Did you know the LDS playoffs can go more than 4 games? Huh. I guess there still is baseball in 2019. Chat here if you'd like.
In baseball, there are real-deals, wannabes, and has-beens. But some players fall into a different category, the what-could-have-beens. After nearly a year on the disabled list, Phil Hughes makes his return to a major league mound today. One can't help but wonder what his career would have been like had he not been plagued with injuries. When healthy, he's been very, very good, but his career feels like one long series of rude interruptions. 2014 was without a doubt his best year; he won 16 games with a 3.52 ERA and a thoroughly ridiculous 11.67 K/BB ratio while garnering seven Cy Young award votes. I'm too old and jaded to expect Hughes to return to his 2014 form, I don't think anyone does. But if he can stay healthy and throw 160 innings or so he can still be a significant rotation asset for this team. Tampa sends right-hander Yonny Chirinos to the hill, he's got an ERA of 2.70 and 15 strikeouts, but he got touched for five runs in his last outing after pitching 14.1 scoreless frames over his first three starts. Play ball!
Santana (2-4, 5.53 ERA, 4.99 xFIP) vs. Karns (7-5, 3.44 ERA, 3.81 xFIP)
Interestingly, Santana's ERA and K/9 are the same. He's also not pitched well since starting his season. It'd be nice of him to reverse that tonight.
The Twins face Karns who's having a pretty good year. Hopefully that means he's not a middling Jeremy who will dominate the lineup. That said, I fully expect Sano to punch a couple holes in the roof at the Trop tonight.