August 21, 2023

Will the Twins win the division? The answer is just around the corner

The make or break moment of the Twins’ 2023 season is here because the series of games they play over the next two weeks should determine their fate.

They play competitive teams and weaker clubs, although that weaker club is the Cleveland Guardians, and when the Twins and Guards get together, history has shown they play very close games, the kind of games that are decided by one run.

It begins Tuesday with two games at Milwaukee, then things get really interesting because the Twins come home to face the Texas Rangers for four games, followed by three more at home against the Guards. Immediately after that seven-game home stand, the Twins then hit the road to play three more games at Texas and three at Cleveland. And that should do it. If the Twins have success against the Guards, they likely have sewn up the division. If they struggle, all bets are off.

The Guards keep losing, which means the Twins now have a six-game lead in the AL Central after they took two of three games from the Pirates, including Sunday’s one-hit effort from former Cy Young award-winning pitcher Dallas Keuchel, now trying to resurrect his career with the Twins.

Keuchel allowed one hit over six-plus innings with no walks and three strikeouts, while the bullpen allowed only one more hit the rest of the way.

The Twins, though, continue to struggle to hit and score runs. They scored two runs on five measly hits and struck out 16 times as a team on Sunday. They also struck out 15 times as a team in their 7-4 loss to the Bucs on Saturday.

Bailey Ober gets the ball Tuesday at Milwaukee.

Extra innings …

-I stand corrected, Twins Territory. The Bleacher Creature is alive and well at Target Field. My son and I spent last week in the Twin Cities and saw four games. The first two had me questioning the enthusiasm of Twins fans based on the evident nonchalance of those around us — a group of people, at least in our sections, that appeared more interested in their phones than the games.

Friday’s game was better as those 300-level fans showed more energy and then Saturday was the full-meal deal. And why wouldn’t it be? We were in section 129, the bench-style seating in lower left field, otherwise known as the bleachers. And there were two or three guys who rode left-fielder Joey Gallo hard all game. Frankly, he deserved it. Gallo, who has been a huge disappointment, had a terrible series against the Bucs, striking out five times in six at bats with no hits and only one walk. He’s hitting .180 on the season.

For me, the Bleacher Creature is part of baseball. But I could tell that kind of constant chatter and heckling was not welcome by some fans in that section. Many who got up to get something to eat or drink, or to leave the game, gave those “creatures” a hard stare as they exited.

August 19, 2023

Strong pitching, bloop hits earn Twins a Game 1 win over Bucs

The Twins were slow to start on Friday, but they finally got on the board with a two-run home run, then tacked on three more runs via some unlikely RBI hits to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-1. That was more than enough runs for Twins pitching. Starter Pablo Lopez pitched six shutout innings, Griffin Jax... Continue Reading »

August 18, 2023

Where are the characters of the game today?

As we wind down our vacation this week in the Twin Cities (and Thursday was especially fun), I’ve had a chance to read a book by longtime local columnist and sportswriter Patrick Reusse called “Tales from the Minnesota Sports Beat: A Lifetime on Deadline.” It’s been an enjoyable read, and much more fun than the... Continue Reading »

August 17, 2023

Reliever Jax has terrible inning, Twins lose 8-7

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli had to turn to the bullpen early in Wednesday’s game after starter Kenta Maeda burned through 87 pitches in four innings. Maeda exited with a 4-3 lead over the Detroit Tigers. The Twins got a scoreless inning from Dylan Floro, the same from Emilio Pagan and then Griffin Jax blew it... Continue Reading »

August 16, 2023

Here comes the rooster: Wallner wallop rallies Twins to 5-3 win

More than 30,000 fans, including me and my son, filled Target Field Tuesday night and watched as the Twins did absolutely nothing for five-plus innings, down 2-0 after an early home run from future Hall of Famer and Detroit Tiger Miguel Cabrera. Then in the bottom of the fifth inning the Twins strung some hits... Continue Reading »

August 15, 2023

If George Will can do it, I guess I can, too

At a loss* for something to watch the other day, I re-watched “Baseball: The Tenth Inning,” a sequel of sorts by documentary filmmaker Ken Burns that followed the 1994 release of “Baseball,” his multiple-episode look at the National Pastime. In the Tenth Inning, Burns revisits the long-suffering history of the Chicago Cubs, including the fan... Continue Reading »

August 14, 2023

Twins win 3-0 to take series from Phillies

Well, call it what it is: a two-game winning streak and a series win for the Twins over the Philadelphia Phillies. This one belonged to the pitching staff. Starter Sonny Gray pitched six scoreless innings with three walks and seven strikeouts, then a relief corps of Griffin Jax, Caleb Thielbar, Emilio Pagan and Jhoan Duran... Continue Reading »

August 13, 2023

Twins trade blowouts with Phils, snap losing streak

The Twins responded with a power show of their own Saturday night, getting four home runs and an 8-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies after the Fighting Phils clobbered Minnesota 13-2 on Friday. Saturday’s win also snapped a four-game losing streak that began with a series loss to the Detroit Tigers. The Twins got home... Continue Reading »

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... Continue Reading »

Next Previous

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.