August 23, 2023

Buckle up, Twins fans. It just got real

The Twins’ first step during an important stretch of games was a complete face plant on Tuesday as the Milwaukee Brewers jumped all over reliever Dylan Floro and cruised to an easy 7-3 win.

Making matters much worse, the Cleveland Guardians, who have struggled all season long, clobbered the Los Angeles Dodgers, one of the hottest teams in baseball, by a score of 8-3.

The combination of the Twins’ loss and Guards’ win means the team from northeast Ohio has picked up a game on the team from Minnesota and now trails the Twins by five games with a lot of games still to be played, including seven contests between the Twins and Texas Rangers, a team with the No. 1 run-scoring offense in the American League.

Starter Bailey Ober allowed two runs over five innings, then was removed from the game in favor of reliever Floro, who was a mess. He allowed five runs on six hits in an inning of work and was cooked, tagged with the blown save and loss.

I see on Twins Territory social media that once again the great debate has emerged about whether Twins manager Rocco Baldelli is handling his pitchers correctly. Ober was at 78 pitches by the fifth inning and had a 3-2 lead.

I tend to agree that Ober could have pitched deeper into Tuesday’s game. He has pitched more than 100 innings this season, so certainly must be stretched out by now, plus it is crunch time, folks. These are meaningful games that the Twins need to win.

Listening to Cory Provus and Dan Gladden on Tuesday, they made note of the fact that the Twins likely will carry a six-man rotation once Joe Ryan returns from the injured list. The Twins aren’t going to drop Dallas Keuchel after his last start, so they think that roster move will come from the bullpen. If that’s the case, Rocco might be forced to allow his starters to go deeper into games.

Or do they need more help in the bullpen? Oliver Ortega did not look good as he walked three batters in less than an inning of work.

Kenta Maeda gets the ball on Wednesday.


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.