August 10, 2023

On second thought …

Despite the series win over the St. Louis Cardinals and the sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks, I am going to stick with my original prediction that August is going to present some real challenges for the Twins.

I feel more confident in saying that after the team, which should really (by now) be able to cast off the lesser teams in the AL Central with ease, was blanked by the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday and served up 17 hits to Motown on Wednesday, losing 9-5. That means the best the Twins can do is earn a split of the four-game series.

It’s another missed opportunity for the Twins. They should have swept the Royals at the end of July and done the same with the Tigers.

Starter Bailey Ober took the loss and fell to 6-6 on the season after he allowed 11 hits for the second time this season. He was replaced by reliever Emilio Pagan, who pitched one inning and turned in a clean sheet, and then manager Rocco Baldelli made a puzzling move. Rather than let Pagan, who has been much sharper of late, pitch two innings, he let rookie Jordan Balazovic take on that role and he was a disaster.

Pagan exited the game with the Twins trailing the Tigers 5-4. Balazovic came in and allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits, including a home run, with a walk, a strikeout and a run-scoring wild pitch. That made it 9-4 before the Twins tacked on a meaningless run in the bottom of the ninth inning.

However, if Pagan goes two scoreless innings and Balazovic only has to get three outs, perhaps that Twins run in the ninth is not so meaningless.

Kenta Maeda gets the ball Thursday.

Extra innings …

-The Twins are now 60-56, but still lead the Cleveland Guardians by 4.5 games.

-The team is short-handed these days. Donovan Solano is day-to-day with knee pain, while Alex Kirilloff and Byron Buxton are still on the injured list.

-Tuesday’s loss to the Tigers was especially bad because they wasted a great effort from Sonny Gray, who allowed three runs (two earned) over six innings with 10 strikeouts.

-On Aug. 10, 1965, the Twins scored six unearned runs to beat the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium, 7-3.

The New York Daily News lede:

“There was sad news at Yankee Stadium last night. Sad for the Yanks, who booted away Whitey Ford’s chance for a 14th victory and kept on misplaying to lose the game 7-3. And sad for all the other pennant contenders, too, as the Twins won their sixth straight and first of a three-game series here to go 8.5 lengths in front, their biggest lead of the year.”

The Minneapolis Tribune lede:

“The go-go Twins capitalized on Zoilo Versalles’ speed and Yankee mistakes to defeat the once-feared New Yorkers 7-3 Tuesday night.”

Advantage: New York Daily News

Sources: MLB.com, Baseball-Reference.com, Newspapers.com

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.