in April, rediscovered his third-strike talent against the whiffingest team in the west on Monday, and rode those swings-and-misses to his first win in nearly a month, 6-5 over Texas at chilly Target Field.
OK, if not for some shoddy defense by the Rangers’ outfield, it might not have mattered, not after the Twins’ bullpen surrendered five runs in the final two innings. But after losing six of their first eight one-run games in relentlessly painful style, maybe the Twins were due for just enough luck to be on their side.
Oh, wait — this is more how the Twins’ luck works lately. Even in a game they won, they may have lost a critical component. Leadoff hitter Luis Arraez collided with Rangers catcher Jose Trevino while scoring from first on Josh Donaldson’s double in the third inning, and later felt neck soreness and a headache that forced the Twins to put him into concussion protocol. His symptoms figure to take a day or two, or more, to resolve.
But Maeda, his ERA inflated to 6.56 in April, was certainly due for a start that resembled his 2020 success, and he finally found one. After averaging only four strikeouts per start in the season’s first month, the Twins’ Opening Day…