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The Hypothetical 2020 Twins Season, Part 10: Taking Care of Business

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).

Not how we wanted the week to turn out in last week’s part of this series. A sub-.500 week and a sweep at the hands of the dreaded Indians leaves us four back of the division lead. But a week against the Orioles and White Sox could be just what we need to get back on track. 

Leading OPS: Nelson Cruz (.938 in 182 AB)

Leading Starter ERA: Jeff Samardzija (3.28 in 60.1 IP)

Leading Reliever ERA: Trevor Rosenthal (0.82 in 22.0 IP)


Game 48: Minnesota Twins (27-20) vs.
Baltimore Orioles (15-31)

Back on Track

A great way to open the game! Three runs and two homeruns by Rosario and Kepler gave us a nice lead. Unfortunately, the O’s would hit two of their own, albeit both were solo shots, but not the release we need.

A double by Kepler pushed Polanco across in the fourth and the Bombas were back on the menu! After a crisply hit single by Arraez and a bloop by Cruz, Sano demolished a ball down the left field line!

Yet the cat and mouse chase continued as the Orioles tacked another homer on the board, this time for three, and another run in the seventh to draw within one and make it 7-6.

But Donaldson would join in on the fun with a homer of his own, with Cruz on, and ease some of the tension in the bottom of the inning.

Rosenthal would give up another Orioles bomb in the eight, thankfully only a solo one, but still make me think about if these balls are juiced.

Rogers would go 1-2-3 in the ninth for the save and we were back to getting wins.

Final Score: Twins 9 – Orioles 7

Twins Record: 28-20

Buxton Steal Count: 41 (1st)

Bomba Counter: 78 (1st)


Game 49: Minnesota Twins (28-20) vs.
Baltimore Orioles (15-32)

Back Off Track

And back in the losses column. Samardzija had it going early before seven runs with most coming with two outs in innings through five pitched. 

We couldn’t get anything going and I really do not enjoy writing about these losses because there is no intrigue outside of two Buxton steals and Polanco homerun. So…

Final Score: Orioles 8 – Twins 3

Twins Record: 28-21

Buxton Steal Count: 43 (1st)

Bomba Counter: 79 (2nd)


All-Star Voting Begins!

Maybe the frustrations of the last week have you down. That’s ok. It is a long season and we aren’t even halfway through. 

So hopefully the All-Star voting will cheer you up! 

I oftentimes put all my eligible players on my manager/GM ballot because if the Royals can undeservedly stuff the ballot box in 2015, I can too. It may also give you a better look at how some of our players are faring at this point in the year. 

Starting Pitchers:

Kenta Maeda – 5-3, 3.84 ERA, 58.2 IP, 1.43 WHIP, 9.8 K/9, 1.4 WAR

Jake Odorizzi – 2-2, 3.49 ERA, 59.1 IP, 1.15 WHIP, 8.6 K/9, 1.2 WAR

Randy Dobnak – 2-4, 5.17 ERA, 47.0 IP, 1.40 WHIP, 7.1 K/9, 1.1 WAR

Relief Pitchers:

Tyler Duffey – 1-1, 1.57 ERA, 23.0 IP, 1.09 WHIP, 8.2 K/9, 0.5 WAR

Zack Littell – 2-0, 2.39 ERA, 26.1 IP, 1.25 WHIP, 11.3 K/9, 0.5 WAR

Taylor Rogers – 1-0, 10 SV, 1.15 ERA, 15.2 IP, 0.83 WHIP, 10.9 K/9, 1.1 WAR

Catcher: 

Mitch Garver – .228/.315/.414, 145 AB, 7 HR, 98 wRC+, 0.9 WAR

First Base:

Miguel Sano – .236/.327/.482, 195 AB, 14 HR, 117 wRC+, 1.0 WAR

Second Base: 

Luis Arraez – .333/.382/.417, 168 AB, 1 HR, 3 SB, 121 wRC+, 1.4 WAR

Third Base: 

Josh Donaldson – .294/.404/.533, 180 AB, 10 HR, 1 SB, 153 wRC+. 2.0 WAR

Shortstop:

Jorge Polanco – .311/.348/.525, 164 AB, 6 HR, 131 wRC+, 1.2 WAR

Left Field:

Eddie Rosario – .224/.244/.410, 156 AB, 6 HR, 71 wRC+, -.05 WAR

Center Field:

Byron Buxton – .259/.307/.403, 201 AB, 5 HR, 43 SB, 93 wRC+, 2.0 WAR

Right Field:

Max Kepler – .249/.349/.470, 181 AB, 10 HR, 120 wRC+, 1.5 WAR

Desginated Hitter:

Nelson Cruz – .301/.373/.559, 186 AB, 14 HR, 1 SB, 153 wRC+, 1.6 WAR

This will change from week to week in terms of where they stand in the polls based on their performances and their popularity.


Game 50: Minnesota Twins (28-21) vs.
Baltimore Orioles (16-32)

A Solid Outing

Good news for our pitching staff! Michael Pineda is off the restricted list due to his suspension and is eligible to play. While I would put him into the rotation immediately, no Spring Training and missing 50 games with his durability has me skeptical. I gave him a rehab assignment in Rochester for a week to see how he performs.

As for the game, we would unleash a nice eight-run win against the Orioles. Up 3-1 in the fifth, we would score five more runs with three coming on the back of Jake Cave when he tripled to right. 

Berrios would get back to good pitching too, striking out 11 over six innings and giving him the winning decision and a 5-4 record and getting us the series win.

Final Score: Twins 8 – Orioles 2

Twins Record: 29-21

Buxton Steal Count: 44 (1st)


Game 51: Minnesota Twins (29-21) vs.
Chicago White Sox (24-25)

An Early Barrage

You can’t start a game better than the way we did! Arraez led off, with Buxton getting a day off, with a double. Polanco would reach on an error, Cruz would single in Arraez, and three walks with the bases load would give us a 4-0 lead. 

But Garver wanted to make it eight and demolished a pitch to left center for a grand slam and an 8-0 lead with only one out in the first. It knocked Jesse Hahn out of the game with ease too. 

The Sox would load them up and score two off a double in the third, but we would pick up a ninth run in the seventh.

As seems to be another running theme in this series, the opposing team tried to make it interesting against our bullpen as the Sox would score three over the eighth and ninth off Valdez and Rosenthal. But Dobnak pitched well with 10 strikeouts while giving up only two runs and we got another win with relative ease.

Final Score: Twins 9 – White Sox 5

Twins Record: 30-21

Bomba Counter: 80 (2nd)


Game 52: Minnesota Twins (30-21) vs.
Chicago White Sox (24-26)

Slap ‘Em Around

Chicago went up early, but the team was able to roar back and then some for a commanding win!

Although it was only a one-run deficit, the Twins weren’t content with just regaining the lead. Instead, they went ballistic. Three runs in the second including a two-run Garver bomb, three more runs in the third, two in the fourth, a two-run Adrianza homer in the seventh, and two in the eighth gave them a commanding lead.

Chicago would get four runs throughout the game, but it was never enough to overcome a hot lineup. 

Arraez would push his average up to an outstanding .356 in the process by going 4-5 and Rosario went 3-4 getting him out of the doldrums including a homerun. 

These types of games are what we are used to see from the 2019 iteration of the Twins, and it is all we ask for, outside of a playoff and World Series berth, from this year’s club.

Final Score: Twins 13 – White Sox 4 

Twins Record: 31-21

Buxton Steal Count: 45 (1st)
Bomba Counter: 83 (2nd)


Game 53: Minnesota Twins (31-21) vs.
Chicago White Sox (24-27)

Offense Came to Play

As the title for this game suggests, the offense remained hot in this series. Putting on an eight-run display to run our win streak to four.

It didn’t start that way, though. No, instead the Sox scored in the first due to a passed ball and groundout, but we found our footing in the third. With Polanco at second, Arraez lined a double to the outfield and a wild pitch scored Polanco during Buxton’s at bat.

We would continue to trade blows through the early innings, with the Sox going ahead 3-1 then 3-2 after Sano hit his 15th longball. After going down 4-2 we decided to unleash hell. Loading the bases with one out in the fifth, Cruz hit his 15th for a slam and putting us up to for good.

Another two crossed in the seventh before Chicago woke back up and fought like mad to get even but could only gain two runs to make the final 8-6 with Rogers racking up his 11th save.

Final Score: Twins 8 – White Sox 6

Twins Record: 32-21

Bomba Counter: 85 (2nd)


Game 54: Minnesota Twins (32-21) vs.
Chicago White Sox (24-28)

With Samardzija on the mound, I was seen pacing the clubhouse before the game contemplating potential moves if things began to implode. 

That would be able to wait a half inning, thankfully, as Buxton would continue his bunting ways to lead off and singled and stole second while being driven in off a Kepler single to take the lead.

It wouldn’t end there either. Cruz would cross on a Donaldson single and Rosario, although being out trying for third, would push two more across with an out to spare.

Another run would be pushed across an inning later, in the second, as we loaded the bases up and Kepler used his eagle eye to draw a walk.

Buxton and Arraez would get the fourth started with a pair of singles and safely getting the double steal and coming home on a Kepler triple making it 7-1. Then Donaldson knocked him in with a double of his own. 

Chicago would get back to within five by scoring two in the fifth, but we got them right back when Gonzalez (man, haven’t said that name much) brought two home in the seventh. 

I brought Rosenthal in for the eighth after a solid performance by Samadzija (7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 7 K) and he immediately got himself into a bases loaded jam with two outs. So, in came Chris Martin who, although letting one cross, finished the inning with the bases loaded and no additional damage done.

We’d tack on one more in the eighth for good measure and we would need it in a way. The Sox caused immediate troubles for Martin who gave up a leadoff single and another to follow it up before a throwing error by Donaldson would bring one of them home. Valdez came in to clean up the mess, and while he did the job, it came with two more runs to add some injury to his stat line. 

Either way, it was our fifth consecutive win and a sweep of the White Sox!

Final Score: Twins 11 – White Sox 7

Twins Record: 33-21

Buxton Steal Count: 47 (1st)


Week Review and Lookahead:

After a rough week last week, this is what we needed to stay in the race without digging too much of a hole. It looked rough at first with the loss to the Orioles but taking two of three from them and sweeping division rivals in the Sox put us only one and a half back of Cleveland and bolstered our Wild Card lead to three and a half games. 

Next week will be another proving ground for this franchise going to the Bronx to face the dreaded Yankees. While they’re currently two under .500, they have always seemed to have this club’s number and is a contentious talking point among the faithful.We then see the Sox again, this time in Chicago so I hope we at least come out with a 4-3 or 5-2 record. Anything less will be frustrating and anything more will be icing on the cake.

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