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  1. The Twins face the soon-to-be re-nicknamed Cleveland team in game three of a four game series at Target Field (weather permitting). Last night the Twins prevailed 8-7 despite allowing four home runs and two unearned runs. Winning pitcher Griffin Jax provided 4.1 innings of acceptable relief and some hefty hitting by Luis Arraez and others was just enough. The weather forecast for Minneapolis is for rain to start this afternoon and last through the evening hours. The ground is parched and the rain is needed, but it would be nice for the Twins to get this game in today. Here in southeast Minnesota, the rain has already begun. I think either the game starts on time or it won't be played. Kenta Maeda starts for the home team. He's looked better, but certainly not on the level he performed in the shortened 2020 season. The Twins' bullpen has been used for over half of the innings in the series. It will be interesting to see how many innings Maeda will work if the game is in fact played. Lineup notes: Lefty hitting Trevor Larnach and Luis Arraez start against Sam Hentges, who is making his fourth start for Cleveland. Rookies Nick Gordon and Alex Kirilloff will begin the game on the bench despite good hitting yesterday. Max Kepler also is on the bench after another oh-fer as he continues to find his stroke. There are options for the Twins offensively, but the injuries they have are all to right handed hitters. Lineups: Pitching LAYER W-L ERA WHIP IP H K BB HR S. Hentges 1-1 6.40 1.89 32.1 45 37 16 5 K. Maeda 3-2 4.85 1.44 52.0 60 50 15 11 Cleveland (41-32) hitters HITTERS H-AB RBI HR SB AVG C. HernandezDH 60-278 28 11 0 .216 A. RosarioSS 63-238 23 5 7 .265 J. Ramirez3B 66-256 44 16 6 .258 E. RosarioLF 66-260 42 6 9 .254 B. Bradley1B 14-56 15 6 0 .250 J. NaylorRF 59-231 21 7 1 .255 E. Clement2B 4-13 1 0 0 .308 B. ZimmerCF 15-66 5 0 4 .227 R. RiveraC 12-50 8 1 0 .240 Twins (32-43) hitters ITTERS H-AB RBI HR SB AVG J. Polanco2B 66-260 30 9 6 .254 J. Donaldson3B 49-198 29 10 0 .247 N. CruzDH 69-230 39 16 1 .300 T. LarnachRF 32-129 12 5 0 .248 R. JeffersC 19-93 14 5 0 .204 M. Sano1B 38-197 34 14 0 .193 L. ArraezLF 52-176 20 1 0 .295 G. CelestinoCF 4-34 1 1 0 .118 A. SimmonsSS 48-196 14 2 0 .245
  2. The Twins visit Seattle on the first leg of a two-city road trip. The Mariners are three games under .500 despite having a poorer run differential than the Twins, who are 13 games below the break-even mark. The Mariners started the Twins slide off a cliff in April when they came back from a 6-0 deficit in the middle innings and beat the Twins. The Twins really haven't been the same since. Yesterday's game marked another low point as the Twins gave up 14 runs and 20 hits to a good Houston lineup. The three relievers who followed Pineda to the mound yielded runs in every inning, totaling nine runs and 14 hits in five innings. The way those three pitchers are throwing, they should not be on a big league pitching staff. There will be reinforcements. Kenta Maeda is scheduled to start tonight and the return of position players Luis Arraez and Byron Buxton seems imminent. Max Kepler is rehabbing in St. Paul and probably will be ready before the team returns to Minnesota. A week from today, the roster figures to look considerably different than the squad that faced Houston. Only Maeda can pitch among the returnees and that is where the Twins have fallen apart. Further it looks like there isn't much help available in the minor leagues. There will be a crunch particularly among the outfielders. Adding back Buxton and eventually Kepler will give the Twins a lot of choices to play the corner outfield spots. Given how the season has gone, there probably will be an injury or two to current players. This is not the season I expected, but watching the progress (or lack thereof) of players is about all a fan can do. Go Twins! Lineups to follow. Twins Kenta Maeda (R) 1. Jorge Polanco (S) 2B 2. Josh Donaldson (R) 3B 3. Nelson Cruz (R) DH 4. Trevor Larnach (L) LF 5. Ryan Jeffers (R) C 6. Miguel Sano (R) 1B 7. Alex Kirilloff (L) RF 8. Andrelton Simmons (R) SS 9. Gilberto Celestino (R) CF Mariners Marco Gonzales (L) 1. J.P. Crawford (L) SS 2. Jake Fraley (L) DH 3. Ty France (R) 1B 4. Kyle Seager (L) 3B 5. Dylan Moore (R) 2B 6. Jake Bauers (L) RF 7. Tom Murphy (R) C 8. Shed Long Jr. (L) LF 9. Taylor Trammell (L) CF
  3. Catch-Up What's the best part of baseball? I would argue its the fact that unlike other sports, you get an opportunity to write a wrong the day after a rough game and now the Twins have that chance. A fully rested bullpen, a trade acquisition with high aspirations making his debut, a full blown nerdy analytical lineup from Rocco, let's do this. Where to Listen WCCO 830, TIBN Where to Watch Fox Sports North Starting Pitchers Minnesota: Kenta Maeda*| 10-8, 4.04 ERA, 153.1 IP, 1.07 WHIP in 26 starts and 11 relief appearances in 2019.Chicago: Reynaldo Lopez**| 10-15, 5.38 ERA, 184.0 IP, 1.46 WHIP in 33 starts in 2019.*=Kenta Maeda: History lesson for you all. Garver switched to #8 because of this man on the bump. Maeda is honoring a tradition that has been a mainstay in Japanese baseball that the "ace," of the rotation adorns the #18 and now today we get to see him earn that number. A tradition started with the Yomiuri Giants in the 90's carries to the Minnesota Twins today, and we're all better off for it. **=Reynaldo Lopez: Led MLB in ER's (110) last year. Minnesota Batting Order* *=Per Twins Daily Writer Matthew Taylor on twitter: Twins splits vs. Lopez Chicago Batting Order Storylines 1. Per Twins Daily writer Tom Froemming on Kenta Maeda, Notebook 7/26 Maeda threw 84 pitches in his final tuneup outing of Summer Camp, so he should be close to full stretched out. It’s going to be interesting to see how he performs away from Dodger Stadium. He has a career 3.23 ERA at Chavez Ravine and 4.54 mark everywhere else. In his only previous outing at Guaranteed Rate Field, Maeda delivered five innings of one-run ball back in 2017.Maeda has been death to right-handed hitters over his career, holding them to a .199/.251/.339 batting line (.589 OPS). That bodes well, as this is a very right-handed White Sox lineup, but switch hitters Yasmani Grandal (.799 OPS) and Yoan Moncada (.839 OPS) have been better against righties over their careers. 2. Since the Twins got thumped yesterday, their bullpen is fully rested. On the other hand the White Sox still tooted out some of their best arms yesterday so again on paper, the Twins should have this one. I would look to Maeda to make a strong debut, look for Arraez to have a good day, and in honor of Maeda from @TwinsCave on twitter, 行くツインズのズ行こう!!
  4. We're a couple days away from Summer Camp opening up for the Twins and the rest of Major League Baseball, I can't wait for the shirts, and we're about 25 days away from Opening Day pending the official schedule release, so I thought it fitting to make my prediction about how the season will unfold for Minnesota. Everybody and their mom have done Virtual seasons, from Aaron Gleeman managing the club on OOTP Baseball, to Ted Schwerzler posting post-game reports on Twitter daily, to myself managing the Twins but also calling every game on MLB The Show, there's been a lot to follow here on Twins Daily. I'm 23 years old and I can honestly say this has felt like the highest expectations for the Twins in my lifetime. Currently on Oddshark.com, the Twins are tied for 5th with the 2019 World Champs for the highest odds to win the World Series. https://www.oddsshark.com/mlb/world-series-odds This basis for the Twins success in those odds isn't all based on last year's historic season either. From adding arms like Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill, Homer Bailey, and Tyler Clippard to one of the splashiest moves this off-season in acquiring the Bringer of Rain Josh Donaldson, the feeling throughout Twins Territory is that this team has a chance to have us partying on Nicolette Ave. come October (if we can even have parades by then). But how have those free-agent moves panned out for the Virtual Twins? Let's take a look and that and more through the first 60 games. Firstly let's take a look at some of those Free-Agent acquisitions and how they have panned out: Josh Donaldson: After starting the season with an 11 game hitting streak, the Bringer or Rain ran into a drought at the plate for Minnesota. After 60 games Donaldson was batting .250, 6 HR, 18 RBI, and was 2nd last among the tradition starting nine for Minnesota in RBI's (Arraez in last with 9 RBI's). Donaldson's bat has picked up some in late June but for the purposes of this outlook I'm only examining the first 60 games which goes to show how weird this season is going to be. https://www.twitch.tv/thuuuuney/clip/OutstandingDoubtfulEmuPeteZaroll Kenta Maeda: Throughout calling games for the Virtual Twins one of my favorite players to examine has been Maeda. in 54.2 IP, Kenta had racked up 83 K's and would have him registered with the highest K/9 in baseball except for the fact that he wouldn't qualify in regards to innings pitched. From his most dazzling performance against Oakland where he racked up 14 K's, to a 2.96 ERA, Maeda has been just what the doctor ordered for a reliable starter in the middle of the Twins rotation. http://www.twitch.tv/thuuuuney/clip/OutstandingDoubtfulEmuPeteZaroll Homer Bailey: Before COVID-19 a talking point among Twins fans was how there was pitching to back up some notable starters who were still months away from joining the club like Michael Pineda and Rich Hill. Those pitchers included Jhoulys Chacin and Homer Bailey who were viewed as stop gap starters to hold the fort until reinforcements arrived, but in the Virtual season, Bailey was making a case to be the Twins ace. Through starting the year as a LRP and then being moved to the starting rotation after a rough open by Devin Smeltzer, Homer Bailey had the 2nd best ERA in the American League behind Gerrit Cole at 2.01 in 78.1 IP and despite the strikeout totals being significantly less than Maeda at 50, Bailey was missing bats and leading the Twins staff. A talking point among pitchers for Minnesota is how much Wes Johnson has helped in their development, could the same happen this real season to find whatever is left from Bailey's tenured arm? Next, let's take a look at the AL Central Standings through 60 games and pillage through the rough to find out meaningful information: First of all in the Virtual season the Twins repeated as AL Central Champs (hooray!) but there are differences to how the real season will be played. 40 of the 60 games are against the division and extrapolating the data from the Division category the Twins would've gone 25-15 against the division in a 60 game season, meaning going .500 against the NL Central would more than likely guarantee a playoff spot. But as you can see minus a game the Indians had essentially the same record against the division so in theory it would be a tight race for the Central. This season is going to be 37% the normal size of a regular season so each game will feel immensely more important, it will be a tough race indeed for Minnesota. Before closing with notable stats for the Twin's starting nine, I wanted to share some highlights we will sadly be missing this year due to the schedule realignment. We will first of all miss pitcher's batting with the Universal DH, so enjoy what could've been with Jose Berrios getting his first career RBI double (yes you read that right). https://www.twitch.tv/thuuuuney/clip/BitterSpoopyMarjoramBrainSlug Who knows what the postseason will entail, but we will miss the Twins playing the Yankees in the regular season, so enjoy Max Kepler completely dismantling the Bronx Bombers in New York. https://www.twitch.tv/thuuuuney/clip/KnottyDreamyHamYee Finally, at least for the start of the year, we will miss being at Target Field. Moments like when baseball starts will still be special, but will be significantly different without fans in the stands. https://www.twitch.tv/videos/583432621 Finally let's take a look at the starting nine you can expect on day one for Minnesota and what their stats may look like come the end of the season Garver building off his silver slugger (at the time of game 60 he lead the MLB in Slg and OPS), Nelson Cruz not showing any signs of regression, Kepler and Sano flourishing in their prime, there are a lot of reasons to be excited as Twins fans. This season will be different than any other we've ever had and even though I hate the extra innings rule for a runner at 2nd, we should embrace the weird and enjoy, from what we can gather from the Virtual Twins, what looks to be a seemingly unforgettable year for Minnesota. For those who want to follow along with the finale of my Virtual Twins project, you can keep updated here in the megathread. http://twinsdaily.com/topic/37528-virtual-twins-baseball-megathread/ Also the plan moving forward for this project will go as follows: Sim to the playoffs on June 5th, Wild Card/ALDS July 5th-9th, if Twins make it, ALCS July 10th-14th, and finally if they make it, The World Series from July 19th-22nd/23rd depending on what the official start date is for the Twins, and it all can be followed at the Virtual Twins network, http://twitch.tv/thuuuuney.
  5. Catch-Up How sweet is this! Another series comes down to the final game as the Angels take game one on Friday and the Twins even the series yesterday. Pour a hot cup of Joe, ease your seat back, and enjoy some Sunday Afternoon Baseball! Pre-game 12:45pm Where to watch Virtual Twins Baseball Network AL Central Standings 1. Twins 19-14 2. Indians 20-16 3. Royals 18-16 4. White Sox 14-20 5. Tigers 10-24 Starting Pitchers Twins: Kenta Maeda 1-1, 2.30 ERA, 27.1 IP, 47 K'sAngels: Griffin Canning 2-1, 3.12 ERA, 34.2 IP, 33 K's**= Kenta Maeda: 10th in AL, Strikeouts (47). Twins Batting Order RF Max Kepler .234 BA, 9 HR, 12 RBI SS Jorge Polanco .273 BA, 4 HR, 19 RBI 3B Josh Donaldson .271 BA, 2 HR, 11 RBI C Mitch Garver .302 BA, 10 HR, 18 RBI LF Eddie Rosario .239 BA, 4 HR, 13 RBI DH Nelson Cruz .246 BA, 5 HR, 16 RBI 1B Miguel Sano .253 BA, 7 HR, 13 RBI 2B Luis Arraez .317 BA, 1 HR, 6 RBI CF Byron Buxton .229 BA, 5 HR, 11 RBI*=Mitch Garver: Leads all AL catchers in BA,HR, and RBI's. Angels Batting Order 2B Tommy La Stella .330 BA, 6 HR, 17 RBI CF Mike Trout .274 BA, 6 HR, 20 RBI 3B Anthony Rendon .322 BA, 9 HR, 27 RBI DH Shohei Ohtani* .279 BA, 2 HR, 9 RBI 1B Albert Pujols .346 BA, 4 HR, 21 RBI LF Justin Upton .234 BA, 4 HR, 9 RBI RF Brian Goodwin .204 BA, 5 HR, 15 RBI SS Andrelton Simmons .353 BA, 6 HR, 22 RBI C Jason Castro .245 BA, 6 HR, 11 RBI*= "Sho Time," in LA. Ohtani in GM1 as SP, (5.0IP, 6H, 4ER, 1BB, 5K's in Win). Will play DH for GM3. Bomba Tracker - 2019 through 33 games: 57 - 2020: 50 Storylines 1. It's "Sho Time," in LA as the series will come down to the final game and the Angels will tout their two-way talent in Shohei Ohtani today at DH. 2. In almost Johan Santana like fashion, Kenta Maeda is striking out batters at will. The Twins leader in punch-outs is off to an unreal start to 2020 with a K/9 of 15.48. 3. For Twins fans purposes, TWINGO returns tomorrow with our series with the Giants with prizes again courtesy of SotaStick. Tune in to the ballgame to get some info on how to win our second Target Field promotion of the year.
  6. Catch-Up After back to back pitcher's duels, we head into game three with the series on the line and another prospective pitcher's duel on our hands as former Twin Martin Perez squares off against Kenta Maeda. Congrats to the winner's of the SotaStick giveaway yesterday with TWINGO and for those who missed out TWINGO will be coming back when the Twins are back at Target Field on May 4th. Pre-game 12:45pm Where to watch https://www.twitch.tv/thuuuuney/ AL Central Standings 1. Cleveland 17-13 2. Minnesota 15-13 3. Kansas City 14-13 4. Chicago 11-18 5. Detroit 7-21 Starting Pitchers Boston: Martin Perez 3-1, 2.12 ERA, 34.0IP, 25 K'sMinnesota: Kenta Maeda** 1-1, 2.31 ERA, 23.1IP, 41 K's**= Kenta Maeda: 8th in AL, Strikeouts (41). Boston Batting Order RF Alex Verdugo .286 BA, 0HR, 5 RBI SS Xander Bogaerts* .352 BA, 6 HR, 18 RBI 3B Rafael Devers .253 BA, 5 HR, 18 RBI DH J.D. Martinez** .328 BA, 8 HR, 21 RBI LF Andrew Benintendi .183 BA, 2 HR, 5 RBI CF Jackie Bradley Jr. .145 BA, 1 HR, 4 RBI 2B Jose Peraza .257 BA, 1 HR, 6 RBI 1B Mitch Moreland .149 BA, 2 HR, 10 RBI C Christian Vazquez .155 BA, 2 HR, 11 RBI*= Xander Bogaerts: 1st in AL OBP, (.469). 3rd in AL, OPS (1.095) **=J.D. Martinez: T-2nd in AL, Runs Scored, (23). Twins Batting Order C Mitch Garver .273 BA, 6 HR, 13 RBI SS Jorge Polanco .276 BA, 3HR, 16 RBI 3B Josh Donaldson .267 BA, 2 HR, 9 RBI DH Nelson Cruz .248 BA, 4 HR, 15 RBI RF Max Kepler* .219 BA, 5 HR, 8 RBI 1B Miguel Sano .250 BA, 6 HR, 11 RBI LF Marwin Gonzalez .281 BA, 1 HR, 2 RBI 2B Ehire Adrianza .250 BA, 1 HR, 5 RBI CF Byron Buxton .244 BA, 5 HR, 9 RBI*=Max Kepler: T-3rd in AL, Doubles (9). Bomba Tracker - 2019 through 28 games: 50 - 2020: 38 Storylines 1. Back to back 2-1 ballgames pit the series down to the final game. Although your broadcaster doesn't think this will end 2-1 as well, both starters enter the game with sub 2.32 ERA's and the Twins have shown this year they have been boom or bust against a Lefty on the mound. 2. After Xander Bogaerts lost his 22-Game Hitting Streak, it was prevalent that Boston thus far has leaned on his bat for success. Of the 98 combined RBI's in Boston's starting lineup today, 58.1% of the runs have come from three bats: Devers, Xander, and Martinez. For Boston to come out on top today, they'll need a more balanced distribution of runs out of the lineup card. 3. After today's game the Red Sox begin an ever-important battle with the 17-11 Blue Jays as Boston early in April are trying to claw back into the AL East picture. Meanwhile the Twins have a day off on Monday, and then on Tuesday will begin a two game series with the best team in baseball, the 23-5 Dodgers.
  7. Catch-up The Twins move back to .500 at home with their second walk-off win of the year courtesy of Byron Buxton and will look to take game two of the series tonight with Kenta Maeda on the mound for Minnesota. The Twins have won three of the last four and tonight will face off against Justin Dunn for Seattle, who the Twins beat 10-2 back on March 30th of this season. Pre-game 6:10pmCT Where to watch https://www.twitch.tv/thuuuuney/ AL Central Standings 1. Indians 17-8 2. Twins 13-10 3. Royals 13-10 4. White Sox 9-15 5. Tigers 5-18 Starting Pitchers Seattle: Justin Dunn 2-2. 7.85 ERA, 18.1P, 15 K's Minnesota: Kenta Maeda** 1-0, 1.33 ERA, 20.1IP, 38 K's **= Kenta Maeda: 5th in AL, Strikeouts (38). Seattle Batting Order 2B Dee Gordon .312BA, 0 HR, 4 RBI CF Mallek Smith .253 BA, 2 HR, 9 RBI RF Mitch Haniger .267 BA, 5 HR, 13 RBI 1B Daniel Vogelbach .234 BA, 2 HR, 4 RBI C Tom Murphy .225 BA, 4 HR, 9 RBI 3B Kyle Seager .188 BA, 5 HR, 6 RBI LF Braden Bishop .277 BA, 0 HR, 4 RBI SS J.P. Crawford .192 BA, 4 HR, 12 RBI DH Dylan Moore .176 BA, 1 HR, 4 RBIMinnesota Batting Order RF Max Kepler .230 BA, 5 HR, 8 RBI SS Jorge Polanco .290 BA, 3 HR, 14 RBI 1B Mitch Garver .247 BA, 4 HR, 10 RBI DH Nelson Cruz .276 BA, 4 HR, 15 RBI 3B Josh Donaldson .284 BA, 2 HR, 8 RBI LF Eddie Rosario .278 BA, 3 HR, 11 RBI 2B Marwin Gonzalez .261 BA, 0 HR, 0 RBI C Alex Avila .357 BA, 1 HR, 1 RBI CF Byron Buxton .233 BA, 5 HR, 8 RBIBomba Tracker - 2020: 35 - 2019 through 23 games: 42 Storylines 1. What a performance out of the pen yesterday from Fernando Romero, a man on the cusp of possibly going back to Rochester pitches four brilliant no-hit innings to help secure the victory yesterday. While he enjoys a much deserved day off, the Twins turn to Kenta Maeda, who leads the team in strikeouts, for game two. 2. With the next off-day not until the 27th, the Twins will shake the lineup a little to give some rest to key members of the Bomba Squad. Today Miguel Sano and Luis Arraez get days off and in for them are Alex Avila, who will catch while Garver plays 1B, and Marwin Gonzalez. 3. With the rotation on short rest as well, tomorrow's game could be a bullpen day depending on how Maeda's start goes. Smeltzer, who has already started a game this year, would be in line for the start tomorrow if Jhoulys Chacin is not ready.
  8. Couple links about this story this AM. Phil Miller of the Strib says: "The Twins’ piece of the blockbuster Mookie Betts trade has reportedly stalled the rest of the deal, plunging Minnesota’s acquisition of Dodgers righthander Kenta Maeda into doubt on Wednesday, a major league source confirmed. Talks are continuing, the source said, and the deal could still be salvaged. But a review of Brusdar Graterol’s medical records by the Red Sox has raised issues that the teams are working to resolve." More below: https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/28644920/prospect-health-holds-3-team-trade-involving-mookie-betts http://www.startribune.com/trade-of-brusdar-graterol-called-into-doubt-because-of-medical-records/567611702/
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