Last week, as I wrote the game log, I was deeply concerned about the potential for a sweep -- and not the awesome kind we got treated to. The rotation is in tatters, all of the power hitters hurt or swinging wildly. We were going into a doubleheader armed with nothing but bullpen games.
And then, Saturday happened.
Now, it's all about getting ready for the Yankees. Wherever we end up facing them, the name of the game is putting this team in the best position to make it to the ALCS.
To that end, Berrios gets his penultimate warmup start tonight. I'm not expecting that he'll go very deep into the game. I'd hope that after six, they've got a big enough lead that they can give guys like Alcala and Hildenberger some face time.
They take on a Royals team that (shy of Soler) has basically folded for the year. The first two games have gone largely according to plan. Let's press on toward that sweep and, dare I say it, 103 wins.
This series is huge, but it might not mean anything if the lineup can't get healthy. And after last night, the umpires saw fit to waste a start by one of the few starters who's been doing ANYTHING lately.
It's not ideal.
There's (maybe rightfully) a certain sense of dread hanging over this series. Cleveland's got some deadly pitchers on the hill, and we've got....openers. you know what would cure that? A double header sweep!
Our favorite team has rattled off a six game winning streak, and they've done it with seeming ease. Oh, and base hits -- lots and lots of base hits.
This evening, the Twins will send Martin Perez to the mound. Maybe it's the lesser quality opposition (yeah... that's probably it), but Martin's been looking a bit better lately. They don't need him to start in the playoffs, but it'd be nice if he could capably fill his spot in the rotation until we get there.
There Tigers will counter with Matthew Boyd. There was a lot of trade speculation surrounding Boyd, but the Tigers appeared to want a ton in return. Looking at what Boyd has to offer.....I don't really see it. He's been fine, and he's got a couple of cheap years left, buy to put it in perspective, his FIP and fWAR are roughly the same as...Kyle Gibson, circa 2019. Who's giving up the farm for a couple of cheap Kyle Gibson years?
In short, Boyd's got nothing, and his numbers aren't going to get any better today. Twins are going to win this one in a walk. Cron and Cruz are going yard, and we're going to have a good game.
This is pretty clearly going to be a dogfight to the end of the season, but last weekend, things were looking pretty dire.
They still need to tighten up just about every part of their game (the defense,in particular, has looked really sloppy these last few weeks), but now that the Twins are taking on lesser teams, and now that the Clevelanders are taking on actual contenders, this thing looks doable.
Berrios takes on Jurado tonight. This SHOULD be a winnable game. Let's make it happen.
No way around it. Yes, Cleveland has done insanely well over the past 50+ games, but a double digits lead evaporated quick enough to make my head spin. It sucks.
But! We've still got the easiest schedule in baseball going forward, and I still feel that we've got this.
One of the most important pieces moving forward toward the division title takes the hill today. Odorizzi played like a deserving all star in the first half, and has played like someone who wants to go into free agency looking for a pillow contract so far in the last month or so. That needs to turn around. We need Buxton and Cruz, but it all begins with getting better starts from our rotation.
Hopefully, the home team will honor its best ever reliever (seriously, his 2006 in particular was insane -- Rivera never matched Nathan's 39 FIP-) by giving up a few obligatory baserunners, then utterly destroying all remaining batters on their way to a scoreless game.
Attempting that feat will be Kyle Gibson, and you know what? Good Gibby could accomplish that. In his 10 wins, he's been holding the opposition to a .544 OPS, coupled with a 2.44 ERA.
In his losses.... it's a .982 and a 7.52. I don't know for sure, but that's got to be up there in terms of game outcome splits. I still think he's your third starter in a playoff rotation, but I'd have Odorizzi standing by from the first pitch on.