Time: 7:10 Central. Vegas Line: -135 MIL / MIN +115
Weather: 40% chance of rain, possible thunderstorms, 75° at first pitch
Opponent’s SB site: Brew Crew Ball
TV: BS North. Radio: Hey, remember when Gladden read pillow ads during games and it felt Weird
Andrew Albers is back! Older (the term being relative) Twins fans may remember his MLB debut as a starter in 2013, the Twins’ third-straight 90-loss season (before which they hadn’t been as bad since 2000). Albers, whose top speed was 89 throwing downhill in a hurricane, came within two outs of a complete game shutout... something he’d actually achieve in his second start. The rest of his season, and return to the Twins in 2016, weren’t as magical. He’s spent the last three years in Japan before playing alright in St. Paul this season.
Glad to see him back, if it’s only because every other Twins pitcher has died and the year stinks. (And even if the one time I went to see him pitch in 2013 it was drizzly and uncomfortable and the scalpers charged too much and I decided to head back home instead of attending and he lost the game anyways; it'd be the last time I even attempted to buy a Twins ticket.) At 35, in one of surely his final MLB seasons, it's hard not to root for a guy who never had top talent, yet shined in some moments anyways.
(Hopefully Albers heard some radio clips from last weekend, where Dan Gladden was praising him as about the only Twins pitcher not to display complete terror at facing the Yanquis.)
His mound opponent is a disgraced former TV newsperson now living
in ruin perfectly wealthy comfort after... oh, wait. Different Lauer, they’re not related. Eric Lauer is a fairly youngish lefty in his fourth MLB season, who projects as a bottom-of-the-rotation guy; his fastball and cutter aren’t super-fast, and he walks too many people, but he can fool batters at times with the curve. Digits (YTD for Lauer, MLB career for Albers):
This week’s edition of Baseball Stuff TwinkieTowners Own comes from our site’s resident Statistics Wizard (how do you think he does it, I don’t know, what makes him so good?) JohnFoley:
My entry to the series is this 1987 World Series Twins mug that I inherited from my grandmother. In 2011, on a trip to visit her on the family farm in western Wisconsin (where my parents grew up about an hour or so east of the Twin Cities) I was given instructions to scour her house for things I might want to take home and came out with this:
The mug is in excellent condition and does not seem like it was ever used very much for its intended purpose. I don’t use it for any drinks these days, either. Now it sits as decor on the desk where I do my writing in our home in Albuquerque.
That trip in 2011 was not the only time I’d visited my grandma and left with something related to the Twins. It was ten years earlier, while visiting her, that I became a fan of the Twins.
By the time I started my elementary school years, we lived in a small farm town in Central Illinois. There, nearly everyone was a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals or the Chicago Cubs. (It’s worth noting that nobody there cheered for the White Sox, which never struck me as odd growing up and still makes sense to me now.)
It was a pretty plum location for baseball consumption. Most summer days you could watch the Cubs play on the WGN superstation, the Atlanta Braves on the TBS superstation, and then hear the Cardinals on the radio at night. But watching the Twins there, before MLB Extra Innings or MLB.tv, was not an option.
With the Twins being terrible in the late 1990s and plenty of other baseball accessible, I never paid the Minnesota nine much attention, even though the Twins were the family team.
Then came 2001 and the “Get to Know “em” Twins. That year the Twins went 18-6 in April and were in first place with a young and exciting squad as the end of May approached.
It was then we took our traditional family summer trip to the farm in Wisconsin. With the Twins in contention we took some time out of that visit to head to the Metrodome to catch a May 26 doubleheader between the Twins and the Moneyball A’s. To my memory, these were the first Twins games I attended.
I vividly remember several moments from that day, including that it was a rare scheduled doubleheader, not the result of a cancellation. I remember the crowd buzzing when Doug Mientkiewicz pinch hit for Torii Hunter in a big spot in the 6th inning (he flew out) and Matt Lawton stupidly running the Twins out of a 10th inning rally trying to steal third base (he was the tying run). The Twins lost game one 5-4.
In game two, I remember then long reliever Johan Santana coming out of the bullpen to give the Twins a chance to rally from a big early deficit. They would go on to win game two 7-6 in the 10th inning.
After that day, I was a proud Twins fan. That 2001 team would fade down the stretch, but they rejuvenated the franchise and hooked many new people into Twins fandom, including me. Now, this mug serves as a reminder of our family’s connection to the team and the trip to my Grandma’s that helped me become a fan of the Twins in the first place.
Thanks, John! I’d like to add that while I get annoyed at people ripping on Wisconsin whenever they play the Twins (my mom was from there!), now I have an ally in how, hey, John’s Nana was from there, too.
As always, those of you with pictures/stories of your own Baseball Items can send them to me via firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure and indicate what the email’s about in the subject line, although I did enjoy the one I got recently from an “Olivia” that contained the single word “hi.” Hi back!
|Kolten Wong - 2B||Byron Buxton - CF|
|Luis Urias - SS||Jorge Polanco - 2B|
|Christian Yelich - DH||Rob Refsnyder - LF|
|Avisail Garcia - RF||Josh Donaldson - DH|
|Lorenzo Cain - CF||Miguel Sano - 1B|
|Rowdy Tellez - 1B||Ryan Jeffers - C|
|Manny Pina - C||Max Kepler - RF|
|Jace Peterson - LF||Willians Astudillo - 3B|
|Pablo Reyes - 3B||Andrelton Simmons - SS|
|Eric Lauer - LHP||Andrew Albers - LHP|