July was ripe for the taking.
It was filled with winnable games against weak teams to help the Twins pad their thin lead in the AL Central, but after a series loss to the Seattle Mariners and a sweep at the hands of the lowly Kansas City Royals, the Twins find themselves right back where they started: No better than a .500 baseball team.
They also are a pedestrian 9-7 since the All-Star break, a pedestrian 13-11 for the month overall, which means they are a pedestrian 54-53 heading into August, with only a half-game lead on the Cleveland Guardians.
Why was it so important to win in July? Because the Twins’ August schedule is an absolute minefield.
Yes, they have games against Detroit, Cleveland and the Chicago White Sox, but they also play the always-competitive Cardinals, the overachieving Diamondbacks, the competitive Phillies, Brewers and Mets, the very good Rays, who have already swept the Twins, and they have seven games against the Rangers, who have the No. 1 run-scoring offense in the American League. Have fun, Minnesota.
Pablo Lopez gets the ball Tuesday in St. Louis.
Extra innings …
-The Twins lost 2-1 on Sunday. They finally slowed down the Royals’ hot-hitting Bobby Witt Jr., but not on Friday and Saturday, two days in which Witt collected eight hits, including a dramatic walk-off grand slam against closer Jhoan Duran.
-The Twins have sent struggling reliever Jorge Lopez to the Miami Marlins in exchange for another struggling reliever in Dylan Floro.
Here’s what MLB Trade Rumors had to say about the deal that transpired July 26:
“The results haven’t been as good here in 2023, as (Floro’s) ERA has jumped up to 4.54. It’s possible there’s some bad luck to blame, as his peripherals are actually better than his career marks. He’s striking out 24% of hitters, walking just 6.4% and keeping the ball in the dirt 55.1% of the time.”
-On July 30, 1966, the Twins’ Dave Boswell twirled a one-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles, shutting out the Birds 7-0. He allowed a hit over nine innings with a walk and 11 strikeouts.
The Baltimore Sun lede:
“Dave Boswell, a Baltimorean employed by the Minnesota Twins, pitched a magnificent one-hitter while taming his hometown baseball heroes, 7 to 0, here today.”
The Minneapolis Tribune lede:
“The Twins’ Dave Boswell, the kid next door who got away from the hometown Orioles, turned on first-place Baltimore with a one-hit, 7-0 victory Saturday.”
Advantage: Baltimore Sun.
And then there was this …
#MNTwins lose their 15th game of the season when allowing three runs or fewer, second-most in baseball.
Swept by one of the worst teams in baseball right before the trade deadline. Woof.
— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) July 30, 2023
Sources: MLB.com, Baseball-Reference.com, Newspapers.com