All posts by TexasTwinsfan

Trade Deadline Thread. Oh and Some Baseball Game

Bartolo Colon vs. Somebody you never heard of, 3:10 p.m.

Rajai Davis? Really? And what is it about July 29th and the Oakland A's?

I wouldn't be surprised to see hugs in both dugouts today in the final full day before the trade deadline if trades hadn't happened before the game. Sonny Gray was originally supposed to be starting today but his start was pushed back till tomorrow after the deadline, which he's not expected to make, at least not in an A's uniform.

And for those who have been pleading for a complete fire sale by the Twins, you might want to take a look at the opposing dugout at a team that seems to be in perpetual selloff mode and see how much good it has done them.

Game 97: Tigers at Twins

Matt Boyd vs. Adalberto Mejia, 1:10 p.m.

Was Kyle Gibson really that good, or was the Tiger lineup without Miguel Cabrera and J.D. Martinez really that bad? Hopefully, we'll get another chance today to find out. Martinez is for sure gone, having been traded to the Diamondbacks. Cabrera didn't even pinch-hit last night in a tight game, so it would seem unlikely that he would be able to start in a day game after a night game.

Mejia hasn't been great this year, he's certainly been consistent and he's kept the Twins in almost every game he's started. His problem has been getting deep into games, although part of the problem is a manager who is unwilling to let Mejia pitch in the late innings with the game on the line. However, since being recalled from the minor leagues in May, the Twins are 7-4 in games started by Mejia mostly because Mejia has given up more than 3 runs only twice.

Game 91: Twins @ Astros

Kyle Gibson vs. Mike Fiers, 1:10 p.m.

When you are outscored 50-25 in a season series, you're really not supposed to win any games, let alone a three-game series, but that's what the Twins have an opportunity to do today. What helps is not having to face two of the AL's best pitchers in the season series.

Surprisingly, Gibson has had good success against the Astros, although he hasn't faced them this year. In his last 5 games against the Astros, he is 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA. The Twins are going to need more pitching like that if they want to have a chance at what would feel like an upset by winning the last two games against the Astros after the Twins' pitching staff was pummeled for 48 runs allowed in the first four games with the Astros this season.

Fortunately, the Twins are guaranteed to be no worse in their division than they were when the series started.

They'll also need to see more players swinging the bat like Brian Dozier has the last two games. With 2 homers in 2 games, Dozier has started the second half of this season like he did last season when he hit 28 of his 42 home runs after the All-Star break.


Game 88: O’s at Twins

Kyle Gibson vs. Ubaldo Jimenez, 1:10 p.m., CDT

Here we are at the final game of the first half, and if everything goes right today, the Twins could be in playoff position and only 1.5 games back out of the division lead. Regardless, the Twins are guaranteed to have a winning record and in playoff contention as the second half of the season starts.

The Twins certainly have been playing over their head this season, much like they did in 2015. However, this season seems to be a little different in that those making the important decisions for the team seem to be able to recognize that the Twins aren't nearly as good as their record and will need help in the second half if they are going to be able to take advantage of this seemingly magical run.

Management has said they will not trade away prospects for one-year rentals, which is a wise decision given their weak grip on their playoff positioning and the youthfulness of the team that expects to contend for years to come. However, they have said that they will be willing to go after players that will help them for the rest of this year and at least another year after that. This could at least make the last couple weeks of July a lot more interesting than it has been for the vast majority of the previous six seasons.

If the Twins are to stay in the race into September, they will need continued improved pitching from the back of the starting rotation, including Kyle Gibson, who starts today. The Twins will to see him throw more pitches in the strike zone, especially early in the count. He can't afford to work from behind and I can't stand to watch him nibble constantly off the corners.

With the signing of Bartolo "Big Sexy" Colon, who is expected to be called up after the All-Star Break to take the fifth slot in the rotation, it will be interesting to see what happens once Hector Santiago is deemed healthy. A pitcher will need to be removed from the active roster and someone will need to be taken out of the rotation if Santiago is to be put back in the rotation.

If the Twins do manage to stay in contention despite the long odds, it seems fitting that a fat, old pitcher with the nickname of "Big Sexy" would lead the run.

Game 81: Twins at Royals

Hector Santiago vs. Travis Wood, 1:15 p.m.

Today marks the end of a surprising first half for the Twins, who have clinched a winning first half already. There have been many surprising individual performances by the Twins in the first half but maybe none so surprising as Eddie Rosario.

Rosario had a nice rookie season, especially for age 23, but his K/BB rate made him a likely candidate for regression, which did occur last season and was bad enough that the Twins decided to send him down to the minors. In mid-May, he was demoted because of a .532 OPS. He finally earned a promotion back to the majors six weeks later and his first game was Game 81 of 2016, which is a year ago tomorrow. Rosario then proceeded to have an .812 OPS the rest of the season, which was an improvement on his numbers for his rookie season.

Rosario again got off to a very slow start in 2017, then got hot for a few weeks starting in mid-April, but cooled off again so that his season OPS was sitting only at .684 prior to the June 11 game. Paul Molitor apparently had seen enough because for the first (and only) time this season, Rosario started in right field with Robbie Grossman starting in Rosario's normal left field position. The next day, Rosario was on the bench with Grossman again in left field.

Whether Molitor was signaling that he was ready to make Grossman the starting left fielder with Rosario becoming the fourth outfielder or that Molitor was just trying to send a message to Rosario, either way, it worked. On June 13, Rosario blasted 3 home runs in Seattle and has been hitting well ever since.

In Saturday's game, Rosario had a career-high 5 hits in the second game of the doubleheader to bump up Rosario's OPS on the season to .799, which is second on the Twins only to Miguel Sano, who could very well be named the starting third baseman for the AL All-Star team today (6 p.m. CDT, ESPN). With the great hitting he did in the second half last year, this means that over the last 365 days, he has batted .297/.331/.473 for an OPS of .804.

What is probably most encouraging is Rosario's improved plate discipline. He has improved his strikeout and walk rates so that he's cut his K/BB ratio by more than half from 7.74 his first two seasons to 3.64 this season.

His heroics last night were really needed as the Twins were coming off a bad loss in the first game of the doubleheader when they blew a 5-1 lead with young ace Jose Berrios on the mound and had Felix Jorge making his major league debut in the nightcap. A sweep seemed a real possibility, which would mean the Twins falling behind the Royals into third place.

Instead, the Twins can look to salvage a split of the four games with the Royals with a victory today. Hector Santiago had his previous start cut short by a rain delay, and that was his first after being on the DL and his only rehab start was less than 50 pitches, so Santiago will have a pretty short leash today. By the way, Santiago starting means that all 4 Twins starting pitchers in this series are of Caribbean descent. Santiago was born in New Jersey but played for Puerto Rico in the WBC. Berrios was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Jorge and Ervin Santana were both born in the Dominican Republic. Adalberto Mejia is also Dominican, so Kyle Gibson is the only Mainlander currently in the Twins rotation.

Santiago's mound opponent today, Travis Wood, hasn't started a game at any level since 2005 and has an ERA over 6.00. Here's hoping the offense can take advantage of him enough to take pressure off Santiago and the bullpen today. If the Twins win, it will mean a winning roadtrip and they will remain all alone in second place in the division and no more than 2 games back of Cleveland.

Game 74: Twins at Red Sox

Jose Berrios vs. Chris Sale

The Twins have allowed 2 runs total in their 3 games thus far on this roadtrip and now have their budding ace pitching. I get the feeling that if Berrios has a dominant start tonight in a win over Sale that it will be treated as a sort of coming out party by national media. It could also be the start of him getting serious consideration for an All-Star berth.

Sale of course is very familiar to the Twins since he used to bleach his socks. In his previous 5 starts vs. the Twins, he has an ERA of 6.91. Meanwhile, the Red Sox have never seen Berrios.

Lineups as Joe gets the night off vs. lefty:



Dozier 2B

Escobar DH

Sano 3B

Grossman RF

Vargas 1B

Polanco SS

Gimenez C

Rosario LF

Buxton CF


Berrios RHP




Betts RF

Pedroia 2B

Bogaerts SS

Moreland 1B

Benintendi LF

Young DH

Bradley CF

Leon C

Lin 3B


Sale LHP

Game 73: Twins at Indians

Ervin Santana vs. Josh Tomlin, 12:10 p.m.

Exactly one week ago, the Twins were 1 game back of the Indians. Now they are 0.5 games back of the Indians, and yet it seems like their season has been dramatically turned around.

Today's game will mark the end of a stretch of 10 games with 7 of them against the Indians. When it began, the Twins had a 2-game lead. If the Twins win today, they will have survived this stretch going 3-4 versus the Indians and will maintain a slim 0.5-game lead. If they lose, the Twins will fall 1.5-games back after going 2-5 versus the Indians.

Of course, after getting pounded at home by the Indians in a 4-game sweep last weekend, it seems almost miraculous that the Twins are in such a good position now, especially since their best player, Miguel Sano, has been sidelined these last 2 games with a sinus infection, and their best 2 starters, Jose Berrios and Ervin Santana, have yet to start in this stretch against the Indians.

Santana will end that today, which means the Twins finally have a favorable pitching matchup, at least on paper. Of course, pretty much the Twins' entire season shows there's a reason why this game isn't played on paper.

After a dominating April and a good May, Santana has struggled in June. Tomlin has an ERA over 6.00, so it looks to be a slugfest today. Then again, the last time these two pitchers faced off, Santana won 1-0 by pitching a 3-hitter.

The Twins will need Santana to go deep into the game because the bullpen was asked to pitch 8 1/3 innings total in the previous 2 games. Manager Paul Molitor will most likely want to avoid using Tyler Duffey and Taylor Rogers and I really want hit to avoid using Matt Belisle.

And I really, really want him to avoid using Chris Giminez in the outfield again, so here's hoping that at least one of Eddie Rosario and Max Kepler is feeling well enough to play today.

Game 67: Indians at Twins

Trevor Bauer vs. Kyle Gibson

Remember when all the underlying numbers were saying the Twins weren't this good and we were saying, yeah, well it doesn't really matter as long as they are in first place. Yeah, those were good times.

If the Twins don't win today and the White Sox do, the Twins will be closer to last place than first. Time to call up the talent with real future potential.