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Game 135: Twins at Rangers

Welcome to September baseball!

Minnesota Twins v Texas Rangers Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

First Pitch: 7:05 PM CDT


Radio: WCCO 830, TIBN

The calendar has officially turned to Month No. 9, and as the postseason looms, teams across the league are making frantic waiver trades and calling up specialists in an effort to bolster their last mad dashes into finalized playoff positions.

Unfortunately for you dedicated viewers, neither the Twins nor the Rangers will be playing deep into the October this year. Despite a near-inevitable second-place finish, Minnesota has struggled to even sniff an even record all season.

On the other hand, Texas is mired in a valley during a roller-coaster decade. Back-to-back pennant-winners in 2010 and 2011, the Rangers missed the playoffs in 2013, finished dead last in 2014, then won the division two years in a row. Then last year they finished third, and they seem poised for another cellar placement here in 2018.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Minnesota Twins Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Minnesota’s Starter: Jose Berrios

(11-9, 3.74 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 163.2 IP, 9.1 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 2.9 fWAR)

Berrios has already surpassed his career-high in Wins Above Replacement, but his August left a little bit to be desired, as he finished the month with a 4.74 ERA and just 24.2 innings pitched. Tonight’s opponent should excite La Maquina — last time he faced the Rangers on June 24th, Berrios struck out 12 and allowed just two hits in seven shutout innings.

Arizona Diamondbacks v Texas Rangers Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Texas’ Starter: Yovani Gallardo

(7-3, 6.01 ERA, 5.11 FIP, 67.1 IP, 5.6 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 0.2 fWAR)

Somehow, Yovani Gallardo still has a job. A healthy, consistent starter for Milwaukee for a solid seven-year period, Gallardo initially played for the Rangers in 2015, starting the first game of their now-infamous ALDS against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Then 2016 happen, and Gallardo said, “Pitching? What’s that?” In the last three years, Gallardo has managed a 5.67 ERA in over 300 innings, holding onto jobs with Baltimore, Seattle, Cincinnati, and now Texas all over again. It may be last wraps for the 32-year-old, but that’s what I’ve thought for a while now, and he also hasn’t lost velocity on any of his pitches. On the contrary, he’s throwing three of his five pitches at an above-average speed relative to his career numbers.

Tonight’s Lineups

Worth noting — while reliever Gabriel Moya is listed on the above available substitions chart, the Twins have announced that Moya will be the “opener” in the series finale tomorrow, with Zack Littell tabbed as the “primary pitcher.”