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Game 93: Twins at A’s

Is this the start of a second-half surge?

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Oakland Athletics Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

First Pitch: 6:07 pm CDT

TV: Bally Sports North / ~ / Radio: TIBN

After a remarkably sluggish 9-inning affair to kick off the second half, the Twins are starting one of their All-Star pitchers, leading their division, and coming off a win. Taken out of context, this would seem to be an enviable position. Still, somehow, none of these facts seem to make up for the pervasive feeling that this team is barely getting by (which, of course, their exactly-even 46-46 record corroborates.)

Nevertheless, Minnesota has a chance to flip the script by continuing to string wins together, regressing to that elusive mean of production we’ve been hearing about all spring and early summer. That would be assisted by winning the winnable games — and Oakland, unfortunately sporting the worst record in baseball — is by definition a beatable team.

Therefore, it would be nice to see Pablo Lopez shut down the Athletic lineup, and see the Twin offense put together an 8-runs-or-so outburst like they were able to do in Baltimore not that long ago. Five runs last night is enough to write home about with this batting order — we’ll see if they have a similar approach this evening.

Even so, that Pablo tidbit might be the most important — Minnesota could use a second consecutive deep start from him after deploying five different relievers to get the win last night.

Outside of that, some changes have been made on the position-playing side of things, as the long-clamored-for Matt Wallner is getting another opportunity in the wake of Jose Miranda’s sudden unavailability.

It’s a Wallner-injected bench that will supplement the lineup facing off against another Oakland starter with an ERA in the 6.00 range; it’s Hogan Harris, today making his 10th-ever big-league appearance. He’s precisely the kind of pitcher the Twins should be roughing up — but, again, please see the lineup below and rein in those expectations a little bit.

COURTESY: Baseball Savant (click to expand!)