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Game Thread: Twins of Minnesota @ Guardians of Ohio, 6/29/22, 6:10PM CDT (4:10PM PDT)


Good afternoon, Twins fans! After playing three games in 27 hours, the Central Division Leadership has taken a brief recess (21 hours or so) before two more games in 21 hours starting tonight. Then the Twins travel back across Guardiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin (or maybe cut across Ontario and Michigan if the pilot is not afraid of water) to play the Orioles of Maryland at the weekend.

Pre-Game Diversion: Favorite Baseball Books

This is a topic that has appeared here from time to time: favorite baseball movies or books. Since I don’t do a lot of movies, I’d like to hear about your favorite baseball books tonight. (I’m thinking about histories or novels, not analytical treatises.)

I have loved most of the classics---W. P. Kinsella’s Shoeless Joe, Lawrence Ritter’s The Glory of their Times, Roger Kahn’s The Boys of Summer, and Eliot Asinof’s Eight Men Out come to mind. But for my choices, I’d throw out three lesser-known books (in no particular order because I cannot rank them) that you might enjoy if you can find them.

  • Morry Frank, Every Young Man’s Dream. First paragraph hooked me: “I ruined my own life. I had the best arm in the Southern League. A whip, a slingshot. Goliath would have fallen from my stone. Confidence? You’d have wanted to slap my face. I could cut one off in the hole, plant my right foot, and throw so hard that the first baseman’s eyes would pop open…” Gritty and gripping.
  • Arnold Hano, A Day in the Bleachers. I found this book through the author's obituary in the New York Times last winter. Hano was a young Giants’ fan in 1954 when he sat in a bleacher seat at Game 1 of the World Series against the heavily favored Cleveland Pre-Guardians. The entire (short) book consists of his day, from waking up and deciding to go to the Polo Grounds, to standing in line hoping to get in, to interacting with the fans around him (including some Cleveland fans he found obnoxious), to “The Catch” by Willie Mays to save the game in the 8th inning. His compelling, journalistic narrative makes it seem as though you are sitting in the seat next to him! The action takes place in one day; my reading of it did, too.
  • Robert Coover, The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. Wonderful, quirky novel about an introverted adult whose life increasingly revolves around a Strat-O-Matic-like game of his own invention. Dark, but fascinating for those who have been hooked on sports games.

Have you read these three? Please add your reaction. Other off-the-beaten-path books to recommend? Please tell us about them.

The Main Event

OK, I’m supposed to talk about this upcoming baseball game, so let’s get to it.

On the mound for the Twins is Dylan Bundy, who is 4-4 with a 4.80 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. In his last two starts, though, he has given up only 2 ER and 10 baserunners in 14 IP, a remarkable comeback after being unanimously DFAed by Twins Daily a couple of weeks ago. We will all hope that this pattern continues tonight.

For the Guardians, it’s Cal Quantrill, a right-hander who is also 4-4, but with a 3.76 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. Cal is a 27-year-old Canadian out of Stanford, whose father Paul pitched for 7 teams over a 14-year career from 1992 to 2005.

Today’s starting lineups are below, with Win Probability Added because it’s my favorite “advanced statistic.” I confidently predict grumbling on TD about (1) Buxton and Correa out for the same game, (2) Polanco playing ss, (3) Sánchez and Jeffers both in the lineup, and (4) the Twins having only 3 (out of 10) players in the lineup with positive WPA. 

Twins (43-34)

1. Arraez, 2b, +1.57 WPA
2. Miranda, 1b, -0.70 WPA
3. Polanco, ss, +0.81 WPA
4. Kepler, rf, +0.31 WPA
5. Sánchez, dh, -0.25 WPA
6. Kirilloff, lf, -0.16 WPA
7. Urshela, 3b, -0.11 WPA
8. Jeffers, c, -0.12 WPA
9. Celestino, cf, -0.44 WPA
SP: Bundy (R), ­-0.54 WPA

Guardians (37-34)

1. Kwan, lf, +0.35 WPA
2. Rosario, ss, -1.18 WPA
3. Ramírez, 3b, +1.73 WPA
4. Naylor, 1b, +2.12 WPA
5. Reyes, dh, -0.67 WPA
6. Giménez, 2b, +1.44 WPA
7. Gonzalez, rf, +0.80 WPA
8. Maile, c, -0.48 WPA
9. Straw, cf, -2.00 WPA
SP: Quantrill (R), +0.02 WPA

Commence grumbling!

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I see that Buxton and CC are on Rocco's "schedule" tonight. I can't even begin to tell you how much I hate them sitting at the same time. I hope the baseball Gods are with us tonight. I have a feeling we'll need it. 

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As per usual, an interesting lineup. That said, one thing about this year's team is that they have major leaguers across the board. It wouldn't surprise me if the Twins tallied five or more runs tonight. Run suppression on the other hand, well Dylan Bundy and the bullpen will have to convince me that they can hold Cleveland to four or less runs.

BTW, the betting on this game is even, but ESPN gives the home team a 62 percent chance of winning. What do they know?

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1 hour ago, CRF said:

I see that Buxton and CC are on Rocco's "schedule" tonight. I can't even begin to tell you how much I hate them sitting at the same time. I hope the baseball Gods are with us tonight. I have a feeling we'll need it. 

Well, if they are going to sit on the same night, better it's an away game than the hometown crowd. But yeah ... (which means 'no comment')

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10 minutes ago, Squirrel said:

Well, if they are going to sit on the same night, better it's an away game than the hometown crowd. But yeah ... (which means 'no comment')

Better to rip the band-aid off quickly than slowly? They're getting their days off now matter what, now it is one game without them than two games without one each?

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I absolutely loved The Boys of Summer.  Two others I remember in my life experience are Beyond the Sixth Game by Peter Gammons (about the 1975-1983 Red Sox) and The Bronx Zoo by Sparky Lyle and Peter Golenbock (about the 1978 Yankees, one of the most rollercoaster seasons ever seen in the majors).

Buxton was 1 PA shy of qualifying heading into this evening, so I guess he's now 4 short.

Per the Hano book: no baseball game should ever feature a home run hit 200 feet shorter than another ball caught for an out.  But such happened in Game 1 of the '54 Series.

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1 hour ago, CRF said:

I see that Buxton and CC are on Rocco's "schedule" tonight. I can't even begin to tell you how much I hate them sitting at the same time. I hope the baseball Gods are with us tonight. I have a feeling we'll need it. 

I think it would be a good idea to give Rocco a day off every few games.

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5 minutes ago, BH67 said:

Three outs on eight pitches.  Cleveland's leadoff hitter gets on base.  Not an auspicious start.

You thought things were bad when you wrote this. NOW look at the mess we're in.

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I think by rule that may actually be an illegal slide by Ramirez...he popped up on that into the throwing lane. Really surprised you're not burning a challenge right there. When else are you going to be able to challenge a play that swings the game by 2 runs?

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4 minutes ago, bighat said:

You thought things were bad when you wrote this. NOW look at the mess we're in.

Not watching live.  Should that have been an inning-ending DP?

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1 minute ago, Mill1634 said:

I think by rule that may actually be an illegal slide by Ramirez...he popped up on that into the throwing lane. Really surprised you're not burning a challenge right there. When else are you going to be able to challenge a play that swings the game by 2 runs?

They would have lost had they challenged. Don’t know how you penalize a runner for a slide right on the base

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