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Game 70: Twins at Rangers

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This is the re-addition to the starting lineup that turns it all around.

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Texas Rangers Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

First Pitch: 3:05 pm CDT

TV: Bally Sports North

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

It’s been one of the most closely-watched storylines of the season — who will come out on top between the Orioles, the Rangers, and your Minnesota Twins? After last night, the Twins’ 28th win of the year gave the club a little breathing room in their quest to become the best last-place team in the American League.

But the fight isn’t over yet; two games remain with the Texas Rangers, and they’ll have plenty of opportunity to pounce this afternoon, as they face Randy Dobnak (1-6, 8.38 ERA, bunch of blue circles in his Baseball Savant percentile rankings.)

Dobnak’s low velocity and lower spin rate have not been conducive to limiting hard contact in 2021. In his last three outings alone (two starts), he’s pitched just 12.1 innings and allowed 17 earned runs on 26 hits, a half-dozen of those knocks leaving the yard. Opponents are hitting .441 against the man since June 2nd. I mean holy smokes, folks.

Maybe the Twins will be able to do something against Kolby Allard, who sounds more like a cartoon duck mascot for a cheese-flavored chip than he does a major-league pitcher. Nevertheless, he’s been getting results; it’s Allard’s fourth season in the league and he’s beginning to figure it out while swinging from the pen to the rotation. Allard’s ERA mark is 2.91 coming into play today, and he’s improved his K/9 in each of his major-league seasons.

Minnesota has not won three in a row since late May, when a four-game winning streak and six victories over seven games had fans everywhere clamoring, “hey, maybe this is the week that turns it all around.”

But they’ll have a chance to do so today — and an old friend coming back to help lead the charge.

They say that when one door opens, another one closes — usually they say it in reverse, but they don’t control me. I’ll say whatever I wanna say. In this case, the door closes on Willians Astudillo, who’s been optioned to Triple-A to accommodate Lord Byron’s return to the active roster.

It’s tough to say a temporary farewell to La Tortuga, but it’s also a testament to how well Nick Gordon has been doing. Just a few weeks ago, he wasn’t even making it into games before being sent back down — now, his .325 average and 5/5 steals mark, paired with his ability to suddenly learn center field, means that he and Luis Arraez should be able to cover all of the super-utility duties without having to lean too hard on Tortuga.

The team gets a little younger and a little more athletic, and Astudillo will always be there when we need him. Right here. *points at heart*

Here’s hoping Buck picks up right where he left off.

GO TWINS GO!

Today's Lineups

TWINS RANGERS
Jorge Polanco - 2B Isiah Kiner-Falefa - SS
Byron Buxton - CF Nate Lowe - 1B
Nelson Cruz - DH Adolis Garcia - CF
Trevor Larnach - LF Joey Gallo - RF
Ryan Jeffers - C Nick Solak - 2B
Miguel Sano - 1B Willie Calhoun - DH
Max Kepler - RF Eli White - LF
Andrelton Simmons - SS Jonah Heim - C
Luis Arraez - 3B Charlie Culberson - 3B
Randy Dobnak - RHP Kolby Allard - LHP