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Game 59: Guardians at Twins

The weekend set continues against the Guards.

Cleveland Guardians v Minnesota Twins Photo by Nick Wosika/Getty Images

First Pitch: 6:15 pm CDT

TV: FOX / ~ / Radio: TIBN

National broadcast fans are eating good this weekend.

The Twins move from Apple TV to FOX this evening, for another primetime matchup between the 2022 and 2023 division champions. After winning a dramatic opener in comeback fashion, Minnesota kept the heat on with a nail-biting 1-0 win, locked down by potential All-Star Jhoan Duran, who lowered his ERA to 1.17 while earning his 8th save of the year. (Excitingly, that was Duran’s fourth appearance of more than one inning since May 10th.)

When you’re as close to the .500 mark as the Twins have been over the last few weeks, a win streak of any size will make your W/L record look that much dandier. Minnesota’s rattled off three straight, and advanced their tally to a 31-27 mark, still good for first in the division. Moreover, two of those wins coming against Cleveland has pushed the Guardians down to 25-32, 5.5 back, and still behind the Detroit Tigers.

As long as everybody stays ahead of Chicago, I’m sold.

As though Pablo Lopez and Bailey Ober weren’t enough already, Cleveland’s quest to even the weekend set begins with Sonny Gray on the mound. Gray is nearly a shoo-in for his third career All-Star appearance (2015 Oakland, 2019 Cincinnati) — first and foremost, he plays on a team that requires representatives but lacks any real position player candidates. Secondly, he’s leading the American League in ERA (1.94), FIP (2.19), HR/9 (still not having surrendered a long ball in over 60 innings), and ERA+ (218 — meaning he’s been MORE than TWICE as good as the average pitcher.)

Gray’s opponent is Logan Allen (of the non-Colorado varietal), the 2020 second-rounder with low velocity (how often do you see a low-80s slider anymore?) Logan, a rookie, has a 2.72 ERA and 9.8 K/9 in his first ~40 big-league innings, because of course he does, because he plays for Cleveland.

Finally, it’s Joe Ryan Bobblehead night, or at least, Someone Who Could Reasonably Be Mistaken For Joe Ryan Bobblehead Night. Joy to those who celebrate.