The Twins’ AL Central lead is down to 4 games, and for the second time in as many weeks, the Twins get to face the hard-charging A’s (55-41, 2nd in the West, 4.5 games in back of Houston, 8-2 in their last 10) while Cleveland (also 8-2 over their past 10 games) are looking to complete a sweep of the terrible Gardy’s (Detroit). CLE took 3 out of 3, June 21-23 & have won the first 3 of their current 4-game series ... yeah.
I’m going to focus on the pitcher tonight because the professionals on the offensive side of the equation have had their game scrutinized sufficiently over the 1st half. Though maybe they wouldn’t mind getting back to the April/May Twins as opposed to the last months-worth of games (scoring 5 or fewer runs 16 times in 24 games for a record of 13-11).
“Fun” statistical coincidence(?) and the perfect example of the
mediocrity average baseball we’ve been seeing recently...
Last 10: 5-5
Last 20: 10-10
Last 30: 15-15
In his last start, Gibson managed to secure only 11 outs against Cleveland (July 12) before giving way to the bullpen in a game the Twins came back and win 5-3. Gibby is having a slightly better year numbers-wise than his career averages, but I’d certainly appreciate it if we see a start more in line with his June 14 blanking of the Royals - 8 IP, 2 H, 6 SO. I’d even take a start like his last winning performance against the Rays on June 25th: 4 ER on 7 H, with 7 SO scattered over 7 innings. We’ll see.
Day game after a clunker last night. This is the final game against the Mets. The Twins split the series in New York so need to win today to salvage a .500 record against a bad team.
The New York Metropolitans come to Target Field for a two-game interleague series. The Mets have had another disappointing season and signs are they may be dumping players at the deadline. Maybe Noah Syndergaard or Jacob DeGrom can change lockerooms before they move on from Minneapolis. Zach Wheeler, who was also probably on the trading block, goes on IR, so the Mets probably have no chance to trade him.
Steven Matz on the mound for the Mets and he's been not super great this year. Michael Pineda for the Twins and has been a 6 inning, 5 hit guy recently, which has been nice especially after a rough start to the season. Looks like a nice set up for a Twins win and hopefully sweep as the Athletics and Yankees line up for visits to Target Field later in the next 10 days.
Rain late afternoon but forecast looks like game will get in.
Twins Line up:
Win Probability: 45.4%
Momentum is coming off the All-Star break, beating Cleveland in the first two games to start the second half, and having Jose Berrios lined up to start the third game. Not that it won't be a contest as Cleveland has Shane Bieber on the mound. The two are pretty well matched. Both have eight wins on the year, Berrios has the lower ERA (3.00 vs. 3.45) but Bieber has more strikeouts (141 to 104). The Twins' division lead is back up to 7.5 games with a chance to make it 8.5 with a series sweep. After today, the Twins and Indians meet just ten more times. The Indians were on a pretty good roll before the break, making up ground at a fairly alarming rate, and a Twins win today would put a nasty hitch in their giddy-up coming out of the second half gate. Play ball!
Well, that was fun! Let's do it again.
I think Gibson is a decent pitcher, but he is prone to the type of game he had last night, where he just doesn't have it. Rocco realizing that in the fourth inning and taking him out probably saved the ballgame. That's the type of good decision making that adds up over a season and becomes magnified in the postseason.
It also turned "I don't have a good feeling about this series" to "hey, this could work..."
Trying to keep the good vibes going today is Jake Odorizzi. He's taken a bit of a tumble lately, bit I'm thinking that his true self is somewhere between the truly great April and May that he had and the significantly less good June where he lost his hold on the All Star Game start and, eventually, a couple of layers of skin on one of his fingers.
We all know this series is big. A win or (dare I even a think it) a sweep puts Cleveland back in their places and (hopefully) gives them a seller's mentality here in the next few weeks.
Cleveland counters with Trevor Bauer. He's been up and down lately after his strong start. The Twins got to him last time. Hopefully, they do it again.
I've got Kepler today, btw. Go Twins!
The Twins started the season with 3 games against the Indians. They won two of the three, and started their season off on the right foot. So there's some poetic scheduling happening here that they would start the 2nd half at Cleveland. A few wins would be a tremendous boost for the season. Nothing will really be decided this weekend, but man oh man does it feel like it.
So here we go. Do we have some real champs on our hands? This is where the fun begins. Sit down, buckle up, and let's enjoy the ride!
Time flies when you're having fun, and I think it's safe to say that Twins fans are having a lot of fun this year. So here we are, the last game before the midsummer classic. A cavalcade of injuries and some poor bullpen performances have slowed the team's winning ways with the hometown boys only playing .500 ball over their last ten games. Cleveland has cut the Twins' 12 game lead in the division down to just 6.5 games. That is far to close to spitting distance for comfort. The Twins need to put more space between themselves and the only real competition they have for the division title. Let's not forget that in 2006, the Twins were 11 games behind Detroit heading into the All-Star break. So the second half is going to be a race, maybe a tighter one than any of us thought a month or so ago and winning the AL Central is by no means a foregone conclusion. But it would be a boring flip side to the season if we just ran away with it. I like winning, but I like the challenge and the struggle of the competition just as much.
Kyle Gibson will man the hill to start today's game for the Twins. He'll be on a short pitch count since he had to step up and throw an inning of relief in the last marathon game, so the bullpen will get the lion's share of today's pitching work. The team called up Mejia and Smeltzer from Rochester to provide some fresh arms for today's tilt. The Twins will feature two catchers in the starting lineup with Garver behind the plate and Castro taking over DH duties for a banged up Nelson Cruz. The Rangers are also going with an opening pitcher arrangement today. Jose Leclerc will start the game and then make way for left-hander Joe Palumbo, who was called up from AAA Nashville. It's been a great first half, I'm looking forward to the second. Maximilian Kepler-Różycki is going to blast one out today, maybe in his first at bat. Mark it, Dude. Play ball!
Didn't see a game log. This is one. Go Twins!
Game starts about an hour late. The Twins division lead has dropped to 6 after several weeks of average at best play. Final series before the "half"way point of the season. Time to finish strong before a much needed break.
I got nothing - Happy Independence Day!