Tag Archives: Rubber Match

GAME 65: Astros @ Twins

Once again, the Twins split Friday and Saturday's games and so come into Sunday with a chance to win the series.

The all rookie outfield of Kirilloff-Gordon-Larnach pulled out a win last night. Today we get Refsnyder-Celestino-Larnach. Hopefully the revolving door slows its spin just a little bit going forward.

Pineda on the mound for the Twins, he's had two short stats starts in June, so the seven innings from Berrios last night are really nice.

Game 52 – Kansas City @ Minnesota

Brad Keller v. Matt Shoemaker

The Twins started the month of May by scoring 7 runs in one inning against Keller. It's only right that they finish the month the same way.

In writing out the starting pitcher matchup, I can't help but notice that Matt Shoemaker is still in the rotation. Three of his last four stats have been good, and as long as the ball stays in the yard, he's finding a little success.

Yet another Sunday rubber match for the Twins. I'm pretty sure every Sunday game this season has come with the Twins having split the two games before them. So far Minnesota is 3-3 on Sundays, so the weekends have been pretty much a wash.

Game 46: Twins in Cleveland

J.A. Happ vs. Zach Plesac

Two pitchers who violate the WGOM style guide for the spelling of first names face off in yet another Sunday rubber match.

Miguel Sano has been very good at hitting the baseball lately. He's got at least one hit in 8 of his last 9 games, and in that time he has 2 singles, 3 doubles and 6 home runs (.333/.405/.970). Any time Sano has as many hits (11) as strikeouts (11) over a stretch, you know things are going well.

Game 38: A’s @ Twins

MIGUEL SANO got a hit!

MIGUEL SANO got a hit late in the game!

MIGUEL SANO got a hit late in the game with a runner in scoring position!

MIGUEL SANO got a hit late in the game with a runner in scoring position and it completed the Twins comeback from 3 runs down to take the lead!

MIGUEL SANO got a hit late int he game with a runner in scoring position and it completed the Twins comeback from 3 runs down to take the lead and then he went out and pitched a scoreless inning of relief in a high-leverage spot!

Man, what they say is true. Anything really is possible.

Game 33: Twins @ Tigers

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.

Game 26: Royals @ Twins

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.

Game 20 – Minnesota Twins v. Pittsburgh Pirates

Things are going well! Playoff spot has been clinched with plenty of season left, now it's time to get everyone in line for the postseason and ....

Hang on. I've got the wrong Minnesota team here.

(shuffles notes)

Ah! Here we are.

Everything is terrible! They'll never make the playoffs and there's not nearly enough season left for them to turn it around and play better.

Matt Shoemaker v. Wil Crowe

Winning this series against the Pirates would be a good place to start. To do that the Twins look to Matt Shoemaker, who has been bit by the home run early in this season.  Every run he has allowed so far has come from a home run, including a 3-run homer off Alcala that scored the two runners that were bequeathed by Shoemaker in his last start in Oakland.

5 home runs in 14.1 IP isn't really a recipe for success, but he's only allowed one other extra base hit.  So keeping the Pirates in the yard will maybe be an indicator of how this start goes.

Wil Crowe goes for Pittsburgh.  This will be the 5th appearance in his career (4th start).  He's pitched 9 innings in the majors and allowed 5 home runs and walked 10 hitters. In his lone appearance this year, he faced 5 batters. Two strikeouts, a single, two walks and two wild pitches.

Fangraphs says the following about Crowe:

[Crowe] works with below-average velo, he’s a below-average athlete, he’s had health issues ... and has now struggled during his first big league trial, at age 25/26. I wonder if his fastball will gain a few tick in relief, and I think it needs to based on how loose his location of it was in 2020.

Hopefully, the Twins can feast on Crowe.  And if they don't I guess I'll be ... eating ... crow?

(That was bad. I feel bad about that)

Game 9: Twins v. Mariners

Matt Shoemaker v. Chris Flexen

All three series the Twins have played have split the first two games. They've managed to win the rubber game in the first two series, and turn to Shoemaker to try to keep that pattern going.

Last time out, Shoemaker got quite a bit of run support, and only allowed 3 hits over 6 innings, so I say let's do all of that again and see how it goes.

Flexen is the first right-handed starting pitcher the Twins have seen this series. So far (in ~200 PA) the Twins are a little less successful at the plate against righties (.242/.333/.453) but an .786 OPS certainly isn't a bad thing, just less than their .854 OPS against lefties (~100 PA).

Further reading?

I thought this story about scouting during COVID and Flexen's journey from the KBO back to the major leagues was pretty interesting.

Game 3: Twins @ Brewers

Michael Pineda v. Adrian Houser

It's been over 600 days since Michael Pineda took the loss in one of his starts (July 16, 2019 vs. the Mets). You can argue that number is inflated by the general lack of games over that time period, but that wouldn't be any fun.

But in a general sense, Pineda has been incredibly consistently good as a Twin.  In his last 20 starts here's the distribution of runs allowed:

  • 0 starts with 0 runs allowed
  • 8 starts with 1 run allowed
  • 5 starts with 2 runs allowed
  • 5 starts with 3 runs allowed
  • 1 start with 4 runs allowed
  • 1 start with 5 runs allowed

His record is 9-2 in those 20 starts and he's got a 3.17 ERA. Perhaps more importantly the Twins record in those games is 16-4.

Adrian Houser had trouble missing bats last season, and all the projection systems at FanGraphs seem to anticipate that he will be almost perfectly average (4.30 ERA/FIP, 8.0 K/9, 3.0 BB/9).