We’re back in sunny Minnesota this week, in our reboot of the 2020 regional schedule (no? Just me feeling that way? OK). Last weekend’s homestand finale vs. the Royals was kind of rocky, to say the least. Highlights include a collision on Friday, questionable umpiring on Saturday, shaky control, and a dominant Cease.
Let’s forget all that happened and dive into a new-ish series against the Minnesota Twins this week.
How’s it Going for the Enemy: Dumpster Fire?
Minnesota’s downward spiral is continuing, and it is tied for last place, 10 1⁄2 games back. They’re 12 games under .500 as of Sunday, and even more troubling for the Twinkies are the multiple injuries coming out of Sunday’s game vs. Oakland.
Rocco says Kenta Maeda was dealing with minor groin tightness during the game and is getting treated.— Do-Hyoung Park (@dohyoungpark) May 16, 2021
Max Kepler tweaked his hamstring running the bases. He's being evaluated.
Willians Astudillo's hand is being treated. There was initially swelling and bruising.
Max Kepler being added to the outfield player injuries is testing Minnesota’s deep pool of talent, as Alex Kirilloff, Byron Buxton, and Jake Cave are all currently hurt. Maybe they will take a page from Cleveland’s book and put a bunch of random shortstops in the outfield. Kepler is really the only center fielder the Twins have right now, and that’s never a great place to lose someone.
The Twins are still the worst team in baseball with a 13-25 record, and while it’s still kind of early it also doesn’t look like they are able to right the ship. Aside from the injuries, they have some serious issues stemming from the pitching staff. Old friend Alex Colomé has had a nightmare start to the season, and Maeda’s groin tightness could be to explain for his recent penchant to giving up home runs.
Series Pitching: Well, at Least We Aren’t Injured
Tonight is going to see Dallas Keuchel vs. J.A. Happ. Keuchel did not have a great time when he faced the Twins May 12 (they scored six runs on eight hits in 5 2⁄3) but he was saved by the offense. Currently Keuchel’s record is 2-1 with 18 strikeouts and a 4.53 ERA, and he’s still in the hunt for his 100 career wins (magic number: eight). Happ is the most consistent starter for the Twins at the moment, nine runs from the White Sox last week being the exception. He’s 2-1 with a 4.26 ERA and 19 strikeouts. Needless to say, Happ’s hoping this start goes a little better.
Tuesday is Lance Lynn vs. Michael Pineda. Pineda allowed three runs over 5 1⁄3 and 96 pitches against the White Sox last Thursday. He’s at a 2-2 record with a 2.79 ERA and 39 strikeouts, holding opponents to three or fewer earned runs in six of his seven starts. Lynn has thrown five innings during his last three starts (after a trip to the IL) and won all three. His record is 4-1 with a 1.30 ERA and 44 strikeouts, allowing three earned runs in the last 15 innings.
Wednesday’s close is going to be Lucas Giolito vs. Matt Shoemaker. Giolito has looked better than his last couple of starts, so we have nowhere to go but up for our guy. He allowed five earned runs over all three starts, giving up 18 earned runs in his last 24 innings. Giolito’s career ERA is 4.54 at Target Field and a 3-2 record. Shoemaker gave up five runs in six innings on Friday and last saw the White Sox in 2018 (things have changed, Matty).
Target Field still does not have a Target store.
Rocco Baldelli’s endless optimism may not be long for this league.
I’d like to see a few less managerial adventures from Tony La Russa and a little more, I don’t know, fire. Is he sleeping in the dugout? Can we enlist the bat boy to sit next to him with some kind of poking stick?