2018 Game 74: Riders of the Range vs. Minnie and Paul

I can not forecast for you the outcome of the Twins' season. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma...

I'm a big believer in incremental improvement, so much so that I built it into my expectations for the Twins this season. Of course, I figured some guys like Dozier and Mauer, Santana and Berrios don't have a lot of clearance between hat and ceiling, so just maintaining last year's performance would be fine. I honestly believed this was going to be the year that Buxton figured out major league pitching and put together a strong season with wood as well as leather, but that hope's been hampered by injury. No, what I had in mind was much more like what Rosario and Escobar are doing this year, which you could argue is a pretty major increment. Last week, the Padre posed a question in a game log about who is to blame for this year's mediocrity -- the front office, the manager and staff, or the players. I think that maybe this is what the Torii Hunters and Joe Morgans mean when they poo-poo advanced metrics and say the game is played on the field. Ultimately, as much as teams try to measure and forecast, there are no guarantees that past performance is a reliable indicator of future performance. It's just all we have to go on, so we tend to put all of our balls in that one bucket. You can honestly say that the starting rotation, on paper anyway, is the most solid the Twins have had in many years. The front office made moves to bolster the bullpen, and some of them have paid off, but we still deal with a lot of inconsistency in the relief corps. But offensively, with just a couple of notable exceptions, the Twins hitters are either treading water or slow sinking below the surface of last year's performance. Now, I happen to think there's still hope for this team this year, but only if they stay close enough to the division leader to be in striking distance if'n they get on a roll. If they're within five games at the All Star break, I'm going to stay interested enough.

We have a bookend match-up on the mound today, with everybody's favorite corpulent 21-year veteran Bartolo Colon (4-4, 4.91 ERA) near the end of his career facing off against the Twins' 24-year old phenom Jose Berrios (7-5, 3.38 ERA). Colon notched is 244th career win last Monday, giving him the most wins ever by a Dominican pitcher. The man has pitched 3,396 innings of major league baseball and he's not done yet. For perspective, Berrios has 24 wins and has pitched just 300 innings thus far in his MLB career. For even more perspective, Greg Maddux amassed 355 career wins and pitched more than 5,000 innings in 23 years in the show, and Walter Johnson compiled 417 wins while throwing more than 5,900 innings over 21 campaigns. Play ball!

13 thoughts on “2018 Game 74: Riders of the Range vs. Minnie and Paul”

    1. 100 pitches through 6 innings. I'd give him the 7th, too. He doesn't appear to be struggling at all, and he may be the best conditioned guy on the whole team.

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