(Checks MLB.com to make sure tonight's games haven't been canceled for a league-wide training on when a batter can swing at a pitch..... whew, we're still on....)
Brewers come to town for a three-game series starting tonight. This is usually where I gripe about MLB having the Brewers and Twins playing mid-week games instead of weekend games to accommodate more fans, but the pandemic has even taken that away from me this year. Don't worry, I double down on my venting next year if need be.
Maeda up for the Twins and he's been all everyone wanted: Three wins paired with zero losses; 0.72 WHIP, 21Ks v. 4BBs. Sure the competition hasn't been all that great but Maeda didn't create the schedule did he? Someone named Corbin Burnes for the Brewers and it appears he moves from the bullpen to getting the start. Likes the strikeout with 1.5 Ks per inning, but also will walk a bunch too. Should be a fun game.
First pitch at 7:10p A little birdie that Bert is back in the booth for those who watch with tv broadcast.
RF - Kepler
SS - Polanco
DH - Cruz
LF - Rosario
3B - Gonzalez
2B - Arraez
1B - Sano
CF - Buxton
C - Avila
Twins begin their 2020 home season schedule with a National League opponent for the first time ever which seems appropriate given this weird season. The St. Louis Cardinals should be pretty decent this year so a good gauge early on what the Twins could be.
Homer Bailey up for the Twins and let’s hope that he forgets to pitch to name. Carlos Martinez pitching for the Cards. He was a reliever last year but is going back to being a starter for 2020.
Game time at 7:10p with some early season opener festivities. At 8:46p a moment of silence for George Floyd and apparently there will be a memorial mural on the outfield wall in his honor. Don’t read the Strib comments!
So baseball’s back baby. Let’s continue what was started in Chicago.
Yesterday the Twins became the first American League team this season to win 50 games. Despite the recent rough patch the team has been going through, they've managed to maintain their status as the best team in the league and the distinction of not losing more than two games at a stretch. And it's not like we didn't all feel some regression to the mean creeping up on us. Odorizzi wasn't going to keep throwing endless shutout innings. The lineup couldn't keep scoring more than six runs with a couple of dingers every game. The bullpen has only so much smoke and so many mirrors. Guys are going to get banged up and go on the IL, sometimes when they've been riding a hot streak. That's the nature of a six month long season, ebbs and flows, high and lows, strikes and gutters. So yes, some ass-bats have been sneaking into the bat rack. Some gloves and arms have been temporarily cursed. There's been a higher than normal level of cerebral flatulence. But I think the Twins have shown remarkable resilience all year and will continue to do so, and we've seen a big enough sample now to know this is a good team with a good chance to make some postseason noise.
The Twins send Michael Pineda to the hill today to try to nail down the series win in this four-game set. He has not been horrible lately. In his last two starts he's thrown 11.2 innings and given up just two runs on seven hits. Homer Bailey will try to salvage a series split for the Royals. He's been a hot arm recently, throwing 13.2 shutout innings while giving up just seven hits in his last two outings. I feel like Polanco is due, so he's my stick to click pick today. Play ball!
Game 6 of a pretty successful (so far) 7-game West Coast swing for the Twins as they try for another victory against the Halos. Michael Pineda back on the mound for the Twins and while still definitely a 5th starter, there have been signs of life from Pineda over the past few starts, including a nice little victory last week against the Mariners. Pineda has not done well against LAAAAA in his career so look out.
Trever Cahill with his 2-4 record and 6.95 ERA for the Angels. He pitched last week against the Twins and gave up six runs in 4.1 innings so hopefully the Twins have his number. Cahill has also given up a MLB leading 14 home runs meaning the Twins’ boomsticks should be out in force tonight. It looks like
Ben Andrelton Simmons will be out for the rest of the series against the Twins. Too bad, He’s a fun player. I hope he gets back to raking once healthy (and the Twins have moved on). Ohtani has recovered and will be in the line up tonight.
Another west coast late start as first pitch is at 9:07p. Let’s get a nice little five run lead by the 3rd inning so we can go to bed a decent hour.
If you want some baseball before the Twins game, former Twins pitching stalwarts Tommy Milone and Lance Lynn will be facing each other as the Seattle takes on the Rangers. Check local listings.
So the Twins 2019 season has gotten off to a nice start with three strong pitching performances and taking two from the dreaded Clevelanders of Cleveland. Now the Twins travel on an extended road trip so that we can watch future games at Target Field in non-parka weather.
Jose Berrios on the mound tonight coming off a 7.2 inning, 2 hit, no run, 10k effort. More of that please. Twins play the Kansas City Royals who also won two of three at home from a division rival (White Sox). Brad Keller on the mound for the Royals who had similar numbers as Berrios in his first outing, but with half the strikeouts.
First pitch at 7:15p Central, weather should be pleasant with game time temps in the 50’s.
I'm actually happy that the Brewers are doing well, just not so happy that they've done so at the expense of the Twins this weekend. A quarter of the way through the season, the Twins are below .500, tied for second in the division at 2.5 games back and 6 games out of the wild card hunt, which doesn't seem likely to include the AL Central at this point. Starting catcher Jason Castro is gone for the season. Joe Mauer is on the DL with a neck strain and concussion-like symptoms. Miguel Sano is also on the DL, but started a rehab assignment with Rochester yesterday. Among the healthy players, Buxton, Wilson, Morrison and Adrianza are all hitting near or south of the Mendoza line. Garver, Kepler, Dozier and Grossman are hitting .250 or below. I'm not unhappy with the quality of starting pitching, but the rotation remains fairly inefficient, notching just 210.2 innings over 39 games - just a smidgen over five inning per start (I didn't include Hughes' 2 starts because he'll never be a starting pitcher). Meanwhile, the bullpen has been just bad enough to keep us from contending in the late innings of too many games. Overall, the pitching staff sports a 4.54 ERA (96 ERA+), 4.53 FIP, 1.39 WHIP, and a 2.27 K/BB ratio. On the mound today, Jake Odorizzi (3-2, 3.35 ERA) takes the ball for the Twins, while Junior Guerra (3-3, 3.08 ERA) will sling for the Brewers.
Day game in progress! Get well soon, Ervin Santana!
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!
Finally, more baseball. After a cold, wet, snowy homestand in Minnesota, the Twins go down to Puerto Rico to play to against the Cleveland [Redacted]. Besides being excited for baseball, it seems pretty cool that these two games are in San Juan. There are a number of Puerto Ricans on both teams (?? -- I didn't check Cleveland's roster) and after Hurricane Irma, any thing that brings positivity to that island is welcomed.
Jake Odorizzi versus Casey Kluber so it could very well be a pitcher's duel. Both have pitched well and have nice ERAs, Strikeouts/9 innings, etc. Couple with the fact that these two teams should be battling for the Central Division crown all year and we have a nice little series here.
Game time at 6:10p. Game on Fox Sports 1 so check your local provider for whatever channel that is.
Game two against the Astros and their murderer's row of pitchers. Dallas Keuchel has been decent this year with a 3.27 ERA and 0-1 record. He in fact responsible for half of Houston's losses this year. Jake Odorizzi on the mound for the Twins, and looking to add to his stellar opening day outing.
Game at 7:10. Will be a little warmer, but not much. Would be nice to get some hot bats to warm up the crowd.