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Article: Cold Front: Breaking Down The First Twins Homestand


An April blizzard in Minneapolis – boy, isn't it sad you can't even bat an eye at that string of words? – raged deep into Tuesday night, blanketing Target Field in snow as Thursday afternoon's home opener rapidly approaches.

 

MLB schedules were designed to account for inclement weather on the early end. But even with a continuing abundance of open dates, the Twins will face some challenges in their upcoming 10-game homestand. Not all of them weather-related.MARINERS VS. TWINS

3 Games | Thurs, 4/5 – Sun, 4/8

 

Looking out the window as I write this, there is still no end to the snowfall in sight. I assume at some point it will peter out, but our new winter coating isn't likely to disappear quickly. The current forecast calls for highs to stay below freezing on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

 

It works out nicely, I suppose, that Target Field will host a game on only one of those days. But we could see three first pitches at sub-40 temps in this series. This figures to make matters difficult for these scheduled starters:

 

Thursday: LHP James Paxton v. RHP Kyle Gibson

Saturday: RHP Mike Leake v. RHP Jose Berrios

Sunday: LHP Marco Gonzales v. RHP Lance Lynn

 

If the projected high of 29 on Saturday holds, the Twins would set a record for lowest game time starting temperature in Target Field history. Tough assignment for Berrios coming off a career-best performance in Baltimore.

 

Of course, the ball won't exactly be flying off the bat in this chill. As Michael Rand recently pointed out, these conditions beg the question: how cold is too cold to play baseball? But as Rand notes, the Mariners don't have another trip to Minnesota, and that creates headaches with rescheduling. The same is true for the next visiting opponent.

 

ASTROS VS. TWINS

3 Games | Mon, 4/9 – Weds, 4/11

 

As I turn away from the bleak apocalyptic setting outside, I dial up the MLB scoreboard on an app. Oh, look, the Yankees have slaughtered the Rays, and Didi Gregorius – perhaps the fourth-best hitter in their lineup – went 4-for-4 with eight RBIs. How nice.

 

Being forced to think about that stacked roster, which has been resoundingly upgraded after knocking Minnesota out of the playoffs last October, served to harsh my good early season vibes. I do feel the Twins have played quite well in their first four games, despite the 2-2 outcome.

 

But when you consider a team like the Yankees, you're reminded that the bar for a pennant in this league is quite high. And New York isn't even the class of the AL. That distinction belongs to the reigning champs, who head into town next week to give the Twins a major early-season test.

 

The young and absurdly talented Astros have, unsurprisingly, picked up where they left off. As this blog post went to press, they were leading the Orioles and on their way to a fifth victory in six games. Jose Altuve's hitting almost .500. They look dominant.

 

Hopefully the unfamiliar cold weather in Minnesota can throw them off their game. This series looks to be warmer than the previous one, but temperatures are not expected to escape the mid-40s.

 

By this point, the Twins will have least had a few home games to acclimate themselves. In this light, you could perhaps view the timing of this meeting as slightly advantageous. But under no circumstance is Houston going to be an easy matchup.

 

The offense is star-studded and relentless. And these probable pitching matchups are DAUNTING:

 

Monday: RHP Justin Verlander v. RHP Jake Odorizzi

Tuesday: LHP Dallas Keuchel v. RHP Kyle Gibson

Wednesday: RHP Lance McCullers v. ???

 

The final game of the Astros series represents the first time all year the Twins will need a fifth starter, although preceding cancellations could change that. Phil Hughes, working back from a "mild oblique strain," threw four innings in Triple-A on Saturday. He'll get to pitch in warm weather during his next rehab start at Ft. Myers on Thursday, but won't be so lucky if he takes the mound in Minnesota next week. There has to be some concern around his oblique tightening up in cold weather.

 

But for now, that's a distant concern. We'll see how many games the Twins are able to get in leading up to that one. They might be able to stretch the four-starter arrangement out just a bit longer.

 

WHITE SOX VS. TWINS

4 Games | Thurs, 4/12 – Sun, 4/15

 

This series looks like a welcome respite, for multiple reasons. The extended forecast calls for temps in the 50s, which would actually resemble baseball weather. And of course, the White Sox are not the Astros.

 

This young Chicago club is probably more feisty and threatening than Kansas City or Detroit, but should be overmatched by the Twins anyway. It's probably the softest opponent of the month, and an opportunity to get a little fat before running the gauntlet of Indians-Rays-Yankees, all on the road.

 

While it feels almost pointless to lay out probable starters this far out, here's how they'd currently shape up:

 

Thursday: RHP Lucas Giolito v. RHP Jose Berrios

Friday: RHP Reynaldo Lopez v. RHP Lance Lynn

Saturday: RHP Miguel Gonzalez v. RHP Jake Odorizzi

Sunday: RHP Michael Fulmer v. RHP Kyle Gibson

 

Given the extreme likelihood of multiple rainouts (or freezeouts) before the White Sox series, those matchups are beyond tentative, but it gives you a look at the kind of favorable tilts Minnesota figures to see, regardless of how the names align.

 

After wrapping up this series, the Twins get to escape the cold and head for a much warmer climate in Puerto Rico – a two-game series helpfully surrounded by a pair of off days. The Indians will supply Minnesota with its second early test.

 

As it lines up now, Berrios would be starting the first game in his native territory. That's by design. But, you know about what they say about the best laid plans...

 

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There have been a number of retractable roof stadiums built. While I can understand the desire to save money by not incorporating a retractable roof, designing Target Field so that a retractable roof could never be added is looking like a poor idea.

https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/climate/journal/13_april_snow_records.html

 

I highly disagree. I lived in Houston for 10 years and we had the retractable roof and I will say I hated it! Sure it was nice on scorching hot days but they would literally leave it open for like 6 games a year. I remember going to opening day several years ago, it was a beautiful 70 degrees and partly cloudy, they had it open for a fly over and then closed it, I was SO mad. They like to keep to closed for crowd noise even on good days. They other thing is they build retractable roofs like giant boxes and the whole place feels like an airplane hanger, not a good way to take in baseball. And in Minnesota it's worth it to suffer a few weeks for a beautiful whole summer of outdoor baseball

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I highly disagree. I lived in Houston for 10 years and we had the retractable roof and I will say I hated it! Sure it was nice on scorching hot days but they would literally leave it open for like 6 games a year. I remember going to opening day several years ago, it was a beautiful 70 degrees and partly cloudy, they had it open for a fly over and then closed it, I was SO mad. They like to keep to closed for crowd noise even on good days. They other thing is they build retractable roofs like giant boxes and the whole place feels like an airplane hanger, not a good way to take in baseball. And in Minnesota it's worth it to suffer a few weeks for a beautiful whole summer of outdoor baseball

Agreed, and I can confirm that Milwaukee's retractable roof is disappointing as well. You either build a stadium open like Target Field or closed like the Vikings Stadium but it still feels like it's outside with the glass roof.

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I highly disagree. I lived in Houston for 10 years and we had the retractable roof and I will say I hated it! Sure it was nice on scorching hot days but they would literally leave it open for like 6 games a year. I remember going to opening day several years ago, it was a beautiful 70 degrees and partly cloudy, they had it open for a fly over and then closed it, I was SO mad. They like to keep to closed for crowd noise even on good days. They other thing is they build retractable roofs like giant boxes and the whole place feels like an airplane hanger, not a good way to take in baseball. And in Minnesota it's worth it to suffer a few weeks for a beautiful whole summer of outdoor baseball

sounds like your main problem with the retractable roof is how it is used. For those of us who have to travel quite a ways to go to games, and pay a lot to get there and stay in hotels, retractable roofs would be a huge money saver. Edited by jimmer
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There have been a number of retractable roof stadiums built. While I can understand the desire to save money by not incorporating a retractable roof, designing Target Field so that a retractable roof could never be added is looking like a poor idea.

https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/climate/journal/13_april_snow_records.html

Respectfully disagree.    Having a roof, retractable or not, for the chance of the occasional rainout/snowout/freezeout is not ideal.    Though I'll admit, the upcoming weather is not either.

 

 

What would be better is scheduled double headers to allow the season to start nearer April 15th.    Unfortunately, this will never happen.

 

 

 

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There have been a number of retractable roof stadiums built. While I can understand the desire to save money by not incorporating a retractable roof, designing Target Field so that a retractable roof could never be added is looking like a poor idea.

https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/climate/journal/13_april_snow_records.html

In the specific case of TF, they didn’t have the extra land necessary for a retractable roof.

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Seattle's retractable roof stadium is spectacular. Even when the roof is closed, you still feel like you're outside thanks to the open sides. It doesn't do much for raising the temperature when it's cold, but it keeps the rain and snow off the field and fans.

 

I respectfully disagree.

 

It’s an airplane hanger, not a baseball stadium IMO.

 

A nice hanger, to be sure, but a hanger.

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sounds like your main problem with the retractable roof is how it is used. For those of us who have to travel quite a ways to go to games, and pay a lot to get there and stay in hotels, retractable roofs would be a huge money saver.

 

You must of had some bad luck, I've travelled to watch probably more than 100 baseball games in various places and have sat through a couple rain delays, but never had one postponed. Ironically, the only sporting event I didn't get to see was when I took my oldest son to see the Vikings for his 16th birthday and the dome collapsed. 

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There is no guarantee it goes well and he is ready. Who starts for Rochester April 6? Chattanooga April 5/6?

 

I mean, I think we all know the "oblique" thing was just to keep him on a schedule, ready to start April 11th when they needed their 5th starter. Weather in Minnesota may alter that timeline some if there are snow/weather outs, but my assumption is that it's just a final tune up before his MLB start.

 

Now yeah, if he does get hurt or reports something else, I'm sure they will have a contingency plan.

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sounds like your main problem with the retractable roof is how it is used. For those of us who have to travel quite a ways to go to games, and pay a lot to get there and stay in hotels, retractable roofs would be a huge money saver.

How it's used is a big deal, there was an article done several years ago that found teams with retractable roofs were using it a very small amount of time (Mintue Maid in Houston was actually the least though), it's not just that though, it's the over all experience. It's just not the same as outdoors games even with all of it's imperfections like cold and rain.

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How it's used is a big deal, there was an article done several years ago that found teams with retractable roofs were using it a very small amount of time (Mintue Maid in Houston was actually the least though), it's not just that though, it's the over all experience. It's just not the same as outdoors games even with all of it's imperfections like cold and rain.

I get that, but let's say you live near the ballpark and a game you have tickets for gets rained or snowed out. It gets rescheduled for a later date in the year. You can just go back then since you live there and see it. The travelling fans just spent the money to travel there and hotel room for nothing. I wish this was theoretical, but I only go to a few MLB games a year (if any depending in circumstances) and I almost always schedule the visits between June 1 and end of August. Yet I have only once had a visit for a series where at least one game wasn't cancelled and rescheduled to a later time if the year. It just stinks to have that happen. One time, I was only going to two games at Coors Field and both games were cancelled and rescheduled for like a month later. Money right down the toilet.
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When they built Target Field average April and also October temps were taken into consideration.  We know October to be a beautiful month here yes late in the month night playoff baseball could be challenging...lets hope we experience that this year!

 

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/318107-target-field-wont-be-abnormally-cold-quit-your-whining

https://www.currentresults.com/Weather/US/average-city-temperatures-in-october.php  

 

I have had this conversation with baseball friends...not going to happen but thought I would throw it out there.

 

Go back to a 154 game schedule.

Have ONE scheduled day/night double header per month on a Saturday.

Start teams up north on a modest 6 game max road trip.

More DAY GAMES in April in northern cities.upper 40's early April and 50's into the month and sunshine is playable baseball weather.  There may be an occasional rain out.

Have playoffs start earlier with a 1st round best of 3 vs. current one/done model.

Helps to diminish colder weather in late October for WS games by starting playoffs weeks earlier.

Enjoy the day and WIN TWINS!

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I’m not sure what Minnespolis got for snow in March. Winona got about 3 inches. We got about 9 since yesterday.

 

There are expected to be several new record lows recorded in the next few days, with overnight lows in the teens and single digits. Not temperatures below average. Temperatures below RECORD LOWS. The weather this week isn’t just bad, it is historically poor. **** happens. Deal with it as best as possible and move on.

 

btw, in 1991 the daily highs for April 5, 6 and 7 were set in Minneapolis: in the 80s.

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Have ONE scheduled day/night double header per month on a Saturday.

Start teams up north on a modest 6 game max road trip.

More DAY GAMES in April in northern cities.upper 40's early April and 50's into the month and sunshine is playable baseball weather.  

These ideas, in my opinion, are both reasonable and feasible.  In fact, I'd go one step further regarding the doubleheader idea: every Sat or Sun during Jun - Aug should be a twin bill.  Subtract a few of these Apr games that are poorly attended (and not just in Minnesota) and add games when fans actually attend: summer months.  

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I mean, I think we all know the "oblique" thing was just to keep him on a schedule, ready to start April 11th when they needed their 5th starter. Weather in Minnesota may alter that timeline some if there are snow/weather outs, but my assumption is that it's just a final tune up before his MLB start.

 

Now yeah, if he does get hurt or reports something else, I'm sure they will have a contingency plan.

 

The AAA starter is TBD (same as the AA), but I'd love to see the Twins have a hard time making a decision, if, let's say, Romero opens the season with a no hitter while Hughes is Hughes and cannot get high A bats out...

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I like the idea of starting off in division so that the games can be made up easier on a later date.   I also like the idea of scheduling to warm weather home games early on (TB, HOU, TX, ARI, LA, ATL, etc, and I like the PR games as well).  It wouldn't even bother me to have them play in warm weather environments in the south similar to the PR game.  Bottom line is that I hate cold weather and therefore, I hate cold weather baseball.

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When they built Target Field average April and also October temps were taken into consideration.  We know October to be a beautiful month here yes late in the month night playoff baseball could be challenging...lets hope we experience that this year!

 

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/318107-target-field-wont-be-abnormally-cold-quit-your-whining

https://www.currentresults.com/Weather/US/average-city-temperatures-in-october.php  

 

I have had this conversation with baseball friends...not going to happen but thought I would throw it out there.

 

Go back to a 154 game schedule.

Have ONE scheduled day/night double header per month on a Saturday.

Start teams up north on a modest 6 game max road trip.

More DAY GAMES in April in northern cities.upper 40's early April and 50's into the month and sunshine is playable baseball weather.  There may be an occasional rain out.

Have playoffs start earlier with a 1st round best of 3 vs. current one/done model.

Helps to diminish colder weather in late October for WS games by starting playoffs weeks earlier.

Enjoy the day and WIN TWINS!

I agree. MLB pushes opening day earlier and earlier and WS starts later and later. I think this is the issue. Theres no reason to play baseball in March or November. Dbl headers or shorter schedule is the solution. they will never do it due to revenue loss, but it'd be the right thing to do. April 15 - Sept 15th ish with playoffs until Oct 15

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The AAA starter is TBD (same as the AA), but I'd love to see the Twins have a hard time making a decision, if, let's say, Romero opens the season with a no hitter while Hughes is Hughes and cannot get high A bats out...

I would prefer to see Hughes healthy and pitching well as well as the other options get off to good starts.

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