2019 Game 89: Rangers at Twins

Starting Lineups

Time flies when you're having fun, and I think it's safe to say that Twins fans are having a lot of fun this year. So here we are, the last game before the midsummer classic. A cavalcade of injuries and some poor bullpen performances have slowed the team's winning ways with the hometown boys only playing .500 ball over their last ten games. Cleveland has cut the Twins' 12 game lead in the division down to just 6.5 games. That is far to close to spitting distance for comfort. The Twins need to put more space between themselves and the only real competition they have for the division title. Let's not forget that in 2006, the Twins were 11 games behind Detroit heading into the All-Star break. So the second half is going to be a race, maybe a tighter one than any of us thought a month or so ago and winning the AL Central is by no means a foregone conclusion. But it would be a boring flip side to the season if we just ran away with it. I like winning, but I like the challenge and the struggle of the competition just as much.

Kyle Gibson will man the hill to start today's game for the Twins. He'll be on a short pitch count since he had to step up and throw an inning of relief in the last marathon game, so the bullpen will get the lion's share of today's pitching work. The team called up Mejia and Smeltzer from Rochester to provide some fresh arms for today's tilt. The Twins will feature two catchers in the starting lineup with Garver behind the plate and Castro taking over DH duties for a banged up Nelson Cruz. The Rangers are also going with an opening pitcher arrangement today. Jose Leclerc will start the game and then make way for left-hander Joe Palumbo, who was called up from AAA Nashville. It's been a great first half, I'm looking forward to the second. Maximilian Kepler-Różycki is going to blast one out today, maybe in his first at bat. Mark it, Dude. Play ball!

64 thoughts on “2019 Game 89: Rangers at Twins”

    1. We use to have braunschweiger once in a while growing up. Also Underwood deviled ham (red devil on the label) and Vienna sausages. Not SPAM so much.

      1. Hormel braunschweiger was the best. But it depends on the freshness of the livers. Or so the Hormel old timers said. Gotta have hog kill on-site to insure that.

  1. Smeltzer throwing strikes has been a nice change from Gibson's inability to get it in the zone.

      1. Yeah, that was like a Little League decision. I don't know if he assumed the OF was throwing home or what, but you have to know you'll make it to third standing up to try it. It took an absolutely perfect throw and tag, but that doesn't matter. The fact that it was even possible makes it a horrible decision and cost the Twins a win and a game in the standings.

        1. Oh, definitely not.

          (he was complaining about how you can't have a "career" year because your career isn't over yet, so how do you know.)

    1. When thinking about upgrades for October games - I am more concerned with the fact that our top 2 starters aren''t able to go more than 5 or 6 innings than I am with our bullpen. There are some not MLB post season worthy arms in that bullpen - but there is also some talent. But I don't have confidence in any of our starters going deep into a must win playoff game right now.

      All that said - I also agree the bats have been assy the last few weeks.

      1. Berríos has averaged 6.5 innings per start. Odorizzi is at 5.2 however. With all the days off in the postseason, the bullpen is used a lot more.

        1. The way Pineda has been pitching, he is a clear #4 and climbing. Wouldn't it be something if he snagged a post season start and whooped on his old team in the Bronx?

        2. Odo has gone 7 innings twice, 6 innings five times, 5+ six times, 4+ twice, 3 innings once (his last start), and less than 3 (0.2) once.

          If you take that two-out appearance out of the equation (his second start of the season) he is averaging 5.5 innings per start. Basically, he gets into the third time through the order. In today's MLB, that is a recipe for a lot of "quality starts".

      2. If we're talking about MadBum again, he's completed seven innings a grand total of four times this season.

        As Sean mentions, Berrios is averaging 6.5 innings a start (meaning that his AVERAGE start length is right around MadBum's longest start), which ranks very high on that leaderboard. Berrios is hands down a better pitcher than Bumgarner or anyone else who is realistically available on the trade market this season.

    2. Agreed. After games on June 16, the Twins had an 11-game lead and a team ERA of 3.95. Since then, their team ERA is 4.02. Through June 16, Twins' team OPS was .857. Since then (not counting today), it's .767.

      1. Yeah, I think that the offense disappearing to some degree is a lot more to blame than the pitching. Wouldn't be surprised if the crazy number of super long games hasn't exactly been helpful.

        Still, a good series against a decent team.

    1. You can’t expect 6+ runs of support every game. But yes, the offense has been lackluster of late. Including today.

        1. Sano getting sent home on a grounder to third earlier that same inning didn't help.

          I appreciate being aggressive and all, but the Twins ran themselves into two outs and out of two runs that inning alone.
          Seems to have been more times than usual this year that there have been runners tagged out at the plate on grounders to the infield, though that might just be because they've had so, so many runners.

          1. Possibly. One thing I'm not noticing, though, is a lot of players being Ullgered. So while the contact play may be on, not seeing a lot of bad in the moment decisions by the third base coach.

          2. I am buying what you're selling, all the way here. The running into outs thing has been infuriating, and especially so because we trust our hitters to put the ball in play. The ground ball that Sano was thrown out on was the first out of the inning. Assume Buxton is thrown out at first instead, then the fly ball the next batter would have been a sac fly, and scored the run, and the Twins win. Fielders have shown over and over that they will make the throw home and get the out. You aren't "making them make the play" because it is easy enough for them to make the play.

            1. Yep. If it's 1st and 3rd with zero or one out, run home to avoid the double play. Or if it's a Baltimore chop, run home. But these routine grounders are just free outs for the defense.

  2. a 4 day break is just what this team needs. Get everyone healthier. Plus you cant play an extra inning game if there is no game scheduled!

  3. All I have to go by is the printed play-by-play, but why did Smeltzer come out of the game so early? 4.1 innings, 65 pitches, and it doesn't look like he was getting hit hard. If they'd gone with him longer, they would've had more relievers available, and wouldn't have needed to bring in Mejia to pitch the eleventh. Did something happen that doesn't show up in the play-by-play?

    1. I didn't see anything that looked like a good reason to pull him. Gave up a hit, and Rocco decided that was enough, I guess.

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