The Twins’ AL Central lead is down to 4 games, and for the second time in as many weeks, the Twins get to face the hard-charging A’s (55-41, 2nd in the West, 4.5 games in back of Houston, 8-2 in their last 10) while Cleveland (also 8-2 over their past 10 games) are looking to complete a sweep of the terrible Gardy’s (Detroit). CLE took 3 out of 3, June 21-23 & have won the first 3 of their current 4-game series ... yeah.
I’m going to focus on the pitcher tonight because the professionals on the offensive side of the equation have had their game scrutinized sufficiently over the 1st half. Though maybe they wouldn’t mind getting back to the April/May Twins as opposed to the last months-worth of games (scoring 5 or fewer runs 16 times in 24 games for a record of 13-11).
“Fun” statistical coincidence(?) and the perfect example of the mediocrity average baseball we’ve been seeing recently...
Last 10: 5-5
Last 20: 10-10
Last 30: 15-15
In his last start, Gibson managed to secure only 11 outs against Cleveland (July 12) before giving way to the bullpen in a game the Twins came back and win 5-3. Gibby is having a slightly better year numbers-wise than his career averages, but I’d certainly appreciate it if we see a start more in line with his June 14 blanking of the Royals - 8 IP, 2 H, 6 SO. I’d even take a start like his last winning performance against the Rays on June 25th: 4 ER on 7 H, with 7 SO scattered over 7 innings. We’ll see.
Weather permitting, today we’re looking forward to seeing Ryne Stanek (opener) v. Martín Pérez.
Stanek has started 22 of the 37 games he’s appeared in this season, with a total of 43.2 innings pitched.
Pérez, in his last 7 starts, is 2-2 with a 5.80 ERA, averaging ~5 innings per start with a WHIP of 1.65. His last start was Friday the 21st where he secured a ‘no decision’ in 5 innings of work, allowing Kansas City 4 earned runs on 5 hits and 3 BBs with only 2 strikeouts. To be fair, the offense only gave him 3 runs of support before tacking on 5 more during the 7th & 8th enroute to a come-from-behind win, 8-7 over the Royals.
Last night, Rosario sprained an ankle (no IL ... yet) and La Tortuga was placed on the IL with a left oblique strain (recalled OF LaMonte Wade Jr.) They did inserted Kepler as a late defensive replacement, but Buxton, Gonzalez & Adrianza are still on the IL. Their replacements have not embarrassed themselves, and the division lead being what it is, it’s nice to see them taking the recuperation time they need.
Winning series’s against the likes of Tampa Bay, Houston ... even Cleveland (and eventually New York and Boston) is what I hope to see over the remainder of the season. That being said, I certainly don’t mind another mid-season series against the Kanas City-type teams in this league - non-ass-bats make watching the individual games more enjoyable and (when they handle their business) continues their pursuit of the big prize: securing playoffs games & winning series’s in October. That said, watching career years out of our 1A & 1B starters is certainly worth the price of admission.
The 2019 MLB season debut of Miguel Sanó shifts Gonzalez to 1st and Cron to DH while leaving the remainder of the starters as expected. I believe Cruz is available off the bench too ... at least I haven't heard otherwise. I'm excited to get Miguel back with the big club, but I'm also very interested in whether a road trip can help Kepler get off the schneid.