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Game 161: Twins at Royals

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Getting close now...

Minnesota Twins v Kansas City Royals Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

First Pitch: 6:10 pm CDT

TV: Bally Sports North

Radio: WCCO 830 / The Wolf 102.9 FM / TIBN / Audacy

Well, that sure went by fast.

True — it has already been six months since Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, Michael Pineda, Matt Shoemaker, and J.A. Happ made their first turn through the rotation (largely successful from a starting standpoint.)

But baseball has always had a weird way of messing with your perception of time, and this year was no exception. Three of the above pitchers are no longer on the team, one almost certainly won’t be back next season, and one’s future contract is very much up in the air. And all the while, that initial spin through the starting five feels like a lifetime ago, as well as yesterday.

The season ends tomorrow, and we’ll be thrown back into the doldrums of watching other, more successful teams play meaningful postseason baseball deep into the month. Then we’ll listen to rumors unfold, watch as free agents are increasingly linked to the team, and (hopefully) enter the final weeks of March with a renewed sense of optimism.

But until then, there is yet baseball to be played.

The Twins have two more contests this weekend, and a couple of items yet to play them for. A series win over the Royals would prevent a 90-loss season, if only just. Byron Buxton has a chance to reach 20 homers in less than 65 games. Griffin Jax has a chance to surrender fewer than six homers in a single start.

This whole thing goes into the record books tomorrow, in the late afternoon. We can stop talking about “this” season and start deriding “that” season. Before we get there, we have a chance to enjoy these two games for what they are — a chance to watch a Game 161 again, and a Game 162, after last season ended before it really began.

A chance to see this version of the Minnesota Twins — whatever they are now, exactly — take one last ride together. As disappointing as the year was, this is still our team, and the opportunity to care enough about something to be disappointed in it is enough for me right now. And maybe — just maybe — it’s enough for Joel, too.

GO TWINS GO!

Today's Lineups

TWINS ROYALS
Byron Buxton - CF Whit Merrifield - 2B
Mitch Garver - C Nicky Lopez - SS
Josh Donaldson - 3B Salvador Perez - DH
Miguel Sano - DH Andrew Benintendi - LF
Brent Rooker - LF Carlos Santana - 1B
Luis Arraez - 2B Hunter Dozier - RF
Willians Astudillo - 1B Adalberto Mondesi - 3B
Andrelton Simmons - SS Michael Taylor - CF
Jake Cave - RF Cam Gallagher - C
Griffin Jax - RHP Kris Bubic - LHP