The Twins rallied to beat the Cleveland Indians Saturday night, reminding Twins fans everywhere that the club, despite numerous injuries this season, has been resilient and deep enough to keep on winning.
Now, they’ve been handed a new challenge: winning without starting pitcher, Michael Pineda, who was suspended 60 games prior to Saturday’s game. That means he will have no role with the team for the remainder of the season or postseason.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan:
He originally got an 80-game suspension, but it was reduced to 60 on appeal, as a compelling case was made that a banned diuretic he used was not a masking agent for PEDs.
Pineda had been the Twins’ best starter of late (and I guess we possibly know why), including a 10-strikeout performance on Friday. Kyle Gibson is on the injured list, so, for the moment, the Twins’ rotation consists of Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi and Martin Perez, which raises questions about the likely fourth and fifth starters. Devin Smeltzer and Randy Dobnak come to mind as possible spot starters or openers.
What do the Twins lose in Pineda? A lot. He was 11-5 with a 4.01 ERA this season and seemed to be getting stronger with each start (again, I guess we possibly know why).
Meanwhile, Twins catcher, Mitch Garver, played hero on Saturday after he rallied the Twins to a 5-3 win over the Indians. They also regained their 6.5 game lead over the Tribe in the American League Central. Garver led off the scoring with a solo shot in the first, then delivered the big blow in the bottom of the seventh with a three-run home run to right, his 28th. The win went to Zack Littell and the save to ace lefty, Taylor Rogers.
The Twins have not named a starter for Sunday’s rubber match with the Indians.
-Odorizzi pitched well on Saturday, but was pulled in the top of the sixth after he walked two batters. He allowed two runs over five-plus innings with the two walks and 10 strikeouts.
-The Twins lost in extra innings on Friday after they allowed four runs in the top of the 11th. I followed the game online and disagreed with the decision to have the Twins’ Brusdar Graterol intentionally walk Greg Allen with two outs. Why not let Graterol, the Twins’ young flame-thrower, face Allen in that situation? After all, Allen is hitting .229. Following the walk, Graterol gave up a single, hit a batter and served up another hit before he was pulled in favor of Trevor Hildenberger. Hildy gave up another hit and the Twins lost, 6-2.
-Nelson Cruz, who did not play on Saturday, was ejected from the game after arguing balls and strikes from the dugout.