4 Questions to Answer in the Final 4 Games
Image courtesy of © Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports1. Who is the game one playoff starter?
The Twins will (likely) be facing off against the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs. Who do you want facing off against their lineup and against Gerrit Cole in game one? It will undoubtedly be either Kenta Maeda or Jose Berrios, but who gets the nod?
It appears right now like Jose Berrios is lined up with how the rotation currently shakes out so perhaps that is the way it will go. I like Berrios in game one because I would rather have him go against Cole and then have Maeda in game two with a clear advantage. I think the Twins will go with Berrios in game one and then Kenta Maeda.
2. Who do you trust in the late innings of a playoff game?
What if I told you the two pitchers with the worst ERA in the Twins bullpen are Taylor Rogers (4.34) and Trevor May (4.22)? That is not ideal. The two with the best ERA are somehow Matt Wisler (1.62) and Caleb Thielbar (169). Baseball is weird and it’s even weirder with 60 games.
When the playoffs roll around and you have a one run lead in the 8th inning do you give the ball to Taylor Rogers or Caleb Thielbar? The answer is obvious, you give it to your best guys and ignore the regular season statistics. Basically when the playoffs arrive you give the ball to your best players and ignore regular season stats.
3. Who will be the starting catcher throughout the playoffs?
“But Cooper, how can you say throughout the playoffs if they will only play two games?”
Hey, shut it Mr. Negative!
The Twins have to decide between Ryan Jeffers, Mitch Garver, and Alex Avila to be the main catcher throughout the playoffs. They all have strengths and could all get playing time, but who is going to be “the guy” behind the plate?
Mitch Garver is going to end up being the guy. His offense has slowly picked up and his defense is certainly there. You can’t ignore what happened in 2019 and by the end of the season I think Garver will have gained the trust back. I like Jeffers a ton for the future but this is still Garver’s catching position.
4. Can the Twins steal the division?
With four games remaining, the Twins have a 30% chance to win the division but just a few days ago it was less than 15% so things are going well. If Cleveland and the Cubs can shut down the White Sox then the Twins will sneak in to win the division and avoid playing the Yankees. Can you imagine that? Playoffs without playing the Yankees!
It would be so great to hang a division banner for 2020 and play a team like Cleveland or Toronto in the playoffs. I get the whole idea of proving the Twins can beat the Yankees but I mean why not just go beat Toronto or something. That would be much more fun. The Twins need this division.
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