The Twins were walked off by the Texas Rangers and the Cleveland Guardians lost to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, so the Twins’ lead in the AL Central remains unchanged at five games.
And now the two teams will meet over the next three days, making it perhaps the most important series of the season.
Pablo Lopez gets the ball Monday against Lucas Giolito, the former Chicago White Sox pitcher who was traded at the deadline to the Los Angeles Angels, who then waived him and two relievers that were picked up by the Guards.
He has had some success against the Twins. In April, he faced the Twins and allowed only one run over six innings and lost. Then in May, he again served up only a run over seven innings and lost, and finally in July, he pitched five innings of shutout baseball with nine strikeouts and came away with a no decision. This says a lot more about the state of the South Siders than it does Giolito.
Lopez’s marks against Cleveland aren’t as good. On June 1, he allowed six runs over five-plus innings in a no-decision start, although the Twins still won the game, and then just last week, Lopez made a quality start against the Guards but lost 4-2.
As for the rest of the series, Sonny Gray gets the ball Tuesday and Joe Ryan takes the mound Wednesday. A sweep would put the Twins eight games clear of the Guards and just might be enough to sew up the division title.
Extra innings …
-There wasn’t a whole lot to like about Sunday’s loss, except for three things: the Twins rallied twice to tie the game, Royce Lewis had three hits, including a three-run home run, and it was great to see Carlos Correa get three hits as well. If he gets hot in September, we will all forget the first five months of the season.
-During Sunday’s TV broadcast, they showed highlights of the Twins clinching the AL West division on the road with a 5-3 win over the Rangers on Sept. 28, 1987.
The Star Tribune lede:
“The Twins brought it home on the road Monday night, turning a perpetual chamber of horrors into a champagne-soaked palace.”
The Fort Worth Star-Telegram lede:
“The magic number of the Minnesota Twins has reached zero. In a not unrelated development, the Texas Rangers came away with nothing, zero, zilch yet again.”
Advantage: Both are good, slight edge to Star-Telegram.
Sources: MLB.com, Baseball-Reference.com, Newspapers.com