I am getting this game thread up a lot earlier than I normally do. I typically like to wait until lineups are out so I am able to talk about them, but my brother is playing in a playoff baseball game tonight (Thank you Iowa High School Athletic Association for playing baseball in the SUMMER, when it is supposed to be played), and he takes priority over the Twins, albeit very close The Twins come in to the series with a 1-1 record vs the Mets this year, both games agains the Mets' aces in Noah Syndergaard and Jacob DeGrom. Thankfully for the Twins they aren't expected to see either of them. The Twins will send Michael Pineda and Martin Perez to the mound for their first starts out of the break.
Steven Matz (5-6, 4.89 ERA, 78 K's) vs Michael Pineda (6-4, 4.56 ERA, 84 K's)
The Mets left hander gives up home runs, and gives up a lot of them. Matz is giving up the long ball two times per nine innings, which is insane. He is striking out almost one batter per inning, but this is not a great matchup for Steven against a Twins team who hit a lot of dongs. Expect the baseball to be flying all around Target Field in the bottom half of innings. Pineda also gives up his fair share of homeruns, coming in at 1.6 HR/9. However, he is facing the Mets lineup which isn't exactly great. However, they do have a huge power threat in Pete Alonso, who is probably the rookie of the year right now. Pineda is also finding his rhythm right now, giving up only one run four of his previous five trips to the mound. He has also only given up two long balls in those give games, a key factor to his success.
I will have someone post the lineups when they are available, either in a different post, or edited in here.
No Minnesota Twin has ever taken an at-bat against the left hander, but the Twins absolutely crush left handed pitching. So far this season the Twins have an OPS of .868 vs southpaws, compared to .817 against righties. A few more key pieces could be back for the Twins, too. I fully expect Byron Buxton to be back in the lineup tonight after a few days back, and Eddie Rosario should be nearing a return as well. CJ Cron is also on the DL, and could be making his return to the lineup tonight, which would help a lot. Cron crushes left handed pitching, and would be a welcome return to the lineup. Former teammate of Pineda, Robinson Cano, has had decent success off the Twins righty, going 6-9 with two homers. The only other Met with a hit off of Pineda is veteran third basemen Todd Frazier.
1. Please Enjoy Buxton's Aggression in the Field
I know, I know. Nobody wants Byron Buxton to be hurt, and neither do I. Of course you can not be valuable if you are not on the field. However, I don't want Byron Buxton to stop playing with the defensive aggression that we have seen out of him his entire MLB career. Sure, he would still be the best MLB outfielder if he wasn't diving or running into walls all the time, but this is who he is. He wants to make every single catch he can, and you can't turn that off like a switch. Sure, we are going to be holding our breath every single time he looks like a crash test dummy slamming against the wall, or dives into the grass with no respect for his body, but that is what makes him the most exciting player in baseball to watch in the outfield. Enjoy it Twins fans, he is a rare talent on the defensive side of the ball, and he is on our team.
2. This is Why You Can't Quit Sano
Sure, Miguel Sano is probably not the annual All-Star that we thought he would be coming up through the minor leagues, but that is okay. Those type of prospects rarely reach their ceiling. However, he is one of the most dangerous hitters in the Twins lineup at this given time. He is riding a double digit hitting streak, and they aren't bloops or weak rollers through the infield. Sano is laying off sliders that we have seen him chase in the past, and is crushing the pitches that are over the plate. His walk rate is down, and sure, his strikeout rate hasn't changed much at all, but that is the way baseball is going. Joey Gallo, who should've been the All-Star Game MVP, is the exact same way as Sano is right now. Sure, he may strike out in 40% of his plate appearances. However, when he is hitting the ball, he is hitting it, and hitting it hard. If Sano keeps his current approach up, and get trim 3% off his K rate, while adding it to his walk rate, he is a borderline All-Star.
This Day in History: 2000 - The Twins announce the possibility of playing a home series outdoors in a temporary stadium next season. The move away from the Metrodome, however, would require approval of major league baseball, the players' association, the opponents, broadcast affiliates, and the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission.
Pick to Click: It's hard to make a pick to click without the lineups, but count me down for Jonathon Schoop if he plays. I know he's been bad lately, so that means he's gonna get a big hit today.