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The Hypothetical 2020 Twins Season, Part 9: Biggest Week Yet

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).

Last week was relatively up and down. From winning three games in blowout fashion to dropping three in a close contest that probably should have been won, it was a week to reflect and refocus on our big series against Cleveland to end this week.

But we must not overlook a struggling Detroit team as it is go-time to regain the lead in the Central.

I’ve also decided to implement a new portion to this series in the form of more statistics! It won’t be much to start, only top batter OPS and top starter and reliever ERA, but it is something for you to continue to digest in this series as I have not posted many statistical breakdowns. Although there may be one come the All-Star Game.

Leading OPS: Nelson Cruz (1.001 in 154 AB)

Leading Starter ERA: Jeff Samardzija (3.28 in 57.2 IP)

Leading Reliever ERA: Framber Valdez (0.00 in 15.2 IP)

Now Samardzija is slightly unfair to list due to spending seven of his first eight starts in San Francisco so it is technically Jake Odorizzi (3.45 in 47.0 IP). I also think Framber Valdez deserves his spot as we have used him for most of his innings even though we traded for him too.


Game 41: Minnesota Twins (24-16) at
Detroit Tigers (14-26)

Coming Through When Needed

Randy Dobnak would get into a little trouble to begin the game, allowing a run and three hits, and started giving me thoughts about this being exactly what we wanted to avoid. Overlooking a bottom feeder.

Buxton ensured that wouldn’t stick in my mind too long, though, as he singled and stole both second and third, as is tradition, and scored off a poorly aimed throw to third. Garver would add another in the same inning, the third, to make it 2-1 off a solo shot to right-center. 

Then Donaldson got in on the fun and hit a two-run jack of his own. But the Tigers would get two back in the sixth off a tiring Dobnak so in comes Tyler Duffey who shut the inning down.

Two walks in the seventh gave Cruz a chance to pad the dwindling lead and he did just that. Slapping a single to the opposite field for a run while increasing his hitting streak to 26…almost forgot about that.

I brought in Valdez in the eighth to setup a returning Taylor Rogers thinking his 0.00 ERA would hold, but it didn’t. He gave up three hits with two going out of the yard and giving the Tigers a 6-5 lead. 

Needing a run, Adrianza would get on after a muff at short and advance to second on a pick at first. This allowed for a clutch single by Garver to tie the game with two outs! 

Then, with an out in the 11th, Adrianza came through with some late game heroics and crushed a ball over the right field wall giving us the lead again and Rogers saved it with a 1-2-3 bottom half for the win.

We had our moments, both positive and negative and we would take advantage of three errors, but this team showed its grit when it mattered.

Final Score: Twins 7 – Tigers 6

Twins Record: 25-16

Buxton Steal Count: 36 (1st)
Cruz Hit Streak: 26 games
Bomba Counter: 72 (1st)


Game 42: Minnesota Twins (25-16) at
Detroit Tigers (14-27)

No Mas for Boomstick

We would jump out to an early 2-0 lead in the second after a couple of infield singles, a balk, and some sac flies. Unfortunately, Detroit would get one back in the third on a triple and another on a sac fly after another triple in the fifth.

With Arraez at first with two out in the sixth, Donaldson would be plunked and would need to be taken out of the game. Fearing a lingering concussion, the likes that somewhat diminished the careers of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau, I was sweating. But our trainer came back with excellent news. Swollen ear and day-to-day for only three days.

I would need to bring in Mitch Garver, who had the day off for rest, at catcher while moving Astudillo to third to balance our defensive positioning. 

The stalemate was broken in the seventh when Buxton drove in Adrianza after a triple that should have been a homerun after hitting off the top of the left center wall. But we will take the run, nonetheless.

We would load them up too after an Arraez infield single and intentional walk to Cruz, who is running out of time to extend his hitting streak, and a passed ball would bring Buxton home and a sac fly, Arraez, for the three-run lead going into the stretch.

Rogers would get his second straight save, but Cruz’s hitting streak would end at 26. A sad day for the Twins, and therefore, the world.

Final Score: Twins 5 – Tigers 2

Twins Record: 26-16

Buxton Steal Count: 37 (1st)


Game 43: Minnesota Twins (26-16) at
Detroit Tigers (14-28) 

More Hits but Fewer Runs

Odorizzi would give up a two-run homerun in the first to put me on edge, but Buxton would double and steal third in the third with Cruz getting back to hitting with a single, driving Buxton in.

Buxton would get another double in the fifth, his tenth, and steal third again, but Arraez and Cruz failed to push him across. 

Detroit would add a third run in the eighth and we would load them in the ninth but fail to make any rallying efforts besides that.

Final Score: Tigers 3 – Twins 1

Twins Record: 26-17

Buxton Steal Count: 39 (1st)


Game 44: Minnesota Twins (26-17) at
Detroit Tigers (15-28)

And I Oop

A weird game to bounce back with. After an early homerun was hit off Samardzija, he would need to be taken out with a day-to-day hamstring strain. 

Relying on our bullpen the rest of the way, the offense went to work. Although not until the later innings. It started with a Buxton triple in the sixth, driving in Garver, and a flyout bringing Buxton home. 

Three more in the seventh and a Sano bomba in the eighth looked to have us in a good position. Yet Detroit was going to be pesky. They would score four more runs in the next two innings to make it a close 6-5 decision but couldn’t overcome Rogers who came up with his ninth save.

Final Score: Twins 6 – Tigers 5

Twins Record: 27-17

Bomba Counter: 73 (tied-2nd)


Game 45: Minnesota Twins (27-17) at
Cleveland Indians (29-17)

Stifled by Bieber

This is what this week was leading up to. A showdown between two of the top teams in the league with a stake for the division lead on the line. 

It was a tie game at one going into the middle innings and Berrios was pitching well, until he wasn’t. An Indians double, which was trying to be extended to a triple ended the fifth, but still drove in a run and a two-run shot in the sixth put the Tribe up 4-1 for good.

While we outhit Cleveland ten to six, our untimely hitting came up again and our bats couldn’t knock Shane Bieber around enough to win the game.

Final Score: Indians 4 – Twins 1

Twins Record: 27-18


Game 46: Minnesota Twins (27-18) at
Cleveland Indians (30-17)

Blerg

We’d open the game with two baserunners off a Buxton and Arraez single with the former stealing his 40th base of the season. But we failed to push either across.

It would cost us too as the Indians pushed across three off Dobnak off a slew of doubles and it wouldn’t get much better.

They would continue to drive in runs through the seventh, going up 8-1, leading me to bash my head into the dugout railing in frustration. 

We would make it interesting in the eighth by driving in five to make it 8-6 off some doubles and a Sano homer, but it wasn’t enough for a second consecutive game. 

Final Score: Indians 8 – Twins 6

Twins Record: 27-19

Buxton Steal Count: 40 (1st)
Bomba Counter: 74 (tied-2nd)


Game 47: Minnesota Twins (27-19) at
Cleveland Indians (31-17)

Swept

I do not know what happened to the karma this team has had this season. I really don’t. Maybe it was just that kind of series.

We were swept and only came up with four hits in the final game of the series while the Indians scored all four of their runs off three homeruns flipping the script on the Bomba Squad. 

Outside of the longball, Maeda pitched decently by going seven innings and saving our bullpen arms for the coming week. 

Final Score: Indians 4 – Twins 0

Twins Record: 27-20


Week Review and Lookahead:

As mentioned, this was going to be a big week no matter if we went undefeated or were swept by the Indians. Which did happen. 

Our lead in the Wild Card gone and we are now tied with the Mariners for the top spot and dropped to four back of the Tribe in the Central standings. 

The coming week should be a bounce back with a three game set at home against Orioles and four against the White Sox also in Minneapolis. 

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