So baseball teams are hitting a lot of home runs so far this year, about five percent more than in the most prolific season ever for dingers, and that in the coldest part of the season when balls aren't supposed to carry so well. Apparently the balls have lower drag, which would mean the stitches are not as raised. That would also impact pitchers' ability to get better movement on their throws. Few teams in the game right now are mashing the baseball as well as our own hometown nine. After just a month of games, the Twins have the third highest batting average in baseball (.269), behind only Houston and St. Louis. Their on-base percentage is much lower, 13th in the majors and only nine points above average. But the boys have been bringing out the boomsticks with the team sporting a .514 slugging percentage, the best in the game, and that's good enough to put them atop all teams in OPS at .849 as well. While Eddie Rosario has been en fuego at the plate, it's actually Jorge Polanco who leads the team in OPS at 1.033. Shoot, Eddie's .970 OPS isn't even good enough for second place, which is held by Nelson Cruz at 1.022, one step ahead of Edisito. In fact, the only regular position player on the team right now with an OPS+ below 100 is Marwin Gonzales, who sticks out like Michael Pineda's butt with a 30 OPS+ (Adrianza's sucking the nipple nearest the ass with an OPS+ of just 14). But Rosario does lead the American League in home runs with 11 (third in MLB), and is second in the league in ribeyes with 24, which averages out to one run poked in per game.
On the mound, Jose Berrios is the team's clear ace with a record of 4-1, a 2.97 ERA, 41 strikeouts and only 8 walks. Not only is he pitching the best, he's pitching the most, logging one out above 39 innings pitched, 13 more that the second best innings eater on the team, Martin Perez. Today the Twins send Kyle Gibson to the hill for his fifth turn through the rotation. He's been inconsistent at best, compiling a 6.10 ERA over 20.2 innings. For a guy who seems real reluctant to pitch to contact, he's done his fair share of it, and he's given his share of free passes, too, which accounts for his 1.500 WHIP. Hopefully the offense can provide him plenty of support today and allow him to be more aggressive in the strike zone, which should let him pitch deeper into the game. Not a bad bet considering nearly half of the Twins home runs this year have come at the hands of Baltimore pitchers. The Orioles today are starting Dylan Bundy (who according to BR is a rare switch hitting pitcher). Bundy has no wins and three losses in five starts with a 6.56 ERA. He's also given up one home run for every ten outs he's managed to notch. The sky is fair at Target Field today, a high temperature in the upper 50's is expected, the concrete is most definitely dry and the boomsticks are fully loaded. Play ball!
That Houston series was "disappointing", per se, but after that first game, it just seemed like they let some good opportunities pass then by. The bullpen looked weak and the Twins' aggression at the plate began to look very exploitable.
As it turns out, facing the Orioles is the best medicine. Last night, Alex Cobb pitched like he's trying to top Bert's home run record by the All Star break, and the Twins took advantage. At the very least, this seems like a team that can beat a lesser opponent.
Today's opposing pitcher, Dan Straily, has been having any the same level of success as Cobb has -- that is to say, none at all. Hopefully, our batters can take advantage of that and hopefully Berrios has a tighter outing today than he has in his last few.
This seems like a very winnable game. Here's hoping it sticks to the script.
Oh hey, that's right, I said I'd do Friday game logs this year. This is just the second actual Friday game they've played so far, so I've not developed the habit.
Cobb for Baltimore, Perez for the Twins, and hopefully this weekend makes up for a few tough losses in Houston.
Kohl Stewart makes his 2019 debut trying to win the rubber game of the series. He brings a 6.00 ERA from Rochester, most it it from his previous start. He surrendered six runs over 4.1 innings.
Verlander meanwhile is lossless and continuing his late career resurgence into 2019. After a promising start to the series, I'm feeling less confident about winning it now. But now is as good a time as any to break that lack of losing streak!
Twins up against the Astros again after a nice mashing last night. Michael Pineda up for the Twins and he has done as well as expected through four games with a 2-1 record and almost a SO per inning. Also at 6’7”, 265 lbs, I wonder if he had been born in the United States if Pineda would have played football or basketball, the dude is huge. Wade Miley on the mound for the Astros and if you’ve been forgoing anything in a Lent-like fashion until the Twins faced a lefty starter, well today is the day you can finally partake. Congratulations on getting this far with that. Miley has been serviceable but doesn’t throw a ton of strikeouts. He has held opponents to 3 earned runs or less for 20 straight starts, so he’s got that going for him. Which is nice.
Important game for the Twins to win as Verlander up for the ‘Stros tomorrow. Be nice to get a win tonight and not have to worry about Wednesday’s game. First pitch at 7:10p.
Twins Line Up:
The first place Twins come into Houston to play the second place Astros. Odoreater is coming off a decent start against the Blue Jays and has a decent career line against the `Stros. Will he nibble himself to death against a tough lineup? We will see.
The Twins did not have a fun visit to the Space City last year, getting swept and outscored 18-4. Let's hope their rejiggered lineup will have better results.
One last bit of randomness: after a truly half-baked search, I can't find what Peacock's middle name is. Only a middle initial of "J".
Continue reading 2019 Game 20: Minnesota Twins vs. Houston Astros
First Pitch - 12:05 CDT
This has been one of those rare and eventful spring weekends when Passover, Easter, my birthday and unofficial weed day all align on the calendar. On top of that, we enjoyed our first day of the year above 70 degrees here in the Twins Cities, reaching a sunny 78 above zero yesterday. What's more, after a Friday rain-out the Twins won both ends of a Saturday double header against Baltimore, the first in a 6-5 squeaker that saw Jose Berrios pick up his third W of the season despite not having his best stuff, and the second a 16-7 laugher in which the Twins tied a team record for most home runs in a game*. All in all, the twin bill was as sweet, savory and satisfying as a big platter of Boog's barbecue. The end of the night witnessed the Twins perched atop the AL Central and the Orioles inhabiting a blogger's abode in the basement of the AL East.
Today's tilt features two northpaws on the mound as the Twins look to complete a sweep of the rather hapless Orioles, sending Kyle Gibson to the dirt pile for his fourth start and in search of his first decision of the season. After an impressive campaign last year (10-13, 3.62 ERA, 3.8 WAR) that saw him consistently attack the strike zone and challenge hitters, Gibson seems to have reverted to his nibbling ways. To be fair, I thought he got a bit squeezed by a tight strike zone in his last start, but he also failed to adjust to the indented corners the umpire established right off the bat. Nobody doubts that Gibson has major league stuff at this point, but to my view he needs to take a lesson from a hurling Gibson of yore, wrinkle his brow, fix a steely glare in his eye, throw the living fire out of the ball and work hitters hard inside with far more frequency. Baltimore sends Dylan Bundy to the hill today. In four previous starts he's compiled a record of no wins and two losses and a robust 7.79 ERA, but he has notched 22 strikeouts. So break out the brooms and let's git 'er done, boys. Play ball!
* A preponderance of early-season dingers has many observers of the game speculating that Rawlings is once again manufacturing baseballs with a tad more juice in them this year.
The Twins are coming off losing a fairly disappointing series against a very beatable Blue Jays team. Every game felt winnable, but they were only able to seal the deal once.
THANKFULLY, the Orioles seem as beatable, if not more so.
Let's see if Polanco can't continue his crazy run, and if they can't bring out the brooms for a doubleheader sweep today. Continue reading 2016 Games 17 & 18: Twins @ Orioles – Let’s play two!
Buchholz vs Pineda
Tortuga behind the dish in place of Castro and batting 7th (bumping Schoop down a spot), but otherwise the lineup looks like last evening’s successful bunch.
Pindeda’s innings pitched in his first three starts have gone 4, 5 & 6. Rocco & the Bullpen certainly wouldn’t mind if he continued that trend with 7 (or 8 or 9) innings this afternoon.
Salvage the Split!!!
Let’s right the ship & split the series.