We are all going a little crazy without baseball. Especially Twins baseball. That is why Banter Lads has decided to have Jack Kewitsch take over the team as both the manager and general manager through Out of the Park (OOTP).
Things may begin to look up here in the coming week for our simulated Twins. After starting the week on a high note, beating the previously undefeated Indians 10-1, things went south but then bounced back with a pair of wins against the White Sox.
With the Blue Jays and Tigers on the docket this week, it’s an opportunity to not only get back to .500 but to also gain ground on the Indians who sit atop the Central.
Game 17: Minnesota Twins (7-9) at
Toronto Blue Jays (10-6)
Smacking Around Our Southern Neighbors
On paper, today should be a win. With every position being ranked higher than the Jays’ lineup, one would hope we see a performance that fits.
But with the inconsistencies in run production and Jake Odorizzi still looking for his first win, it makes things slightly murky.
Byron Buxton continued his bunting for hits in the leadoff spot and stealing strategy and it’s paying off with him being atop of the league in swipes with 13. With Arraez also continuing his solid performances at the plate, we came out with an early one-run lead in the first thanks to his double. Unfortunately, three straight strikeouts ended the inning with Arraez stranded at second.
We added another run in the second thanks to Max Kepler hitting a double and Mitch Garver, a sac fly, to bring him in.
Donaldson bolstered the lead even more with a solo shot in the fourth, his third, and Cruz joined the fun by hitting his third to right field in the sixth. 4-0 Twins.
With two out in the sixth and two on, Garver hit a shallow fly to left and thinking the inning was over with no additional run, I sighed. But alas, Lourdes Gurriel, Jr. muffed the catch allowing Sano to cross the plate and pushing Garver and Donaldson to second and third.
What a costly error that was as Marwin Gonzalez made them pay, launching one over the wall to right and pushing the lead to eight!
Buxton continued his lovely game by getting his third hit and Luis Arraez drew a walk allowing a double steal to happen with Cruz in the box. Although he couldn’t get them home, Buxton’s steak total is now 14.
Odorizzi pitched like he did in the first half of last season before I took him out of the game for Sergio Romo after 7.1 innings. He allowed only three hits and struck out eight over 101 pitches dropping his relatively astronomical ERA to a somewhat respectable 4.50.
Cruz led off the ninth with a double and a passed ball pushed him to third. After a Donaldson walk, Kepler looked to have hit into an inning-ending double play only for Bo Bichette to mishandle the exchange and allow everyone to be safe with Cruz coming in to make it a 9-0 game. Yet another passed ball moved the runners to second and third and Polanco continued the team’s opportunistic hitting by driving both in on a single.
Chris Martin allowed one to score in the bottom of the inning, but with an 11-1 lead and two gone, it was all but over.
Thankfully, the paper ratings came through and the team is only one game from .500.
Final Score: Twins 11 – Blue Jays 1
Twins Record: 8-9
Game 18: Minnesota Twins (8-9) at
Toronto Blue Jays (10-7)
Continuing to Crush
The game began fairly pedestrian. No runs or drama or really anything to note through three. Well, except Kenta Maeda getting out of two innings with runners on first and second.
But Buxton lead off the fourth with a hit and a steal, his 15th, and I’m beginning to contemplate implementing a steal counter for him. Maybe even a Bomba counter if the bats get hot.
Thankfully Buxton led off with the hit and steal because two ground outs later and he was safe at home and put us up one. Sano led it up with a double and Donaldson, who hasn’t missed a beat in his former stomping grounds, pushed him in with a double of his own.
Yet even that wasn’t the end of it as Rosario belted an 0-1 change over the fence making it 4-0. Bomba counter time?
Ok, definitely Bomba time. Polanco then singled and Kepler, who had been atrocious so far with a sub-.200 average knocked another one out of the park to make it 6-0…all with two outs.
This is the timely hitting I love to see!
Oh my Lord! What is going on? Still with two out in the fourth, Willans Astudillo and Buxton singled and Arraez, who is hitting .354/.408/.477 had one himself and made it 7-0. Whatever the hotel is serving, we need to find the recipe.
Seriously, this game was getting amazingly ridiculous as a new pitcher was brought in and Buxton and Arraez got the double steal only for Cruz to hit a MONSTROUS bomb to left center that measured 456 ft.
Sano singled and Donaldson ground out to end the inning. But ten runs and 14 batters in an inning has me salivating.
We’d add another run off three hits in the fifth to make it 11-0 and it would take a monumental implosion for this not to get us back to even in record. Sure, Biggio got Toronto one back in the bottom of the inning, but who cares when up 11-1…again.
Maeda would load the bases with two outs in the sixth, so Trevor Rosenthal relieved him and got the team out of the jam. He would make short order of the Jays in the seventh, striking out the side.
Zach Littell loaded them up in the ninth and allowed one to score and an error by Donaldson on his throw to first pushed two more across with two gone. Thankfully, Valdez came in and shut the door on the 11-4 victory.
Final Score: Twins 11 – Blue Jays 4
Twins Record: 9-9
Game 19: Minnesota Twins (9-9) at
Toronto Blue Jays (10-8)
You May Want to Call Into Work Tomorrow
While Buxton and Arraez didn’t start the game with their usual shenanigans, Cruz and Sano got on base via a walk and hit by pitch allowing the Bringer of Rain in Donaldson to drive in both on a lovely little double to right.
Right where we left off yesterday. Perfect!
We’d add another in the second with Kepler coming in off an Adrianza sac fly but rendered a homer to Gurriel, Jr. in the bottom of the inning and a two-run shit by Jansen to tie it up.
Thankfully we would jump right back ahead when Cruz teed off for both his fifth and sixth of the year for three mor runs in the third and fifth! Garver, maybe finally getting out of his slump, slapped one out too making it 8-4 in the sixth and finally threw out a runner in the bottom of the inning to keep it intact.
But homers weren’t just a one-sided affair. In the seventh, I brought in Sergio Romo and he immediately gave up two two-run shots to tie it. What the heck, Sergio?
After no run support in the ninth, Chris Martin pitched a 1-2-3 inning to push it to extras. After an Arraez single and swipe of second that was overthrown moving him to second, Sano struck out looking on a 3-2 count to end the inning.
Moving to the 13th, Cruz led off with a single and I immediately pulled him for Jake Cave in hopes of the added speed being able to manufacture something. But nothing came to fruition.
Duffey and Rogers rendered the Jays scoreless in the inning and Buxton drew a walk and his 17th steal to get into scoring position but Cave struck out to end the inning.
Then, at 2:51 am in the 18th inning, Sano finally got off the schneid after striking out five times and hit a homer to break the tie and make it 9-8.
Littell finished off the Jays to finally win. Going through our entire bullpen and playing that long, the off day and facing the 4-14 Tigers next is much needed.
Final Score: Twins 9 – Blue Jays 8
Twins Record: 10-9
Game 20: Minnesota Twins (10-9) vs Detroit Tigers (4-14)
Feasting on the Bottom-Dwellers
After the marathon against the Jays, the bullpen was spent. So I sent Framber Valdez and Chris Martin down to Rochester while calling up Lewis Thorpe and Cody Stashak to bolster the pen for a game or two.
Well the Tigers sure didn’t come to play like a bottom-dweller or maybe it’s just facing a rookie. They frustrated Dobnak with a couple of early jams and a two-run homer in the third to make it 2-0.
Donaldson got one back for the home side driving in Sano in the fourth and Polanco tied it up with a double.
Buxton nabbed his 18th stolen base after being hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and three pitches later was safe at home off an Arraez single. Sano loaded the bases on a walk and Donaldson grounded into a double play but managed to score Arraez from third to take a two-run lead.
After Dobnak gave up a single to begin the sixth, I brought in Thorpe to eat up some innings as he was fresh and our emergency starter.
Unfortunately, he gave up a two-run shot and tied everything back up. Rookies, man.
After two walks and a balk, Marwin Gonzalez drew the third walk of the inning and with no one out, Buxton singles breaking the tie and we’d get one more on a sacrifice.
Gonzalez would also add a home run and Thorpe would close the game out with a solid spot appearance.
Final Score: Twins 7 – Tigers 4
Twins Record: 11-9
Game 21: Minnesota Twins (11-9) vs Detroit Tigers (4-15)
Feasting on the Bottom-Dwellers 2.0
Sano got this one off to an early bang! Hitting his fifth homer of the year in the second. Polanco would start the fifth with a double and run scored off a Garver double making it 2-0.
Victor Reyes would play devil’s advocate, though, by homering off Berrios to draw within one in the sixth. But an RBI single by Polanco would make it 3-1.
Detroit would get another back in the seventh off Matt Wisler but a Buxton double and Arraez and Donaldson getting RBI singles would make it 5-2.
The bottom of the eight would continue the hit parade with Arraez getting another RBI off a double and Cruz and Sano driving in two more.
Detroit would score two in the ninth and leave two more on to make it interesting, but failed to capitalize and gave the Twins another home victory.
Final Score: Twins 8 – Tigers 4
Twins Record: 12-9
Game 22: Minnesota Twins (12-9) vs Detroit Tigers (4-16)
End to One Helluva Week!
A quick and scoreless game through three, Detroit went up with a single in the fourth but it was immediately tied when Kepler drove in Sano off a single.
But Detroit would exploit Odorizzi again in the fifth and regain a one-run lead and extending it to two moments later.
We’d get one back in the fifth and tie it off an Adrianza single to right in the seventh. A double steal by Buxton and Ehire allowed Donaldson to rack up his 16th and 17th RBIs on the year with a single of his own and give the team a 5-3 lead.
But Littell couldn’t hold the lead and gave up a run and increasing he ERA when Valdez gave up a single to tie the game.
But we have this guy named Miguel Sano on your side, you see? And what he can do is hit no doubters or, as we like to call them, Sano-doubters.
And he did just that. On the first pitch of his eighth inning leadoff at-bat, he crushed the ball to left for it to never be seen again and give the boys a lead.
Taylor Rogers saved the game, his first in a week plus, and gave the Twins an amazing end to the week.
Final Score: Twins 6 – Tigers 5
Twins Record: 13-9
Week Review and Lookahead:
Well what do you know? I said this was going to be a pivotal week, didn’t I?
The team listened and put together an undefeated week and is on a eight game win streak. While it wasn’t always pretty, like that 18-inning game in Toronto, it doesn’t matter as long as the job gets done.
After this week, we are now only 2.5 games back of the Indians and are a half game up in the Wild Card. With the Mariners coming to town tomorrow and Boston after them, there’s no time to rest on our victories.