The Twins are guaranteed a spot in the postseason after clinching the AL Central division, so it’s not too surprising they lost 2-1 to the Oakland A’s on Thursday, and the losing might continue in Denver where the Twins will wrap up the season with a final three-game series against the Colorado Rockies.
The reason, of course, is that the Twins are taking it easy before baseball gets serious all over again in October. Sonny Gray pitched four innings on Thursday, Kenta Maeda put in a little work, too, and the offense scratched out four hits to score a single run.
Rookie Louie Varland took the mound as well and continues to impress. He got the final five outs of the game on 24 pitches, including three strikeouts.
Joe Ryan gets the ball Friday in Denver.
Extra innings …
-The Twins lost Thursday to the A’s, but still won the series and finished 5-1 against them this season.
-The Twins are 85-74 and have a nine-game lead on the Detroit Tigers. That’s right, the team from Motown has leapfrogged the Cleveland Guardians and appears set to finish in second place in the division. If they do, it will be the Tigers’ best finish since 2016.
-Thursday marked the Twins’ final home stand of the season. Target Field welcomed just under 2 million fans, the eighth highest attendance out of 15 teams in the American League, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
-The Twins were a game under .500 during the first half of the season, but 40-27 in the second half. In baseball, one good month can turn a season around. The Twins are 16-9 in September.
-Ex-Twin and Longview native Trevor May, who spent six seasons with the Twins, closed out Thursday’s win for the A’s to secure his 21st save. Not bad for a guy pitching for a team with 110 losses.
Interesting read in the Strib about the Twins and their proclivity to strikeout, including strikeouts looking, which usually results in me yelling at the TV about why the bat didn’t move. But that discipline at the plate has also resulted in 572 walks, second most in the AL. Something to keep in mind.