Fourth of July! Grab a cold beer, hotdog, drive your Chevy truck to grandmas and go watch some baseball just like Tom Jefferson told you to do some 247 years ago.
Twins play the unfortunately (for today) named Royals at Target Field. Maeda v. Grienke. Can't get any more American that that.
First pitch at 1:10
The Royals come into Minnesota for a three game series. Hopefully the Twins can get themselves back to .500 by the end of it.
The Twins are 5-5 in their last 10 games and 10-10 in their last 20. That pace is, of course, enough for them to pull away from the rest of the AL Central as no one else has more than 8 wins in their last 20 games. If they win today, this April will be one of only two 17+ win months we've seen from this team in the last 3+ seasons.
Feasting on the bottom of this division seems like a very solid and doable plan. So far, so good. Minnesota is 5-1 against the Royals, with the only loss coming because they didn't like nibbish's game log yesterday.
Hopefully this game log is more palatable. Sonny Gray goes against Brady Singer. One of these pitchers has an ERA that is 10 times larger than the other.
This series marks the beginning of a very important stretch of games for the Twins. We're two games into a ten game stretch of games against our central division rivals where the only opponent with a winning record is....well, nobody. It's the Royals and the Clevelanders and the utterly terrible White Sox. Then things toughen up against the Padres and the surprisingly beatable Dodgers.
All the time, this is our time. 7 wins in these 10 games won't be enough. These are three of the four worst offense in baseball (the other, of course, is the Tigers). Allowing so much as a runner in scoring position against these teams is nearly unforgivable.
You hear that, Over? I want a perfect game today. A. PERFECT. GAME. Get it done.
It seems reasonable to assume that the Twins will not allow any runs for the entire season. The sample size is getting larger every day! Joe Ryan takes the hill this afternoon with an 18 inning shutout streak to extend. Like all Twins pitchers, Ryan has not allowed a run all season.
Twins pitchers have walked 10 Royals in 2 games, which seems a little high. 4 double plays have limited the damage. and the shutout streak has been held intact by the Royals just not getting any hits.
Jax, Thielbar, and Jorge Lopez have pitched in both games this series out of the bullpen, but with a day off in between games, maybe they'd still be available today.
Byron Buxton is almost the entirety of the Twins offense so far. He has all of the Twins extra base hits and has scored 3 of the 4 runs. He continues to be just ... so good. Buxton and Vazquez each have 4 hits (.500/.500/.688), and the rest of the Twins roster has 7 hits total (.135/.220/.135).
The Twins face Brad Keller today. I swear this is the 30th time they've faced him in the last few years. Keller has allowed 24 runs in 6 starts against Minnesota in the last two years, a rate of 7.9 Runs/9 with a WHIP of 1.90. More like that, please!
Max Kepler is 7 for 19 with 2 HR against Keller in his career (.368/.500/.737).
Dick briefly mentioned yesterday on the broadcast that the Royals are working on getting a new stadium in the near future. I was surprised how much nostalgia I immediately felt for Kauffman Stadium. When we lived in Kansas for 3 or 4 years, we had a lot of great baseball experiences there, tickets were always available, the stadium is really nice, and I met a fair number of WGOM citizens there. We have talked about going back there with little G, as he has only been to that stadium in utero. Now all of a sudden that seems like it might jump up on the priority list.
Baseball is back. The winter was (err.....remains) long, but that doesn't matter now. Baseball is back.
And the Twins will probably be good! Buxton looks ready to go, we still, against all odds, have one of the best shortstops in baseball, and Jhoan Duran still throws a million miles per hour.
Today, it's Sonny Gray's turn to beat up on the Royals. I might actually be able to watch some of this one, so that will be a treat.
Opening Day greetings from Minnesota, the land that spring forgot. Outside there are still two feet of snow on the ground and there's a winter storm watch until 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning. Game time conditions in Kansas City, though, should be more pleasant, about 68 degrees and breezy. There's a reason our home opener is never on actual Opening Day.
To say last season was disappointing for Twins fans would be an exercise in understatement. So many things that could have gone right went wrong, and it far too often involved severe bodily harm to key players. By most accounting, if not for a plethora of injuries late in the season the Twins would have won the division. But those are the vagaries of the game that make it so maddening and endearing, and keep us coming back for more year after year.
You generally put your ace starting pitcher on the mound for Opening Day. For Kansas City, that means Donald Zachary Greinke and his 223 career wins, 2882 strikeouts, and 3.42 ERA. It will be the seventh Opening Day start of his career. The Twins, I believe, selected their Opening Day starter by draw and Pablo Lopez pulled the short straw. He'll go to the mound for his first ever Opening Day start with 28 career wins, 489 strikeouts, and a lifetime 3.94 ERA under his belt.
I have no prognostications to offer for how this season will go for the Twins, my crystal ball is perpetually hazy these days. Conventional wisdom says don't be surprised to see the Twins and Guardians battling it out for the division title again come September, but every season starts with a big old question mark. If we're lucky along the way and enough things go right, we get to end it with a giant exclamation point.
We still doing these? Well I am. Twins look to lick their wounds against the Royals once again. Dylan Bundy v. Zach Grienke (who I think has pitched every game for the Royals against the Twins).
Twins Tragic Number: 9
First Pitch: 7:10p
Carlos Correa remains scorching hot at the plate