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2019 Game 24: Orioles @ Twins

That Houston series was "disappointing", per se, but after that first game, it just seemed like they let some good opportunities pass then by. The bullpen looked weak and the Twins' aggression at the plate began to look very exploitable.

As it turns out, facing the Orioles is the best medicine. Last night, Alex Cobb pitched like he's trying to top Bert's home run record by the All Star break, and the Twins took advantage. At the very least, this seems like a team that can beat a lesser opponent.

Today's opposing pitcher, Dan Straily, has been having any the same level of success as Cobb has -- that is to say, none at all. Hopefully, our batters can take advantage of that and hopefully Berrios has a tighter outing today than he has in his last few.

This seems like a very winnable game. Here's hoping it sticks to the script.

2018 Game 162: Pale Hose at Twinkies

All good things must come to an end, and so must this season of Twins disappointments. But that's okay. You can't win 'em all. We'll get 'em next year. Since I'm working today and can't watch, I hope it doesn't turn out to be Joe Mauer's last game, because I'd hate to miss that. I'd like to offer a tip of the cap to eschapp for the game tickets Friday night. The Mrs. and I had a great time. Lots of early runs and layering were the keys. The Twins start Zack Littell today, Dylan Covey goes for the White Sox. I can't believe this is the last time I'll say it for six months or so, but... Play ball!

2018 Game 97: (Please Don’t Call Them) Twinkies vs. Royals

Now that the majority of the 2018 season is in the rear view mirror and we're nearing the 100 game mark, I thought I’d take a look to see how the key players added by the Falvine Brain Trust have fared to date. My gut told me that I was in for some disappointing revelations, and my gut is as honest as summer days are long. The front office put most of its focus over the winter on improving the pitching staff and more or less standing pat on position players. It was a solid strategy considering the Twins’ performance in 2017. But the results are far from what we’d hoped.

Starting with the starters, Jake Odorizzi has hurled his way to his highest ERA (4.54) and WHIP (1.446) since a 2012 cup of coffee when he started but two games and threw just seven and a third innings. In other words, when you cut out that small sample size appendage, he’s been having the worst season of his career. Not by large margins, but enough to make him a disappointment so far for fans looking for a much steadier rotation. Considering the Twins gave him a $2.2 million dollar raise over his salary last year with the Rays, it’s fair to say we’ve realized negative value from Jake so far.

Lance Lynn is the other off-season acquisition who has delivered below par value as a starter. With a 5.22 ERA and a 1.653 WHIP, he’s also having the worst season of his career. But to my mind, the more telling stat is his meager 1.65 K/BB rate, which again, is the worst of his career. His K9 rate is actually a bit higher than his career average, but he’s basically walking 2 more batters every 9 innings over his career rate.

In looking to shore up the bullpen, the front office prioritized getting a proven closer in Fernando Rodney. And according to the numbers, our newly naturalized citizen has probably performed closer to expectations than any of Falvine’s off-season pickups. His ERA of 3.12 and WHIP of 1.240 are 58 points and 10 points respectively below his career averages. He’s saved 21 games while blowing 5. That’s a ratio of 4.2 saves for every blown attempt, so not quite up to par with his career ratio of 4.5. In Rodney, at least, the Twins seem to have got the performance they bargained for, albeit with a $4.25 million price tag.

Addison Reed is another pitching get that’s gone mostly sour this season. He’s currently on the DL, but sporting a year to date 4.83 ERA and 1.439 WHIP out of the bullpen filling the role of Rodney’s setup man. How does that compare to his career averages? Not so good – 50 points higher on the ERA, and 25 points higher on the WHIP. With those results it must be hard for the front office to swallow the $8.25 million salary they gave him this year. It’s hard for me and it’s not even my money.

Zack Duke was supposed be another solid bullpen upgrade and for the most part he’s lived up to the billing, posting a 3.38 ERA (128 ERA+) that’s better than his career number by 90 points, though his 1.587 WHIP is higher than you’d like to see in a reliever. But that slightly inflated WHIP this year is more or less counteracted by Duke’s quite low 2.72 FIP, one of the best of his career and 66 points lower than his ERA.

With the new pitchers accounted for, we can turn our attention to Falvine’s main position player pickup, Logan Morrison. I like Morrison. He seems like a solid competitor and a good team player. But unfortunately, he’s been a pretty big bust as a hitter for the Twins. Brought in to spell Joe Mauer at first base with a power-up and anchor the DH role, Morrison’s slash line of .193/.287/.367/.654 is clear and away the very worst of his 8 years in the show. I have no idea what’s behind his struggles, but he’s certainly not earning his $5.5 million. As a fan I’m going to have a real hard time seeing the sense of it if the front office exercises their $8 million 2019 option instead of their $1 million buyout.

Coming out of the break, the Twins have dropped their first 2 games against a dismal Royals team that’s almost certain to lose more than 100 contests, while the Indians won their first two against the Rangers. That puts the Twins 9.5 games behind and takes a lot of wind out of the sails that were billowing nicely from that winning streak before the mid-season classic. Their return to the doldrums also makes them definite sellers with just 9 days before the non-waiver trade deadline, assuming they can find buyers for whomever they try to deal. The Twins send Odorizzi to the mound today, the Royals counter with Brad Keller who has pitched a lot better than his 2-4 record. Play ball!

Game 161: Tigers @ twins

We're almost there. For the first time in seven years, there WILL be October baseball that means something.

I'm hoping that this isn't my last game log for the year. It will be really nice if I need to half bake something for a game against the Spiders next Saturday.

Even if I don't get that opportunity, though, this year has been a success that I don't think any of us saw coming. There will be plenty of time to speculate about the best course moving forward, but for now, the best course of action is to drink another beer and watch the Twins beat up on a team that is decidedly tensing in the opposite direction.

Tonight, Slegermania takes hold again. I hope he's able to pitch however far into the game as the plan dictates. Also, some dude named Sanó gets to hopefully play his way into the Tuesday lineup.

If this it, then I've half-baked my last game log for the year. Go Twins!

Game 141 Twins at Royals

It would be great if the Twins could score a bunch of runs early and cruise to a victory. This late inning rally stuff is bad for the ol ticker.

Ervin Santana for the Twins. Ian Kennedy for the Royals.

Fun fact! Joe Mauer has 3 IBBs on the season, 2 in the last two games! I predict he hits at least two home runs tonight.