September 16, 2019

The final 13 games of the season are here. What’s it gonna be, Minnesota?

The final two weeks of the 2019 season are upon us. The Twins lead their division by 4.5 games and, by most accounts, it’s easy street from here on out. To wrap up their campaign, they play the 83-loss Chicago White Sox, the 95-loss Kansas City Royals and the 104-loss Detroit Tigers.

But seven of those 13 games are at home where the Twins have played winning baseball but not exactly dominant baseball. They are eight games over .500 at Target Field, yet they are 25 games over .500 on the road. And no doubt the South Siders, Royals and terrible Tigers will all be looking to play the role of spoiler.

The Twins will continue to hit and hit with power, but strength of pitching remains a big question, especially the starting rotation.

Jake Odorizzi and Jose Berrios look to be their most reliable tandem. And after that? Well… Martin Perez’s effectiveness is an unknown and so is Kyle Gibson’s after he recently returned to the mound from the injured list. He landed on the list to deal with gastrointestinal problems, but he was knocked around on Thursday and wasn’t much better on Sunday in the regular season finale against the Cleveland Indians. Beyond those four pitchers, Twins manager Rocco Baldelli has the stop-gap stylings of Devin Smeltzer, Lewis Thorpe and Randy Dobnak, who used to drive for Uber and Lyft.

Maybe the bullpen will have to carry the load the rest of the way. Taylor Rogers, Trevor May, Tyler Duffey, Sergio Romo, Zack Littell and Brusdar Graterol have all pitched well of late.

Berrios gets the ball Monday against the Pale Hose.

Extra innings…

-The Twins were denied the sweep of the Tribe on Sunday in what turned out to be a 7-5 loss. Although the Twins did Twins like things and hit home runs, including two off Eddie Rosario’s bat, they also committed four errors. The Twins allowed seven runs, but only four of those runs were earned.

-Dobnak went five innings and allowed only one earned run, but he was pulled after 74 pitches. Why? Let him pitch, Rocco. Dobnak was replaced by Fernando Romero, who wasn’t as sharp, and neither was Gibson. Romero took the loss and Gibson the blown save.

-The Twins’ regular-season record against the Tribe was 9-10.

-If you’re a nervous Nellie about the Twins, it would do you some good to check out this Bring Me The News’ post, which basically says the Twins are a lock to win the division.

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.