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because TEAR EVERYTHING DOWN!
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Watch the Live Play-by-Play of the Virtual Twins Playoffs

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With the real Twins around the corner, I have elected to sim to the playoffs to try and tease how the real club will do this fall, and as...
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Recent Blogs


Series Preview: Dead Team In The Auto Town

Well, here I am again holding the honorable job of writing about the next series and what team do I get to write about? None other than the Detroit Tigers … again. Look, I get that writing repeats will happen, but what kind of terrible draw is it where I have to write about this bad team twice in a row? My only consolation is listening to Jack White while writing which does make me feel a bit better actually because the distortion can almost make up for the horribleness of the team.
Image courtesy of © Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Brief Overview:

Last week I wrote that Detroit was a poor team and they were so offended by that statement that they decided to take the first game of that series and then subsequently lose every other game heading into this series. A perfect 0-5 sums up their season quite well as they have already been eliminated from playoff contention, have hit 92 losses, have had their awfulness quantified in a historical context, and their manager, Ron Gardenhire, has already said that he understands if the Tigers choose not to retain him next year. Again, it’s August and the Tigers’ grave has already been dug and the funeral procession has apparently already come and gone, this is now just the after-party.

What They Do Well:

No other business can say that they have single-handedly kept the flight from Toledo to Detroit alive and flourishing quite like Detroit can. A mean-spirited joke yes, but the Tigers have had 52 different players play for them at this year and all I can think about is the executives at Delta swimming in money. Although that was probably going to happen regardless of Detroit’s 40-man situation.

Beyond my snark, Detroit still has an average starting rotation by fWAR as they rank 15th in baseball in that stat. Again, it’s mainly Matt Boyd, Spencer Turnbull, and Daniel Norris carrying them in that stat, but for a team with this record, even mediocrity can feel like a miracle. Beyond them, it's a drop-off into the abyss (sans Jordan Zimmermann's actually decent peripherals) but the Tigers should have a fighting chance to win a game with any of those guys pitching.

What They Do Not Do Well:

This could literally end up being a masters thesis if I were so inclined but I’ll try to cut to the chase here. The Tigers were able to BABIP themselves into a decent offensive showing against the Twins last weekend, but the mirage did not last long and the numbers for the year as a whole remain ugly. A league-low 77 wRC+ paired with a bottom three ISO of .149 reflects an offense without many threats. The ISO especially is indicative of the kind of offense the Tigers possess as in a day and age of power, the Tigers’ need for extra-base potential is greater than the Indians’ thirst for actually having people come to their games. Can I quantify that? Yes, actually. The Tigers’ leader in ISO (Ronny Rodriguez) holds a mark of .222 while the Twins as a team hold a mark of .230.

Can they at least pitch? Well, not really. The Tigers have the third highest team ERA in baseball and it hasn’t gotten better recently. In the month of August, the Tigers’ pitching staff has a lower fWAR total than Trevor Hildenberger has earned in 2019 (.3 to .4). Hildenberger has thrown 14 innings in the majors this year, you do not really need me to tell you that that isn’t ideal, but finding fun ways to slant stats is half of the point of these articles so allow me to continue.

Individuals Of Note:

Unfortunately, I mentioned Niko Goodrum here last week because he was having a solid year, but he then suffered an injury and will most likely not return this year, sorry for that one, Niko.

After Niko, the next best position player by fWAR is Victor Reyes whom the Tigers picked up in the Rule 5 draft last year and somewhat stashed in their savings account in order to get full team control over him. Reyes has responded by BABIP-ing his way to .4 fWAR season over 41 games. Most of his value has been earned through his great defensive metrics as his 85 wRC+ is incredibly whelming, and that’s even with a massive .359 BABIP.

Beyond that, this is a vast wasteland of lost hope as no other position player really deserves notoriety in this sprawling array of sadness. The Tigers’ position player fWAR leaders list would be the perfect place to hide secret government codes or laundered money. Maybe “Mikie Mahtook” is actually code for one of those things, maybe I’ll get back to that later.

Let’s talk about Daniel Norris, because why not. Norris was part of the return when the Tigers dealt David Price to the Blue Jays, which is a very old-fashioned statement, but a true one nonetheless. Norris struggles with staying healthy and has gone through the general wringer that most young starters are subject to as they adjust to major league hitters. This year has been a step in the right direction for him as he has already set a new high for MLB innings in a year with 126 1/3 and he may hit the 2.0 fWAR mark if the last month of the season goes well for him. He’s no longer a young gun at 26 but there is still a good chance that he turns into a quality big league pitcher.

Recent History:

The Twins and Tigers have played a handful of times this year and the Twins are 8-4. The most recent series was won by the Twins as they took two games and the Twins also took two games the last time they were in Comerica (which was in early June).

Recent Trajectories:

The Twins are 11-4 over their last five series while the Tigers are 4-10 over their last five series.

Pitching Matchups:

Friday: Gibson vs Jackson
Saturday: Pérez vs Boyd
Sunday: Pineda vs Turnbull
Monday: Odorizzi vs Zimmermann

Ending Thoughts:

This is one of those weird series where they play four straight games against each other but it’s technically a three game series with the fourth game being a makeup game from an earlier rain out. Anyway, the Twins are coming into the series hot while the Tigers are literally the farthest from hot as a team can be. Taking three games will be the absolute minimum expected from the Twins and taking four should not be out of reach at all. Granted, I am now on a three-series losing streak, but I will call that the Twins will take three games exactly, so who knows what actually will end up happening here.

  • Mike Frasier Law, howieramone2, nclahammer and 2 others like this

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18 Comments

Well done Mr. Braun.  You've made a purse out of pig's ear, or something like that.

    • howieramone2, bighat and wabene like this

I could not believe that there was a flight from Toledo to Detroit, so I looked it up. It technically exists, via American Airlines, it costs more than $300, and it connects in Chicago.

 

On the other hand, it's about an hour's drive.

    • wabene likes this

Say what you will, but the Tigers got like 15 hits per game against Twins' pitching quite recently.

    • h2oface, bighat and SpicyGarvSauce like this

I could not believe that there was a flight from Toledo to Detroit, so I looked it up. It technically exists, via American Airlines, it costs more than $300, and it connects in Chicago.

They can't quite justify using a 737, or even an Embraer regional jet. Here is the equipment they use for the route:

 

source.gif

    • 70charger, Monkeypaws, Wyorev and 2 others like this

Somehow the Twins haven't been mopping up vs. the likes of Detroit and KC as well as Cleveland has. Gotta win these games.

Gotta win these games. Chance for the rotation to show it can go five strong innings, to say the least. Otherwise, I would call up Stewart and Thorpe and Smeltzer and think hard-and-strong about using an opener for every game for the rest of the season, pulling the starter when they get into trouble (not worrying about 100 pitches).

 

Here's hoping the Twins homer bats come alive bigtime. Cave needs three to set a MLB record. Polanco needs one to set a MLB record for the team. Time to put even more distance between the Yankees batters and the Twins.

 

Who are the first bodies on the minor leaue shuttle Sunday? Willians and Wade? Littell and Stewart or Smeltzer?

 

Then the flood gates. Heck, put them all on the charter and in hotel rooms for the rest of the season: Thorpe, Harper, Hildenberger, Romero, Gonsalves. I bet some would even share a room or a llocker to get major league meal money!

 

 

 

    • operation mindcrime likes this
Photo
SpicyGarvSauce
Aug 30 2019 01:23 PM

This is a pretty important series IMO, considering Cleveland is playing a good Tampa Bay team this weekend. A great opportunity to push the lead out to 5-6 games heading into September if the Twins do their part and the Rays put in a helping hand.

    • bighat likes this

It sure would be nice if the Twins could put one double digit winning streak together this season. Just one. Just a single one. These next 5 games are probably the best opportunity left, especially considering it means only winning the next 5, 4 against the worst team in MLB, and one against the Red Sox. Sure, winning a series is nice, and always brings out the tried and tested "i'll take winning a series, anytime" mantra, but it really is not a statement, nor does it generate the momentum like the long streak. Going against the Red Sox, Indians, and the Nationals for 12 games after Detroit, it might mean the Central Championship. Plus........ it is just time for one double digit winning streak.......... every season deserves one.

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yarnivek1972
Aug 30 2019 01:52 PM
Why would they have guys fly from Toledo to Detroit? It’s a one hour drive. It would take longer to go through security.

 

They can't quite justify using a 737, or even an Embraer regional jet. Here is the equipment they use for the route:

 

source.gif

 

10/10.

 

Would fly on that.

    • ashbury and Danchat like this

It sure would be nice if the Twins could put one double digit winning streak together this season. Just one. Just a single one.

Those are not common, even for a first place team. Houston's the only team to have done it this year. Three teams (Boston, Pittsburgh, Houston) did it last year. "Just a single one"? Pretty high bar to set.

Best thing the Twins can do is stomp the Tigers into the dirt. Give them the first pick in the draft. Good teams are supposed to beat up on bad teams.

 

Skol Twins!

    • h2oface and operation mindcrime like this

10/10.

 

Would fly on that.

My only qualm is, "what if there's a bird strike?" Captain Sully is still back there on the runway.

 

Those are not common, even for a first place team. Houston's the only team to have done it this year. Three teams (Boston, Pittsburgh, Houston) did it last year. "Just a single one"? Pretty high bar to set.

 

You're right. Thanks for bringing me back down. No reason to think big. And only one team in history has ever hit 267 homers in a season. I mean, why dream for the World Series when only 2 teams get there each year. Playoffs or bust. That will do. And no reason to hope for a sweep of the Tigers when a series win (or a split) of the worst team in MLB is within reach. I feel much better now. Thanks for helping me lower the bar.

    • ashbury likes this

A sweep plus Cleveland dropping 2-of-3 in Tampa would be huge at this point in the season. I'd hate to ride into Cleveland thinking that the Tribe could sweep the series and put the Twins back into the perilous WC chase.

 

I don't think the Twins are out of the woods by any means. I know a flight to Cleveland is looming but I sure hope Rocco and the boys take these next few games as seriously as they've taken any all season.

    • h2oface likes this
Photo
operation mindcrime
Aug 30 2019 04:00 PM

They can't quite justify using a 737, or even an Embraer regional jet. Here is the equipment they use for the route:

source.gif

They should've got Lamar from Revenge of the Nerds to throw this!
    • ashbury and 70charger like this

The Twins are faring well against these teams now that they are "doing what they do" instead of sleepwalking.

 

10/10.

 

Would fly on that.

I've flown on worse - take-off only. (My one and only skydiving trip. The plane was painted silver - it looked like primer.The instrument panel looked like an old VW dash with the radio and a couple of gauges missing. I think it was motivational - to make sure we felt safer jumping than staying.)

    • SQUIRREL and ashbury like this

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