That last game 82 didn't really go like the previous 6 or 7. Time to move on to game 92 today with J.A. Happ taking on Wily Peralta.
Jorge Polanco in July - .269/.304/.462
He's doing the whole "no walks, but more power" thing that he does sometimes, this right after drawing 6 walks and having two extra base hits in the last 10 games in June.
Max Kepler in July - .297/.350/.703
Any split that has Kepler hitting almost .300 is pretty remarkable. This is including his 0 for 5 yesterday.
Kenta Maeda v. Matthew Boyd
I feel like the Twins have faced Matthew Boyd at least once a week for the past 6 years (checking b-r, and ... yep this will be his 274th career start against Minnesota). He's coming off a start cut short by injury and a skipped turn in the rotation so he hasn't pitched since April 29.
Another Sunday means another rubber match for this series. I think a series win over the Tigers is a pretty reasonable aspiration.
Twins back battling the White Sox in the first game of a three game series. This was supposed to be the middle of the "easy" part of the schedule but the White Sox have been playing well lately and are now on track to lose less than 90 games this season. Lucas Giolito on the mound for the Sox and he has been anything but easy. 1.09 WHIP, 11.5 so/9 innings, batters with an OPS of .636 against Giolito this year. Plus he was just dominate against the Twins last week; they had no chance in Giolito's 3-hit, 9 shutout inning performance. Hopefully with some familiarity the Twins can get something going tonight. Pineda up for the Twins and you just never know with this guy. Fortunately the bullpen appears to be well rested.
Should be a gorgeous night for baseball tonight on the Southside. First pitch at 7:10p Cleveland plays Detroit this week so a good effort is needed to keep the hammer down on those dreaded Spiders.
This is the Battle for the AL Central (lead)
Perhaps the biggest series of the season (so far)
Make or Break?
Do or Die?
Win or Go Home?
All or Nothing?
Sink or Swim?
Now or Never?
Put Up or Shut Up?
is it just, "one game at a time"?
we shall see!
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!
Don't look now, but Jake Odorizzi (7-2, 2.16 ERA) is the best pitcher in the Twins starting rotation by just about any set of numbers you peruse, and one of the best in the game as of today. The ESPN Cy Young Predictor currently ranks him fourth, behind Justin Verlander, Roberto Asuno and Domingo German, and just ahead of our own Jose Berrios. That's two Twins starters with a legitimate shot at the Cy Young award. We haven't enjoyed rotation riches like this since Santana and Liriano combined to light up the league back in 2006. Odorozzi starts his 12th game of the year for the Twins today. The Rays will start lefty Ryan Yarbrough (4-1, 5.53 ERA), who struggled early in the season but rebounded after a recent minor league stint. Yarbrough's given up just two combined runs in his last two starts since being recalled from AAA Durham. Play ball!