After sweeping our heated rivals, the Cleveland Indians, in three games in the ALDS we are set to face the Los Angeles Angels in the ALCS. The team’s first return to the series in over 15 years and trying to end the Twin Cities nearly three decade title drought for the Big 4 sports.
The rotation was able to completely reset after the sweep and four days off in between series. Meaning it is frontline starters making moves…at least we hope.
Game 1: Jose Berrios vs. Shohei Ohtani
Ohtani, the stellar two-way Japanese superstar had his best year in MLB yet. Batting .277/.339/.548 with 21 HR, 70 RBI while also pitching to an 11-4 record with a 3.52 ERA in 150 innings. Oh, and he struck out 190. It will be an uphill battle.
After Berrios gave up a solo shot to legendary Mike Trout in the first, I was bashing my head through the drywall. At least I have another summer project now!
But damn the offense roared right back! Buxton led off with a solo shot, then Donaldson and Sano went back-to-back to make it 3-1. We weren’t done. Adding two more to make it 5-1 in just the first inning. Just like the Cleveland series.
We would only surrender one more run while adding two in the eighth thanks to a Kirilloff double that scored two. The rookie has batted .471 with a homer and eight RBI in the playoffs after hitting a modest .275 with three homers and 10 RBI in 18 games during September. It is an extremely small sample size, but the kid is coming through!
Score: Twins 7 – Angels 2
Game 2: Kenta Maeda vs. Andrew Heaney
Oof, Maeda. Oof. Giving up five more earned runs in his second start of the postseason handed us our first loss. We could never get the bats up and ready to go.
On the bright side, the Bombas were still present. As Kirilloff, Sano, and Kepler all went yard. It just wasn’t with anyone on-base and not enough to come back.
Score: Angels 6 – Twins 3
Game 3: Jake Odorizzi vs. Griffin Canning
The first inning looked promising after Buxton led off with a double and stole third. But two strikeouts and a fly out later and we couldn’t score. But Odorizzi went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning and striking out one to keep it a level game early. Even going 1-2-3 again in the second.
The fourth was a bit more precarious. With Odo giving up two runs on an Ohtani home run.
Yet that was the only damage he gave up as he was the only one to pitch for us. However, the bats only mustered two hits. Putting us down two games to one.
Score: Angels 2 – Twins 1
Game 4: Julio Urias vs. Julio Teheran
The Battle of the Julios. Who will come out on top? Time for the Twins to climb out of the hole!
And that is exactly what we did. But in another low-scoring affair. Urias came out the victorious of the two Julios. Going eight innings and allowing no score on only five hits as Cruz and Donaldson both hit Bombas to push us ahead 2-0. With Rogers getting the 1-2-3 save in the ninth.
If we win the series, it’ll be at home at least!
Game 5: Jose Berrios vs. Shohei Ohtani
Rematch! That is the perk of playing in the playoffs…off days. Allowing us to role with a four-man rotation instead of five.
But this time we are in LA and it was a beautiful SoCal evening. 72 degrees, a light breeze, and plenty of beautiful humans you would never usually find at Angels games because they are all bandwagoners in the playoffs.
And guess who won the rematch?
JOSE BERRIOS! WITH A COMPLETE GAME, ONE RUN, VICTORY!
Allowing only five hits and striking out eight, it definitely helped that the offense came through with three Bombas. Cruz and Arraez both went deep and Garver hit his fourth of the postseason.
One more win and we are in the World Series! Time to end the drought! And no, the Lynx and Whitecaps do NOT count as major championships. Sorry.
Score: Twins 6 – Angels 1
Game 6: Kenta Maeda vs. Andrew Heaney
Maeda would put up a goose egg to begin the game and with one away in the bottom of the first, Jorge Polanco took a 1-0 pitch 434 feet to left-center. BOMBA WARNING.
Then with one out in the third with Kirilloff on second, Buxton hit an even further Bomba to left-center. This time for 460 feet! 3-0 Twins. Then Sano even got in the action. Making 5-0 with a two-run blast to right-center. Start scouting your championship parade spots!
Another Buxton RBI, this time off a single, in the fourth would make it 6-0 with the Angels having to pull Heaney from the game.
The bullpen began to struggle after I pulled Maeda in the seventh with two on. Giving up five runs between the seventh and eighth. But we would load the bases in the bottom of the eighth and guess what happened next…
BUXTON GRAND SLAM BOMBA!!!!
10-5 Twins with only three outs left. Even though it wasn’t a save situation, I brought in Rogers to shut the door and send us to our first World Series in almost 30 years.
He would struggle mightily. Giving up a run and loading the bases. But two foul territory pop ups gave us the win!
Final Score: Twins 10 – Angels 6