Another Sunday game, another rubber match. The Royals and Twins have matching 8-run wins so far in this series. This game won't have to be all that close to be the biggest nail-biter of the series.
Jose Berrios v. Brad Keller
The fact that Alex Kirilloff is already getting comfortable against the Royals fills me with gladness. Here's to many long years of constant dingers against a division rival.
The Twins are 8-15. The Royals are 15 - 8. The Twins were expected to dominate most teams. The Royals were not. The Twins have stars and players you have heard of. The Royals have... I suppose a 25 man roster?
The last few years it has seemed like the Royals played the Twins harder than most teams. Even when they were winning, the Twins really had to work for it. Let's hope this year reverses that trend too, with dominant Twins wins.
For the Twins Pineda will be taking the hill, looking to bounce back from a rough outing last time, but still sporting some excellent numbers overall. Brady Singer will be pitching for the Royals. Keeping up the mirror theme, he had his best outing of the season last time (though he hasn't been a slouch overall), so hopefully he also bounces back to serve up a ton of dingers this game.
The Twins and Royals close out their series on this Monday eve (huh). Twins have taken two of three so far in this series, "The Battle for 4-2". Every game has ended in that score so far.
Wisler and his funky looking elbow will get the "start" for the Twins. Bubic is making his fourth major league start and his first against the Twins.
Apparently the Royals were none to pleased at Romo's self-celebration at the end of yesterday's game. In a game without fans, everyone can hear everything and such. We'll see if any of that carries over into today's game.
Josh Donaldson goes to the IL. Dang
What a difference a week makes.
Last week, as I wrote the game log, I was deeply concerned about the potential for a sweep -- and not the awesome kind we got treated to. The rotation is in tatters, all of the power hitters hurt or swinging wildly. We were going into a doubleheader armed with nothing but bullpen games.
And then, Saturday happened.
Now, it's all about getting ready for the Yankees. Wherever we end up facing them, the name of the game is putting this team in the best position to make it to the ALCS.
To that end, Berrios gets his penultimate warmup start tonight. I'm not expecting that he'll go very deep into the game. I'd hope that after six, they've got a big enough lead that they can give guys like Alcala and Hildenberger some face time.
They take on a Royals team that (shy of Soler) has basically folded for the year. The first two games have gone largely according to plan. Let's press on toward that sweep and, dare I say it, 103 wins.
Magic number is still 7.
Montgomery on the hill for Kansas City.
Gibson toes the rubber for Minnesota.
Playing Kansas City, Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit in the final weeks of the season got me thinking. Every team in the American League Central has played in the World Series ... except Minnesota. Every team in the Central has made an appearance in the past 15 years (though the only teams to win it
was were Kansas City in 2015 and Chicago in 2005) and in the entire league, only Seattle has seen a longer absence from the ALCS than Minnesota, by 1 year (Milwaukee, who made the NLCS last year, last reached the ALCS in 1982).
Not to put the cart before the horse - gotta win the game, then the division, then (lord willing) the league first - but I’d say Minnesota is due.
Happy Joe Nathan Day!
Hopefully, the home team will honor its best ever reliever (seriously, his 2006 in particular was insane -- Rivera never matched Nathan's 39 FIP-) by giving up a few obligatory baserunners, then utterly destroying all remaining batters on their way to a scoreless game.
Attempting that feat will be Kyle Gibson, and you know what? Good Gibby could accomplish that. In his 10 wins, he's been holding the opposition to a .544 OPS, coupled with a 2.44 ERA.
In his losses.... it's a .982 and a 7.52. I don't know for sure, but that's got to be up there in terms of game outcome splits. I still think he's your third starter in a playoff rotation, but I'd have Odorizzi standing by from the first pitch on.
Gotta stick with Cruz for a boomstick tonight.
Winning series’s against the likes of Tampa Bay, Houston ... even Cleveland (and eventually New York and Boston) is what I hope to see over the remainder of the season. That being said, I certainly don’t mind another mid-season series against the Kanas City-type teams in this league - non-ass-bats make watching the individual games more enjoyable and (when they handle their business) continues their pursuit of the big prize: securing playoffs games & winning series’s in October. That said, watching career years out of our 1A & 1B starters is certainly worth the price of admission.
Odorizzi vs. Sparkman
We start Joe Mauer Number Retirement Weekend with Purple Prince Twins Jersey Night at Target Field. Man, this is a good weekend for Minnesota stuff, isn't it? Prince and Mauer? Nice. Also, our town just got a Townball team, and they wear purple jerseys, and their first ever home game is tonight too. So this is one of those fate things, right? Gonna be a great weekend for Minnesota baseball.
Let's hope the team can get going on an actual winning streak here tonight. They're pitching Gibson, who didn't do so hot against KC when he faced them in April (4.2 innings, 5 earned runs in a game the Twins ultimately won 7-6). But that was April, and no one knew the Twins were the best team in baseball back then, so I expect the Royals will just lay down this time for Kyle.
Meanwhile, the Twins are going to be purple raining bombas all over the place, and hopefully everyone can just sit back, relax, and enjoy a beautiful Minnesota summer weekend. This is the good life.