First Pitch: 6:10 PM CDTTV: FSNRadio: GO 96.3, TIBNWho We Playin': Royals Review
It's Saturday, September 2nd, and you know what that means -- less than a month remains in the 2017 regular season, which will conclude on October 1st against Detroit at Target Field. Personally, I think we should call it off now and start the playoffs effective immediately, locking Minnesota into the playoffs for the first time in seven years. On the same token, there's a very real chance that the Twins could keep playing well and pass the New York Yankees, whom everyone seems to have written off as the first Wild Card lock.
But with 30 days to go, the old sports cliche of "one game at a time" holds true, as a number of opponents stand between Minnesota and October baseball. This weekend, it's the Kansas City Royals. KC's reputation around the league has fluctuated this season, from "looks like the Royals' window has closed," to "whoa, here come the Royals," to "ahh, there go the Royals." They're not strictly out of it -- but they're a sub-.500 team with a lot of other "not strictly out of it" teams to pass.
The Royals will task Onelki Garcia, who has pitched 7 career major-league innings. An inning and a third of them were with the Dodgers in 2013. The rest have been with the Royals this year, as Garcia spent the next three years in the minors (including the White Sox system) without ever receiving the call again. Garcia has only pitched once this season -- it was last Sunday, when Eric Skoglund couldn't make it through two innings against the Cleveland Indians. Garcia came in for 5.2 innings of long relief work, giving up five runs and walking four.
The Twins will send out everybody's favorite pitcher, Kyle Gibson. Gibby has reached a point in his career where it seems like he's pitching for his job every time he takes the mound. After a poor June and July, Gibson has a 3.86 ERA in his last six starts, averaging not quite six innings in each of them and striking out 33.
He's also coming off two very good starts: 7 IP, 1 ER, 8 Ks versus Chicago, and 6.2 IP, 2 ER, 7 Ks against the Blue Jays. Perhaps he's going to the Matt Belisle school of having your recent successes overshadowed by poor overall performances earlier in the season. Or maybe tonight, the other shoe drops, Gibson gives up 20 runs without recording an out, and we never see him again.
Lineups available when posted. GO TWINS GO!!!