All posts by Can of Corn

September 20, 2019: Work Trips

Driving from the Cities to Owatonna and Preston today for a couple of Veterans Courts Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies in the 3rd Judicial District, then up to Duluth for the formal Dedication Ceremony for the newest MN Veterans Cemetery tomorrow. I’m excited about the trip - it’s the kind of travel I normally do (and appreciate) - but when my wife is gone for work, it’s to places like Toronto, New York and next month, Los Angeles.

Game 153: Royals at Twins

Magic number is still 7.
Montgomery on the hill for Kansas City.
Gibson toes the rubber for Minnesota.

Playing Kansas City, Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit in the final weeks of the season got me thinking. Every team in the American League Central has played in the World Series ... except Minnesota. Every team in the Central has made an appearance in the past 15 years (though the only teams to win it was were Kansas City in 2015 and Chicago in 2005) and in the entire league, only Seattle has seen a longer absence from the ALCS than Minnesota, by 1 year (Milwaukee, who made the NLCS last year, last reached the ALCS in 1982).

Not to put the cart before the horse - gotta win the game, then the division, then (lord willing) the league first - but I’d say Minnesota is due.

*corrected

Game 146: Nationals @ Twins

You’d like to see the fellas take 2/3 of these games against postseason-caliber teams. Let’s see what a ’healthy’ Kyle Gibson and a mediocre lineup (no Sano, Kepler, Gonzalez or Cave *edited to add Polanco (out for dental work)) can do when matched against a very good Patrick Corbin (Last 15 starts: 6-2, 2.29, 1.06 WHIP, 116k in 94.1 Innings Pitched).

Game 140: Minnesota at Boston

Let’s hope Pérez can get himself on track enough to make Game 9 of this road trip a ‘one-off’. Eovaldi has 7 starts and 11 relief appearances this season and sports a 6.23 ERA and a 1.57 WHIP ... perhaps the Twins can repay the early runs from last night? Also, I would love to see someone take advantage of the Pesky Pole and short walls in right ... lord knows they have more than enough pop.

Hate to see your #1 struggle, but as the great Mr. Aday would say, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad”!

Game 115: Cleveland @ Minnesota

This is the Battle for the AL Central (lead)
Perhaps the biggest series of the season (so far)
....so...
Make or Break?
Do or Die?
Win or Go Home?
All or Nothing?
Sink or Swim?
Now or Never?
Put Up or Shut Up?
...or...
is it just, "one game at a time"?

we shall see!

Kyle Gibson
-v-
Mike Clevinger

Game 102: Minnesota @ Chicago White Sox

Berrios
-vs-
Giolito

Minnesota & Chicago have identical 3-7 records over their past 10 games and both have lost two in a row. The difference being, the Twins faced the Yankees, Athletics, Mets (derp) and Cleveland while Chicago managed that against the Marlins, Rays and Royals. On the season, Minnesota has scored 576 runs and given up 468 for a run differential of +108. The White Sox have plated 418 and given up 514 runs for a differential of -96.

So ... you're thinking this should be a bounce back game series after the heartbreaker on Tuesday and non-competitive start last night? We'll see - 24-year-old Chicago Ace and former 1st rounder Lucas Giolito has seemingly "figured it out" over 19 starts this year to the tune of 3.14 ERA, 1.092 WHIP, 134 K's in 112.2 innings pitched. He's leading his team in WAR at 3.8 (a full 'Win' ahead of their #2 player, catcher James McCann). All that said, 3 of his 4 losses have come in his past four starts (though the lone 'W' in there was against the Twins on June 30).

After watching Twins starters struggle mightily over the past 10 games (only Gibson secured a starter 'W'), it'd be nice to see José Berríos get the group back on more solid ground. Unfortunately, Berríos hasn't won a start since June 6 (1-3 w/ 4 no decisions) though he has had some nice games where the Ass Bats© did him no favors - he's had 5 or more runs of support only three times in that span. We can only hope that the seemingly awakened Bomba Squad continues to hit; José - and the club - could use a laugher.

Game 95: Oakland Athletics at Minnesota Twins

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.