When Randy Dobnak strained his right middle finger on June 19, he initially thought the problem was small and he could fix it, or simply rest for a few weeks before returning.
The setback derailed the right-hander because the diagnosis suddenly changed from minor to a place on the 60-day injury list. But on Friday, two and a half months after the initial injury, Dobnak finally found himself back on the mound of Major League Baseball.
Although Dobnak showed his dominance in the raid, he once retired 15 consecutive batsmen. However, due to the Twin City team’s 5-3 loss at Tropicana Field, his return failed in two games.
In the flawless first game, Dobnak retired all the top three batsmen in the game with the earth. This was his main game when he pitched well, but with the low ball he was good at, it began to rise to the zone. In the middle, the game quickly collapsed.
Austin Meadows doubled to open the second game and then advanced to third on the wild court. Randy Arozarena then hit Miguel Sano with a weak ground ball. Miguel Sano chose to throw the ball home instead of hitting it out at the beginning, but since Meadows beat the tag and scored, it didn’t help. On the next course, Kevin Keirmaier took Arozarena home, followed by a Yandy Diaz game to enter Ended the third game.
“After going very well in the first game, in the second game I kept leaving some balls in the area, which obviously allowed them to get a straight drive instead of the earth I was looking for,” said Dobnak, who finished the game. He scored five points and 88 pitches in seven innings.
In the third inning, Dobnak struggled again to start the game with three hits, including Nelson Cruz’s doubles, Meadows singles score, Cruz extended the lead to 5-1.
“This is a difficult start,” manager Roco Baldelli said. “I think he lost the ball. Obviously, Dob is a very classic sinking slider pitcher. When you pitch in the penalty area and give yourself a chance to get some ground balls and miss some bats with that slider, then It was when he was at his best. I think as the game progressed, we actually saw some of it.”
Dobnak withdrew the next two batsmen to withdraw from the third game. Since then, he has not been hit for the rest of the night, and 15 consecutive batsmen retired to keep the Minnesota team in the game.
However, the offense that Minnesota has been struggling with recently has no momentum. Jorge Polanko and Ryan Jeffers each hit solo homers, Polanko added an RBI double in the eighth inning. The twins drew on the plate in every of the last two rounds, but could not take advantage of these two opportunities.
“We tried it. We have some good batsmen. We only need to hit one or two hard hits to get back to where we need to be,” Bardelli said, adding later, “I think it’s hard to tell We are already in trouble…I think we clicked well for a while. We must find it again.”
Rays’ starter Michael Wacha shot 6 innings, hit 2 in just 3 hits, and hit 7 innings. On one occasion, Wacha had retired 11 batsmen in a row before Jeffers’ home run broke the consecutive hits. For Wacha, this was the beginning of a rebound. He played against the Twins three weeks ago and allowed 7 runs in 11 hits.
“Wacha’s pass today is much better. I think he has a better job. It’s better for him to throw that fastball to the top of the penalty area. He does a lot of things better,” Bardelli said.