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Game Thread Twins vs Astros 8/5/21 7:10 PM CDT

I can't think of a more "Dog Days of Summer" locale than Houston, TX. I believe Kris Atteberry mentioned yesterday that the Twins are entering their third and final leg of the "Humidity Tour", consisting of St. Louis, Cincinnati, and now... H-Town. At least there's a roof at Minute Maid Park, unlike Busch Stadium or Great American Ballpark. Now I want some orange juice, but absolutely no pulp. 

The last time the Twins visited Minute Maid was in April of 2019. Check out these pitchers of record for a blast from the recent past: 

April 22nd

  • Twins 9, Astros 5
  • Winning Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi
  • Losing Pitcher: Brad Peacock

April 23rd

  • Twins 4, Astros 10
  • Winning Pitcher: Hector Rondon
  • Losing Pitcher: Trevor Hildenberger (I miss this guy. He ranks #2 on my favorite side armed relievers after Pat Neshek)

April 24th

  • Twins 1, Astros 7
  • Winning Pitcher: Justin Verlander
  • Losing Pitcher: Kohl Stewart

None of these pitchers of record are still with these teams, with the exception of Verlander, who is sidelined for all of 2021. It shows how much can change in over 2 years - pitchers leave team, the Astros get caught in a cheating scandal after losing the World Series, a global pandemic brings society to its knees, etc. You know, just normal change in a 2-year span of time. 

Twins Claim Matt... errr... Ralph Garza Jr. 

In other news, the Twins recently claimed a relief pitcher from Houston. Ralph Garza Jr. is a 27 year-old right-hander that debuted with Houston on 5/29 with a 4.09 ERA with 11 IP pitched. Garza Jr. throws 3 primary pitches -- a 92 MPH Fastball, a 76 MPH Curveball, and an 89 MPH Cutter. He also mixed in a Changeup and Slider on occasion during his 11 IP with Houston. More importantly, he also has great hair. Falvey and Levine clearly have a type. 


Garza Jr. is now the third reliever the Twins have claimed in the last few weeks, joining Beau Burrows (who is not off to a great start), and Edgar Garcia. Garcia was claimed in the midst of the trade deadline day from the Cincinnati Reds. Which claimed reliever will make the largest impact, if any? This may be the most exciting competition over the next few weeks. 


Rob Returns!

The Twins announced that they activated proven CF, Rob Refsnyder, from the Injured List today. Nick Gordon was the casualty from the Twins active roster, as he was sent to AAA St. Paul. 

I know many fans are sad to see Nick Gordon consistently miss an opportunity at everyday playing time, but he will hopefully get that in St. Paul. It is disappointing that opportunity hasn't come on the major league roster, but maybe that will change in a week or a month. Until then, we get more Jake Cave and Andrelton Simmons. 

On the other hand, Rob Refsnyder also deserves a shot to prove his torrid stretch was not a fluke. This man RAKED in a small sample size of 62 plate appearances over 18 games, posting a slash line of .321/.372/.500 with a 138 wRC+. The only players with a higher wRC+ in 2021 are Byron Buxton (217), Mitch Garver (144), Nelson Cruz (142), annnnnnd BAILEY OBER (184). We love small sample sizes. 

In all seriousness, I think a super-utility role for our Rob in 2022 is not out of the question. 


Without further ado, here are the lineups with some resurrected players from recent injuries:


1. Jorge "He's back, for real" Polanco, 2B

2. Brent "Why does Rocco put him in the 2-hole?" Rooker, LF

3. Josh "Not quite ready for the field yet" Donaldson, DH

4. Mitch "Father of Gamble" Garver, C

5. Rob "CF of the future" Refsnyder - CF

6. Miguel "Having a decent performance since Cruz left" Sano, 1B

7. Willians "Slugging .765 over his last 7 games" Astudillo, 3B

8. Trevor "Please break out of this slump" Larnach, RF

9. Andrelton "Yes, he's still here. Sigh." Simmons, SS

Starting Pitcher: Griffin "Top Gun" Jax 



1. Jose Altuve, 2B

2. Chas McCormick, CF

3. Michael Brantley, DH

4. Yordan Alvarez, LF

5. Aledmys Diaz, 3B

6. Kyle Tucker, RF

7. Martin Maldonado, 1B

8. Robel Garcia, SS

9. *OLD FRIEND ALERT* Jason Castro, C


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2 minutes ago, h2oface said:

So I am assuming that - Josh "Not quite ready for the field yet" Donaldson, 3B - is actually the DH? It is a shame that Miranda is not playing third then. How long does the Astudillo novelty act have to go on?

Good catch, here! I was also ready for JD or Miranda to play 3B over Astudillo. Curious what the FO does with him over the offseason as he approaches Arbitration.. 

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1 hour ago, Dave The Dastardly said:

Bummed about Gordon going down. The kid's a player and a part of the future in my less than humble opinion.

I'm sure he'll be back, if not this month then certainly in September. But I agree, he has a role on this team if he can play up-the-middle defensive positions. He deserves a longer a look than he's received at the major league level, with the state of the team being so abysmal and nothing to lose. 

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7 minutes ago, LVTwinsfan said:

I still think Houston should change their name to the Cheetahs, besides Astros is offensive to cartoon dogs.

But, the his real name is 'Rastro' :) 

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