Twins back at it after another disappointing outing by a member of the bullpen the night before. The J.A. Happ Experience against the Mariners righty Chris Flexen -- so hopefully the bats can mash more than what Happ gives up against a weak hitting team.
Another late one with a 9:10p first pitch at the ballpark formally known as Safeco Field.
Hello, friends, and welcome to another edition of Why Are You Watching This?
We welcome back old friends King Kenta and Luis Arraez. In a corresponding move, Pineda and Refsnyder will take a breather. Maeda will take the mound tonight for the first time since mid-May. Gonzales is working his way back from an injury, and like the Mariners, hasn't been great this year.
Episodes of Why Are You Watching This? have been sparely attended in recent days, and the west coast start time means this might be a single digit LTE affair. Oh well, maybe something amazing will happen.
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).
I thought this story about scouting during COVID and Flexen's journey from the KBO back to the major leagues was pretty interesting.
Game Time: 3:10 p.m. CDT
The Twins return from their season debut road trip with a 4-2 record and series wins against Milwaukee and Detroit to open the home half of their schedule against the Seattle Mariners this afternoon. Jose Berrios gets the honors for the Twins, returning to the mound for his second start sporting a 1-0 record, a 0.00 ERA and 12 strikeouts. Early notice among the position players this year goes to Byron Buxton, who is launching bombas like a boss (tied with Cruz for the team lead at 3 each) and boasting a slash line of .357/.438/1.143/1.580. Honorable mention goes to Luis Arraez, who is hitting .389 and getting on base every other at bat as the Twins' primary leadoff hitter. The Mariners feature Marco Gonzales (0-0, 7.50 ERA, 2K) in the starting role today. He's coming off a somewhat rough Opening Day in which he notched six innings but gave up three runs. He also walked three batters in that game after only walking seven all of last year. But enough of that. The game’s afoot: Follow your spirit, and upon this charge, cry - Play ball!
Seattle in town for a 3-game series and bring your glove if you're sitting in the outfield seats as both these teams on pace to demolish the season home run record. Seattle has 5 games in hand so their 1 HR lead may not hold however. I don't get how another team can have played 5 extra games by June 11th, especially since the Twins have made up a bunch of their early cancellations. Twins coming off a nice 6-4 road trip and now have 9 games at home, mostly against division bottom feeders. A 6-3 home stand would be great and really put the pressure on Cleveland to pack it in for the year.
Mike Leake on for the Mariners and he pitched a complete game in his last outing. For those who forgot, a complete game is where the starting pitcher goes the whole nine innings and gets all 27 outs, no relief pitcher comes in. Not sure teams could do that anymore but apparently Mike Leake just did that just last week. Not a big strikeout pitcher but has done well against the Twins over the past year. Martin Perez on for the Twins, and although he's come down from his lofty early season perch, has continued to pitch quite well for the Twins.
Kind of a rainy day and forecast calls more rain off and on but I'm guessing they get this one in. Back to 7:10p starts.
I think my aunt and grandma might be at this game.
Berríos on the mound. Most of the site destined for bed by about the third inning
Not me, though. Let's do this.
Michael Pineda (2-3, 5.35 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 40 IP, 35 K)
Erik Swanson (1-4, 6.35 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 28.1 IP, 21 K)
The 2019 MLB season debut of Miguel Sanó shifts Gonzalez to 1st and Cron to DH while leaving the remainder of the starters as expected. I believe Cruz is available off the bench too ... at least I haven't heard otherwise. I'm excited to get Miguel back with the big club, but I'm also very interested in whether a road trip can help Kepler get off the schneid.
Strange things are afoot at the Circled Dot. Despite cruising below .500 all season, the team still finds itself in second place in the AL Central. The pitching, which early in the year gave cause for indigestion, has settled in pretty nicely with both rotation and bullpen performing well. Over the course of the season, the hurling staff has notched a 4.22 ERA, good for an ERA+ of 101, or about as average as it gets. But while the pitching has trended toward improvement over the first two months, the offensive trend has been southbound with a bee in their pants and the boys are suffering through a serious case of assbats. Right now, the Twins offense combines for a total 4.7 WAR. As Beau points out in today's Cuppa, Mike Trout himself has delivered 4.9 WAR so far this year all by himself. I only eyeballed the math, but looking over the lineup the Twins offense right now is basically performing at replacement level. As a team, the Twins have achieved null VORP on offense in April and May. While some of that is driven by injury and actual replacement players in the daily lineup, most of it is simply under-performance. That's not sustainable for a team that wants to contend, and if not for the weakness of the division we'd be in an even worse position than we currently are. This is not a team that can win much with just a few guys contributing at the plate. It's time to burn every bat in the clubhouse and start over. Maybe sacrifice a chicken while they're at it. Berrios (5-4, 3.82 ERA) up against Leake (4-3, 5.46 ERA) on the mound today. I always feel like we have a good chance when José takes the hill.
Hey, it's the late show!
We'll see how many innings I get through before falling asleep on the couch, but hopefully the Odor is pleasing tonight.
Also, hopefully the team can be a little more inspiring tonight than they've been lately. I think they're approximately 1-25 when I've watched them, so this could be a bad sign.