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  1. You're not supposed to spoil the underdogs... I'm torn today, because I want Toronto to get in the Wild Card Game. They are an exciting and young club, with an MVP AND Triple Crown candidate in Vlad Jr., along with our old friend José Berríos. It would be even sweeter to see one of Boston or New York to be booted from the postseason. By winning against the Blue Jays yesterday, the Twins knocked Toronto to a half game below the Yankees for the second Wild Card spot. Now, I love watching Bailey Ober. But I hate the Yankees A LOT, and I'm almost positive you do too. Maybe Ober can have a great start, and Colomé can do his best April impression and make Blue Jays fans happy in the 9th inning. This feels weird to type out on a Twins forum, but this season is so lackluster that it's time to be petty about other teams. Cleveland is going to have to help Toronto as well, if they are going to leap frog the Yankees today. Rob Refsnyder Goes On IL, Drew Maggi Gets The Call The Twins continue their roster merry-go-round, by placing Rob Refsnyder on the injured list with a right elbow impingement. Taylor Rogers was moved to the 60-day to clear 40-man space. They are calling up Drew Maggi, who is 32 years-old and getting his first taste of the majors. Great story here, as Maggi has been with the organization for three years (including the 2020 season without minor league ball). Maggi was originally drafted by Pittsburgh in the 2010 draft (Round 15), and has moved between five total minor league systems. All together, he owns a .709 OPS across 11 seasons in the minors, while playing SS, 3B, and 2B. It hasn't been an inspiring minor league career, but 2021 has been Maggi's best season to date at the ripe age of 32. He currently has a .850 OPS in 332 plate appearances, showing much more pop with a career-high 16 home runs. I've personally seen one of these 16 in Saint Paul, and the power looked legit -- not that I'm a scout or anything. Overall, this is a classy move by the Twins to reward a career minor league journeyman. I'm getting shades of Tommy Watkins, Doug Bernier, etc. As for Rob Refsnyder, I get the feeling he might have injured himself diving for that ball and coming up empty in the second inning yesterday. It's been a tale of two seasons for Refsnyder. Tom Froemming pointed out that Refsnyder had a .321/.371/.500 slash prior to his hamstring strain in June. In his last 33 games, he has struggled with a .193/.295/.229 line. Overall, Refsnyder now has a 86 wRC+ and a flat 0.0 fWAR. I think his status on the 40-man is very much up in the air going forward. Sanó Is At The Correct Position Today - DH Miguel Sanó is an engima, and a lightning rod for criticism. I won't get into ALL of his shortcomings, but one thing that has been clear is that he has been very bad defensively at 1B in 2021. FanGraphs has Sanó as the 12th least valuable player across all MLB teams in terms of fWAR (among qualified hitters) at 0.4 fWAR. That low WAR total is factoring in his above average offensive contributions, as he has a 111 wRC+. However, his defense has been so bad it negates any offensive output - and we know his bat can go missing at any moment for weeks. His defensive ratings ranked across 1B are below: Defensive Runs Saved: -3 (16/19 among FanGraphs' qualified 1B in MLB) UZR/150: -48.3 (19/19 among FanGraphs' qualified 1B in MLB) Outs Above Average: -3 (31/35 among Statcast's qualified 1B in MLB) I'd like to see Kirilloff get the majority of playing time at 1B in 2022. Anyway, the Lineups! Your Minnesota Twins (65-83) 1. Byron Buxton - CF 2. Jorge Polanco - 2B 3. Josh Donaldson - 3B 4. Miguel Sanó - DH 5. Brent Rooker - LF 6. Max Kepler - RF 7. Ryan Jeffers - C 8. Willians Astudillo - 1B 9. Nick Gordon - SS Baily Ober - RHP SP (2-2, 4.12 ERA) Toronto Blue Jays (82-65) 1. George Springer - DH 2. Marcus Semien - 2B 3. Vladdy Guerrero Jr. - 1B 4. Bo Bichette - SS 5. Teoscar Hernández - RF 6. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. - LF 7. Breyvic Valera - 3B 8. Randal Grichuk - CF 9. Reese McGuire - C Steven Matz - LHP SP (12-7, 3.87 ERA)
  2. Remember when the Twins traveled to Progressive Park in September of 2019 to decide the fate of the AL Central? Oh how these teams have taken a step back. Minnesota more so than Cleveland, but misery doesn't like to live alone. Maybe I need to stop living in 2019, but man - was that a fun season. Gant wait to see how this start goes. The Twins are throwing John Gant at Cleveland today, for his fourth start as a Minnesota Twin. Gant was effective as a reliever in his first few outings since being traded for J.A. Happ: Reliever Gant: 8.2 IP, 13 Ks, 2 BBs, .651 OPS, 4.15 ERA Starter Gant: 12.1 IP, 12 Ks, 4 BBs, .749 OPS, 7.30 ERA While starting pitcher Gant hasn't been as effective, his overall body of work shows that he's been unlucky since being traded. FanGraphs values his time as in Minnesota at 0.4 WAR, despite a 6.00 ERA in 21 total inning pitched. While that's an ugly ERA, the underlying stats are positive. His FIP is 3.50, and xFIP is even lower at 2.99 (the lowest of his career). John Gant will be arbitration eligible in 2022, probably making roughly $3 - $4M, a slight raise from his $2.1M mark. I wouldn't pencil him into the starting rotation, but he's not an immediate cut for me. It's important to build depth beyond 5 guys that an organization pencils into their rotation in March. Gant provides some swingman depth, but at a price that's higher than average for that role. Would you bring back Gant for 2022, at $3.5M? He has a few more starts to plead his case. Civale shows that you can return from a sprained finger Gant's opponent on the mound tonight is Aaron Civale, making his first start since 6/21. Civale was having a stupendous season until that point, accumulating 1.2 fWAR over 15 starts with a 3.32 ERA. Civale has been out with a sprained finger, an injury that has haunted the Twins with Randy Dobnak and Taylor Rogers missing significant time with this diagnosis. Ervin Santana was never the same after his finger injury in 2018. I'll be interested to see how all these pitchers bounce back. Dobnak had an encouraging end to his most recent start, but I'm doubtful we'll see Taylor Rogers until 2022. On the flip side, that gives him plenty of recovery time to properly heal. Fingers crossed! Rocco Papa Baldelli Bill Evers will be managing today, as Rocco and his wife welcomed Louisa Sunny Baldelli. That is an 80-grade name, in my book. Louisa has been added to the human population's active roster. THE LINEUPS Your Minnesota Twins (60 - 77) 1. Luis Arraez - DH 2. Byron Buxton - CF 3. Josh Donaldson - 3B 4. Jorge Polanco - 2B 5. Miguel Sanó - 1B 6. Max Kepler - RF 7. Brent Rooker - LF 8. Ben Rortvedt - C 9. Andrelton Simmons - SS SP - John Gant (4-9, 3.98 ERA) Cleveland Soon-To-Be-Guardians (68 - 67) 1. Myles Straw - CF 2. Andrés Giménez - SS 3. José Ramírez - 3B 4. Franmil Reyes - DH 5. Harold Ramirez - LF 6. Bradley ZImmer - RF 7. Yu Chang - 1B 8. Owen Miller - 2B 9. Austin Hedges - C SP - Aaron Civale (10-2, 3.32 ERA)
  3. 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. GET TO THE LINEUPS Without further ado, here are the lineups with some resurrected players from recent injuries: MINNESOTA TWINS (45-63) 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 HOUSTON ASTROS (65-43) 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
  4. Happy Tuesday Twins Fans! Tigers (47-55) vs Twins (43-58) 7:10 CST 7/27 Twins - 225 / Tigers +185 / O/U 9 (-115) Following Monday night's ELECTRIC win in extra innings, the Twins hope to make it 2 in a row vs division foe, the Detroit Tigers. On the bump for the Twins tonight is last nights game winning, pinch runner, Kenta Maeda. Better known for his pitching abilities, Maeda has been solid in his last 7 starts with a 3.89 ERA and 46 K's in 37 IP. Tyler Alexander will get the start tonight for the Tigers. The left hander has been used primarily as a reliever this season, as this will be just his 5th start of the season in 23 games. Sporting a 4.24 ERA in 2021, Alexander has yet to pitch more than 3.2 innings in any appearance. We may be looking at an opener type of start for Detroit. Tigers 1. Akil Baddoo CF 2. Jonathan Schoop 2B 3. Robbie Grossman LF 4 4. Miguel Cabrera 1B 5. Jeimer Candelario 3B 6. Eric Haase C 7. Willi Castro DH 8. Victor Reyes RF 9. Zack Short SS Twins 1. Jorge Polanco 2B 2. Brent Rooker LF 3. Josh Donaldson 3B 4. Mitch Garver C 5. Max Kepler RF 6. Miguel Sano DH 7. Willians Astudillo 1B 8. Gilberto Celestino CF 9. Andrelton Simmons SS
  5. After mailing in the last thread (FYI, trying to FedEx electrons to TD is marginally easier than herding cats. Marginally.) I decided to put some thought and effort into this game thread series opener. ("game thread series opener" is a trick to increase word count because, nothing says "lots of thought went into the opener" quite like a bunch of words on a screen) What was interesting about the "mailing it in" start of the game series thread openers was the Twins sweeping Texas, and, apparently, Tony Diaz switching uniforms so he could show Texas the proper way to run their way out of innings. Which brings us to today, Twins taking on the White Sox, a team the Twins have handled pretty well this year. Unfortunately, though, I cannot engage in my usual mockery of Sox fielding, due to the Twins have their own problems when it comes to catching the ball. Curse you Twins, for taking some of my best material from me! (Now there is a batting practice comment. There will be points awarded to best riff) The also-rans get: And, due to someone pointing out the obvious, we shall toss up some food for thought: 1: New York or Ribeye?2: Bacon or Ribs?3: Veronica or Betty?4: Mashed or Baked? Speaking of baked: 5: Mel or Russell? (can't forget the ladies!) Lineups: 6: Play ball! I waited just so I could get the lineups into the game thread, but the Twins left it really late!
  6. The Twins are on a West Coast swing, starting in the North, though still south of the Twin Cities, in Seattle, facing the Mariners. This should be an interesting series because the Mariners have been able to put some runs on the board. Though, their pitching seems to be able to give up quite a few runs also. Which is good for the Twins, not so good for Seattle. It's funny, because I sort of kept an eye on Seattle and noticed they had a good record, but looked at how many runs they were giving up and realized their early season record was smoke and mirrors. And, as of this writing, Seattle shows a -12 run differential while our favorite team, the Twins, show a run differential of +52. Now for some things to think about; 1: 7:10 start time on the West Coast. Blech. 2. 9:10 start time for the Midwest. Double Blech 3. Any sort of "light" beer: Blech and ptui 4. Daylight Savings Time: Blech, ptui and arrggh! Pitching for the Twins: Michael Pineda Pitching for Seattle: Erik Swanson 5. Play Ball!
  7. I've been trying to come up with a reason why the Twins have had such trouble with the Yankees over the years. I've gone through a dozen theories and each one has been discarded for one reason or another. Finally, I think I hit on the real reason: Broadway. I think the Big Apple (as opposed to the Minneapple..yes, I lived in MN during that campaign) and Broadway have combined to seduce our starting 9 into thinking their true future lies with the lights on Broadway. How do I know this? I recently caught this exchange between a couple of players: (names have been concealed, for obvious reasons) Player 1: As he smooths his well-coiffed locks, "I've been approached by Axe to be a hair model. But first, I need to do some stage work. It must be karma, because the Yankees are in town and one of the players said he could get me an audition!" Player 2: Batting helmet falls off as he walks with Player 1, "Wow, that sounds like fun. But we've got practice today. In fact, don't you have to work with Bruno on going opposite field today?" (waits while Davis brings helmet) Player 1: Again, smoothing his hair, "Practice isn't a problem. Bruno wrote me a note, excusing me from BP today. Besides, a chance like this doesn't come along very often. Also, I don't want to risk messing up my hair before my audition." Player 2: Puts helmet on head, it promptly falls off again, "Bruno wrote you a note? Really? That seems a bit, ummm, odd, shall we say?" Player 1: Putting more gel on hair while chatting, "Well, I have a note and Bruno's signature is on it, what more do I need?" Player 2: "Hand me my helmet, will you?" "Anyway, this whole Broadway thing sounds like a setup or something. How do you know this is legit?" Player 1: "Look at this note I received from Axe! See, the official Axe logo and everything is on it!" Player 2: "Wow, I'll bet that's every bit as legitimate as your note from Bruno!" Player 1: "I know, right? Oh, wait..well, I'm going anyway!" Player 2: Puts helmet under arm for now, "Okay, we'll see you at the game this evening." Some things to think about: 1. First, a confession: I was supposed to do the thread yesterday and forgot. 2. Today is Father's Day. Bring back a win against the Evil Empire, Twins! 3. I'm getting this thread up early so as to not risk the wrath of ChiTown. 4. Sigh. 5. Go Twins!!
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