Well, our welcome to the second half of the baseball season didn't go so well. Let's try this again.
The Twins get a rough draw to open up the second half, facing the devastating Astros, the always dangerous Yankees, and the team with the actual best record in baseball (the Dodgers) in rapid succession. If we're still even talking about wild cards and playoffs after July 26th, then either this stretch of games will have been a huge success, or Cleveland's will have been an unmitigated disaster.
Tonight, the Twins send All Star Ervin Santana out against Joe Musgrave. Santana had a solid start the last time he faced Houston, but then again, his ERA since that start has been 5.19, so who knows? The Twins are going to need a good start from him.
The second half begins! The Twins are in the hunt for a division title or a wild card slot, but I am thinking there is not enough starting and relief pitching to get the Twins there. I know, a scorching take right there.
One pitcher I trust is Jose Berrios. He starts tonight so thats good. But the Twins are playing the best team in the AL, the Houston Astros.
Maybe we'll sweep the 'Stros like they swept us at Target Field!
After their third loss in a row, the Twins are still (technically) atop the AL Central.
Hopefully, they can avoid a sweep here against the best team in baseball. It could happen.
Jose Berrios on the mound for the Twins and let's hope it's the 2017 version and not the Berrios from 2016 as I don't think anyone can stomach anymore of the Twins bullpen. Mike Fiers for the Astros. Buxton back in the line up too.
Rain, rain go away
Come again another day:
Little Jose wants to play
Twins score 5 runs off 2015 Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel, including a leadoff homerun by Brian Dozier, and win it going away!
"You get off to a good start against a good pitcher and you've got your best guy out there and you've just got to wipe it off the slate," Twins manager Paul Molitor said, with a hint of weariness in his voice. "Unfortunate. Good for them."
Apparently, last night's tilt was just for funsies, not an official game, and will be replayed tonight featuring bullpen residents Tommy Milone and Chris Devenski on the mound.
The day game features
every immature person's favorite giggle-inducing, unfortunately-named veteran Doug Fister (10-7, 3.47 ERA) facing 22-year-old rookie Jose Berrios (2-2, 8.31 ERA), who is hoping to notch his 3rd big league win (and second against the Astros). Berrios's best Game Score thus far is a rather timid 57 (his first major league win vs Houston), while his opponent has accrued 8 games with GSc's of ≥60, with a record of 7-1 in those contests this year.
Bring 'em home, boyos!
Sorry, I just like it when it's 11:11. Anyway, some good ol' boys from Texas are in town, and that's about all the time I have to tell you about it.
Enjoy the game!
Joe Mauer was getting a day off (He has played in 125 of 128 games and only batting .231 against Scott Kazmir) and Miguel Sano getting a day off because of a tender hamstring. Well, the regulars and fills in made do and scored enough runs to get the Twins another win this week.
Eduardo Nunez replaced Sano and he hit a home run and got another RBI on a fielder choice (and really a nifty play by Jose Altuve. Made the stop deep to his right and threw an off balance throw to get Nunez by a half step). Torii Hunter drew a bases loaded hit-by-pitch to get the other run.
Kyle Gibson was OK, going 5 2/3 scattering 4 hits, issuing 4 walks, and striking out 4. The bullpen then went to work with Glen Perkin coming in the game in the 7th and striking out two. He looked like his pre-All Star Game form striking out two. Trevor May's assortment of 95 mph fast balls and dipsy-do curveballs pitched a clean 8th. Kevin Jepsen made things hairy in the 9th but got enough outs to preseve the shutout.
-The Twins won a game despite only getting 3 hits. Two of those hits were for extra bases.
-Eduardo Nunez had a "whoopsie" moment when he tossed a ball towards first base and it ended up somewhere near the State Fair.
- After getting swept by New York the Twins have won 7 of the last 8 games.
- Kevin Jepsen notched his 4th save in a Twins uniform. Other notable pitchers 4 saves: John Candelaria, Hector Carrassco, Mark Portugal, Pete Filson.
- Kyle Gibson made his 67th career start as a Twin. That is 38th on the Twins list. If he pitches one more full season, he will crack into the Top 25. I find that fascinating because to me it goes to show how much roster turnover the Twins have had. Although Nick Blackburn made 137 starts and is 16th on that list, so sometimes stability is not the best.
I think the phrase "biggest game at Target Field in 5 years" is a bit overblown, but hey its sports, everything is hyperbole!
No Mauer (tough matchup against Kazmir) and no Sano (tender hamstring) tonight for the Twins. Kind of a bummer, but whatever the Twins have dealt with worse. Like the evaporation of a starting pitcher getting more than 15 outs.
Kyle Gibson will try to buck that trend, again.
Joe Mauer got his hit out of the way early
Tonight we commence a three-game set against the Astros and we get something old and something new. The something old is Joe Mauer, returning to the team after a minor league rehab assignment in Cedar Rapids stemming from an injury to his right oblique. Mauer had a 12-game hitting streak going before the injury.
The something new is starting pitcher Tommy Milone, acquired from Oakland for Sam Fuld just before the non-waiver trade deadline. Milone this year sports a 3.55 ERA and is giving up just 8.5 hits per 9 innings, which are career high marks in both categories. Unfortunately, his strikeout rate has declined from 7.3 to 5.7/9 innings, but he is still posting a 1.215 WHIP, the lowest of his career so far. Houston counters with Brad Peacock, who has amassed a 16.00 ERA in his last three games. That compares to a 3.71 ERA over his first 11 starts this year for the 26-year old righthander. Play ball!