It's a big night for the Minnesota Twins organization. First, the team is on the ropes after dropping game two of Tuesday's double-header. Now two games back once again, the Twins are in a position where their only legitimate shot at October will come if they win tonight and tomorrow afternoon. Losing both games means elimination. Losing just one game reduces Minnesota's playoff chances to one of these two scenarios.
- The Twins sweep the Royals, the White Sox take at least two of three from the Tigers.
- The Twins take two of three from the Royals, the White sox sweep the Tigers (force game 163).
The easiest thing to do would be, clearly, to just win tonight. And then just win tomorrow.
Of course the second reason this is a big night for the Twins organization is because they've landed their biggest international signing ever. Miguel Angel Sano, pending a visa, will likely join the Minnesota farm system at some point next year, and immediately becomes the organization's top prospect.
While winning back-to-back games against the division-leading Tigers is the only way the Twins is the only way to "control their own destiny", it's not as imposing as it sounds. Detroit's two strongest starters pitched yesterday, with Eddie Bonine and Nate Robertson each being far weaker performers. Now let's just hope they pitch like it, and that Carl Pavano and Scott Baker pitch like we know they can.
|2009 - Eddie Bonine||0-1||9||3||0||0||0||0||29.1||33||17||15||7||10||16||4.60||1.47|
Bonine's induced some ground balls this year, but he's also been prone to the gopher ball. All of his pitches have been right around average as far as runs are concerned. He's a fastball-slider-changeup pitcher with mediocre stuff and nothing over 90 mph. The Twins just need to be patient and wait for their pitches, because they'll get them.
|2009 - Carl Pavano||4-3||10||10||0||0||0||0||63.1||70||28||27||6||13||48||3.84||1.31|
In his two starts against the Tigers as a member of the Twins, Detroit hitters are batting .286/.322/.304. Overall this will be his sixth go-around against them this season, which by any measure is more than a pitcher's fair share. So far he's owned them, throwing 37.1 innings over the first five starts while posting a more than admirable 1.68 ERA. We all know what's on the line tonight, and we all know exactly how good Carl has been against this team this season. Let's hope he can do it one more time.
Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Jason Kubel, RF
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Delmon Young, LF
Jose Morales, DH
Matt Tolbert, 3B
Nick Punto, 2B
Mauer back behind the plate again tonight, so I have to believe he'll be the designated hitter tomorrow. Tolbert has now started 14 of the last 15 games at third base; or 13 of 14 prior to today. In that span he's hitting .313/.353/.438 over 55 plate appearances, which has been a god-send. Indeed, that line is still good after going 0-for-4 last night. Tonight's key will be Delmon, who has a chance to be a big link between the strong hitters at the top half of the order and some surprisingly effective hitters at the bottom of the order.