So, when do pitchers and catchers report for spring training? It's hard to believe that a whole baseball season has come and nearly gone already. What began with such hope and promise in the spring eventually turned to vague dissatisfaction by midsummer and finally, after the non-waiver trade deadline, to widespread ennui. So now we can turn our full attention to shanked placekicks and human resources debacles and other forms of sporting entertainment and dismay. Gibson on the mound for the Twins today, the A's feature Trevor Cahill. Smoke 'em while you got 'em, gents - this pack is almost gone. Play ball!
This is the time of year when scarcity sets in. You realize that in a fortnight, Twins baseball will be done for the year. Generally this inclines me to watch all the Twins baseball I can get my eyeballs on, but this year I find myself caring less and less. The front office giveth, and the front office taketh away. The Twins send Gibson to the mound, and while we hope for good Gibby today, his best efforts could easily and might well be negated by the bullpen. Jakob Junis takes the hill for the Royals. It will almost be a relief when this season is behind us and we can all focus on curling again. Play ball!
Chase De Jong makes his Twins pitching debut today. Ian Kennedy takes the ball for the Royals. Or there's football, if you don't mind mixing sports and politics. Play ball!
Today the Twins will be doing their "Opener" experiment, sending Gabriel Moya to the mound to pitch the first inning only. Zack Littell will take over in the second inning as the "Primary" pitcher. The quotation marks are mine, intended to convey my high level of skepticism with this approach. The Rangers will counter with Yohander Mendez as their starting pitcher. I guess my point is that if you're going to experiment with opener and primary pitchers, it really doesn't make sense to be using as your primary pitcher a rookie who has pitched in just two games, who lost them both, and who carries an ERA of 18.90 to the mound. I don't see how much you're really going to learn from doing it this way with this particular couple of pitchers. I'm not opposed to innovation and evolution, nor to data-driven strategy, but until I see hard evidence that this approach will help the Twins win more ballgames, I'm going to cross my arms over my chest, shake my head and frown a lot, spit sideways in disdain on occasion, and shoo the neighborhood kids off of my lawn. Free Buxton!
Happy Berrios Day! Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we have no game.
The season is slipping away faster than I realized, just six week to go before the Twins are playing meaningful October golf. It's kind of nice not having to worry about making the playoffs anymore, you can just sit back and watch and kind of, well, you know, like, abide. Your blood pressure stays low, your heart rate stays regular. You can let go of this year's disappointments, and there were many, and just see what potential is there for next year. Tyler Austin can mash some taters. Miguel Sano is taking much better at bats with good results, he's lost weight and he's quick as a cat at the hot corner. I think he got the message his demotion was intended to send. We learned that a half season of Polanco is better than a half season without Polanco. Barring another freak injury we'll see Buxton ranging in center field soon, which is always good on the eyes and so much better than watching Jake Cave dive and flop like he's playing soccer. Forsythe is hitting so far over his head he wears his hat on his butt these days. Eddie Rosario continues to play like an All-Star, sporting a .295/.335/.496/.831 slash line. Kepler hasn't developed much beyond his first two seasons, hitting in the .230's, but still has performed to a very average 100 OPS+ and I believe he's still got plenty of upside betwixt his head and the ceiling. Joe Mauer can still hit and catch a little, and if the front office doesn't sign him to a new market-value deal I will pout like a three year old all winter. Falvey and Levine gathered a lot of young assets and shed a lot of payroll and in their trade deadline purge, and a lot more is coming off the books in October. We'll see what the brain trust can accomplish with all that money during the cold and dark part of the year because a lot of their bets from last winter went so far south that they could see the equator. Odoreater (5-7, 4.44 ERA) on the mound for the Twins today, he pitched well but not very long in his last start, going 5 and 2/3 with just 2 earned runs of 4 hits and 2 walks with 9 strikeouts. The Tigers send Jacob Turner and his SSS 20.25 ERA to the hill. Play ball!
Is it September yet? No, it's not, but it kind of feels that way with all of the new faces in the dugout already. Last night Tyler Austin made his Twins debut with a true outcomes triple play - a walk, two strikeouts and a two-run dinger. Today Kohl Stewart, the Twins 2013 fourth round draft pick, will make his first major league appearance. He'll face off against Matt Boyd, who sports a 6-10 record and a 4.33 ERA. There are still a lot of games left on the schedule, but at this point watching the Twins play is sort of like watching the sausage get made. Play ball!
No, Dude, not that kind of pot.
It was an eventful week in Twins Territory. It started with the approach of the non-waiver trade deadline and the departures of Eddie Escobar, Brian Dozier, Zach Duke, Ryan Pressley and Lance Lynn. In return the Twins got Logan Forsythe and a gaggle of farm hands, including a couple of power arms, that may or may not be the future of the team. TINSTAAPP. In addition by subtraction, Taylor (Whatsa) Motter was shunted off to Rochester because he plays baseball like Taylor Motter. To fill the holes left by trades, the front office recalled Miguel Sano, Addison Reed, Gabriel Moya and Trevor May. Somehow amidst all the movement and excitement, Matt Belisle and his 8.15 ERA/-6 RAR managed to elude the grim reaper and remains on the 25 man roster, a monument to the staying power of confirmation bias and mediocrity, I suppose. Over the course of the week the Twins won three games and lost three games and dropped another game behind the division-leading Clevelanders. So while we can safely settle our hopes and dreams of a postseason berth in for another long winter's nap, there are still two months of Twins baseball to watch before we turn our attention to football or basketball or hockey or curling or bowling or the occasional acid flashback for diversion. The week was finished off yesterday with the induction of Johan Santana into the Twins Hall of Fame. He will forever be the player by which Rule 5 draft picks are measured, and we tip our hats and raise our glasses to El Presidente.
Our present day pitching Santana toes the rubber for his third start of the season today as the Twins look to complete a sweep of the even more hapless Royals. Kansas City counters with Danny Duffy, so it's probably best to keep the brooms in the closet in the event of an assbat outbreak, at least until we we get into the Royals' bullpen. Play ball!
Congratulations to Gentleman Jim Thome, Jack Morris and the rest of the 2018 Hall of Fame class on their induction. Berrios on the mound today and the Twins need a win to split their 4-game series with the best team in baseball at the moment. That's all I got. Not sure how much enthusiasm I'll be able to muster for this team over the next two months. I guess that depends on how much more demolition the front office conducts before Wednesday. Play ball!