The Twins split a doubleheader with the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, meaning they started the day 10 games over .500 after a Game 1 win, but ended the day nine games over .500 after a Game 2 loss. Will that nine-game cushion be enough?
I ask that question because the Twins are about to embark on what appears to be the most challenging 10 games of the season. They get a couple of days off, which can’t hurt, then they host the Cleveland Indians this weekend, then spend next week in Chicago playing the White Sox and Cubs. I predict the Twins go 6-4 over the next 10 games, especially if they face Shane Bieber, Lucas Giolito and Yu Darvish.
In Game 1, the Twins raced out to a 5-0 lead, then held on for the 7-3 win. Starter Jose Berrios improved to 4-3, but it was still disappointing to see him toss 101 pitches over five innings. Still, he struck out eight. Matt Wisler pitched a scoreless frame and Sergio Romo struck out the side on 14 pitches. Josh Donaldson, Nelson Cruz and Miguel Sano all homered in the win.
In Game 2, starter Randy Dobnak had one bad inning and that was the game. The Cardinals scored five runs in the third and the Twins never recovered, despite a 3-for-3 day from Cruz, including another home run, his 15th. The final was 6-4, Cardinals.
The Dobber’s day was done after two-plus innings. Phil Miller of the Minneapolis Star Tribune breaks down the inning:
Over the next 20 minutes, Dobnak, who had not hit a batter all season, plunked two, one of them forcing in a run. A control artist who had never walked two batters in an inning did that, too, the latter one to Paul DeJong with the bases loaded on four pitches. Mix in a couple of base hits, a force-out lost because catcher Ryan Jeffers wasn’t standing on the plate, and some bad luck on weakly hit balls, and voila — the first five-run inning of Dobnak’s young career. He had never before allowed more than two.
-The Twins are 27-18, still a half game back of the White Sox and Indians. The South Siders and Tribe both lost on Tuesday.