The Twins lost 2-1 on Wednesday to the Cleveland Guardians, but no matter because the Twins won the series over their nearest rival and played well during a key stretch of games to maintain a healthy lead in the AL Central.
After the Twins were swept by the Milwaukee Brewers in a short, two-game series last month, they faced games against the Rangers, Cleveland, the Rangers again and three more games against the Guards. The good news is that the Twins won three of those four series and now stand six games clear of the Guardians.
Will it be enough to win the division with 22 games left in the season? I think it will be enough. The Twins have upcoming games against the New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays, but both series are at home where the Twins are 40-29. They also have to travel to Ohio to play the Reds, but the remainder of their schedule sees them play some of the worst teams in baseball: the Chicago White Sox, the mysteriously bad Los Angeles Angels and finally the Oakland A’s and Colorado Rockies.
The Guardians finish the season against the Angels, Giants, Rangers, Royals, Orioles, Reds and Tigers.
Dallas Keuchel gets the ball Friday against the Mets.
Extra innings …
-Starter Joe Ryan took the loss on Wednesday even though he allowed only two runs over four innings. But that was the problem: He lasted only four innings because he tossed 89 pitches.
He was followed by rookie pitcher Louie Varland, who seems to have adjusted well to the new pitch clock. Varland worked quickly and efficiently, allowing just a hit over three innings on 43 pitches, 30 of them landing for strikes.
-Although the Twins won this most recent series against the Guardians, they lost the season series to the Guards, 7-6. That means if the two teams are tied atop the division at the end of the season, it goes to the Guards because under a recent rule change the one-game playoff was eliminated.
-On Sept. 6, 1964, the Twins had one hit in their 2-1 win over the Boston Red Sox, but that one hit was a two-run home run delivered by infielder Zoilo Versalles, the 1965 AL MVP.
The Minneapolis Morning Tribune lede:
“Zippy Zoilo Versalles of the Twins broke up his second no-hitter in five days Sunday to sink Boston 2-1 with a two-run homer in the sixth inning at Metropolitan Stadium.”
The Boston Globe lede:
“Bill Monbouquette of the Red Sox pitched a one-hit game against Minnesota Sunday and lost 2 to 1.”
Sources: MLB.com, Baseball-Reference.com, Newspapers.com