Day game in progress! Get well soon, Ervin Santana!
Colon vs. Gonzalez
DAY GAME ALERT! GAME IN PROGRESS!
So yeah, not much to say today. Buxton is hurt and that is bad for the Twins and bad for baseball.
It's July 20th and the Twins are still only (somehow) a 1/2 game back of the Clevelanders for first in the ALC. Its truly mind-boggling when incorporating the information that they just sent out an old-as-dirt Bartolo Colon to start a game. But hey, I'll take it.
Anibal Sanchez (1-0, 6.08 ERA, 5.58 FIP) vs. Ervin Santana (11-6, 2.99 ERA, 4.76 FIP)
The Tigers have entered rebuild mode (and abandoned fly-ball mode), which is sort of fun to see since they've been near the top of the division for a while now. That should hopefully make things a bit easier for the Twins to keep pace with the Spiders. I have to imagine we'll see Verlander trying on some new clothes fairly soon, eh?
Its always nice to host the White Sox after a disastrous home series against a good team. Hopefully they can complete the sweep this afternoon because they head to Cleveland tomorrow with Boston right after that. It could get ugly, folks. The White Sox are pretty crappy, so they should have no problem today.
Jose Quintana (3-8, 5.07 ERA, 4.35 FIP) vs. Nik Turley (0-1, 12.46 ERA, 4.75 FIP).
On the bright side, Turley's FIP is waaaaaaaay lower than his ERA, so maybe he's just been really unlucky in his first two starts? (also small sampe size). I'm not confident in that, so I'll go ahead and predict its going to require a good deal of runs today. Fortunately, Quintana hasn't been particularly good this year either. If you like good pitching, might want to cover your eyes for this one.
DOUBLEHEADER ALERT! I figure one game log can serve both easily enough.
Game 1: German Marquez (1-2, 4.88 ERA, 3.37 FIP) vs. Ervin Santana (6-1, 1.50 ERA, 4.19 FIP)
Game 2: Tyler Chatwood (3-5, 5.25 ERA, 5.31 FIP) vs. Jose Berrios (1-0, 1.17 ERA, 2.78 FIP)
The Twins definitely have the best combination of starters ready to go for today's day-night doubleheader with Santana and Berrios. Despite the crowded bullpen, not all of those guys are very good so having at least one of the starters go deep into their game will be a big help. The Twins also could really use some good starting pitching after getting a couple of craptacular starts in a row. I think we all knew pitching would be a weakness for this squad, and while maybe it isn't totally dire (Duffey, Breslow, Rodgers and Kintzler look to be mostly bright spots in the bullpen while the starters appear to be about 60% competent) we were pretty much correct as the Twins have accumulated -2.3 WAR from the pitchers so far this year, most of which can be attributed to the bullpen.
Fortunately, the new administration looks to be much more willing to make a change when it's needed. Under Terry Ryan 2.0, I would have expected another few starts being given to Gibson before a move was considered. It will be interesting to see what they do with Phil Hughes, who quite frankly looks like he's at the end of his career. He hasn't been good since his first year here and injuries look to have drained his velocity.
As for the games today, Santana rebounded incredibly well in his last outing coming off of his only bad start of the season to date. While I know he'll have bad games here and there the rest of the way, he looks locked in on the mound and gives the team that top of the rotation guy who can come in after a couple losses and give the team a good chance to keep moving forward.
Jose Berrios had a heck of a 2017 dayview that I wish had happened the first week of the season. But, can't change that. Hopefully he can build on that first outing and keep his confidence up on his way to mowing down some Rockies hitters. I haven't seen a ton of him over his young career, but he looks to be one of those guys that is a lot of fun to watch when he's rolling.
First game is at noon and the second is at 7.
DAY GAME ALERT!
Jharel Cotton (2-3, 5.00 ERA, 3.56 FIP) vs. Kyle Gibson (0-3, 8.06 ERA, 6.99 FIP)
The FIRST PLACE Minnesota Twins finish up the series against the A's at noon today. Quite a difference a year makes as the Twins were a depressing 7-18 at this point last year and, uhhh, it wouldn't get any better from there. It was starting to look like things were headed to 2016 there for awhile, but there's apparently nothing like the AL west (and the Royals) to help turn things back around. Even better, after the first two games of this series, the Twins are back to .500 at home.
Unfortunately, however, Kyle Gibson takes the mound today. I'm on record as preferring he lose his spot in the rotation to Berrios and be given a comfy seat in the bullpen. There's just something about the way he pitches that bugs me and the bad results certainly make that irritation seem much worse. Also, Berrios.
I don't know anything about Jharel Cotton, probably because he's only had 10 starts for the perennially irrelevant A's. It looks like he's struggling with command this year, walking 4 per nine. That should bode well for the Twins who've, from the eye test at least (too lazy to look it up), are showing a rather patient approach these days.
Trevor Bauer (0-2, 8.44 ERA) vs. Ervin Santana (3-0, 0.41 ERA)
As I was going to mention in my redundant game 13 game log that never got posted, it seems the off-season meeting between the Cleveland brass and the commissioner accomplished completely nothing as Cleveland is still wearing the logo on their jersey that makes me root against them.
Trevor Bauer takes the hill against the Twins ace and his magical chinstrap, Ervin Santana. So far, they are having basically opposite seasons statistically. Bauer is off to a rought start, although holes a 2.53 xFIP and a 4.00 BABIP, so luck may very well be what's preventing him from his usual mediocrity. I cynically expect the Twins offense to help with that.
Santana, on the other hand, is either benefiting from some luck with a ridiculous .074 BABIP and an xFIP of 3.75, which is right around his career average. Its either luck or the Twins deciding to go with an actual major league caliber defensive outfield is paying off. Probably a little of column A/B.
It'd be nice if the Twins could remember to not grab their ass-bats for this game. They could really use a win after this recent stretch of not beating the White Sox or Cleveland.
I didn't see anything, so here we go! DOZIER! WOO!
Jason Hammel (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Kyle Gibson (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
DAY GAME ALERT! (again)
Kyle Gibson takes the mound for the first time this year after a rough 2016. This will be an interesting start, though, as we'll get to see if playing four square during the offseason pays off. He's in the last year of his contract, so I hope for both his sake and the team's sake that it works. I have been cautiously optimistic heading into this year (because that's what baseball is all about, ammiright?) and the first couple games haven't done much to bring me back down from that. Of course, it's the pitching that is likely to crush our spirits.
I've been able to watch both games, which means I can give reasonably informed opinions backed up by eye-testy stuff. One of the things I've been most happy about in this SSST is Miguel Sano. Dude looks really good to start the year and I've been impressed by his patience. If it weren't for yesterday's wind he'd have a couple extra dingers.
It'd be really awesome to start the season off with a sweep of the Royals, so let's do that.
Schools across the state are closed today. Of course, they didn't announce it around here until after I got the Trinket up to start getting ready. She was pretty upset about it, which is both good that she likes going and bad that she gets really upset about something out of my control.
Humorously, though, the local news keeps telling us how terrible it is out there but showing video of traffic moving as normal...