First Pitch: 6:10 pm CDT (pending ceremony)
TV: Bally Sports North / ~ / Radio: TIBN
Ryne Nelson and Kenta Maeda will be squaring off in a battle of interleague righties with mid-4.00 ERAs, but as electric as that matchup is, tonight is deservedly all about Joe Mauer. It’ll be great to have Joe back at the ballpark in grand fashion, as he becomes the latest inductee into the organization’s Hall of Fame.
There’s nothing that can be summed up in a game preview that would sufficiently represent Joe Mauer (or hasn’t already been said) — the hometown hero to the nth degree left writers progressively more speechless through a 15-year career, one impressive enough that tonight’s ceremony might not produce his last induction speech.
If you’ve thought it about Joe Mauer, it’s been written. (Some exceptions may apply. No, not that, good lord. Get some help.)
Famously known as Sexx Dragon to millions of fans within Twins Territory, Joe won three American League batting titles, and if you remember any of them, or if the name Kevin Butler means anything to you, you are OOOOOLD! LOOK HOW OLD YOU ARE!
In fairness to those on the active roster, there is a game to be played even after such spectacle as Josh Willingham’s re-introduction to the Target Field faithful. Here’s a glance at the bullpen availability for your Minnesota Twins, an arm barn that mercifully features the stylings of Caleb Thielbar once again.
Speaking of Thielbar, it is amusing to note that many of his former teammates will be in attendance tonight as long-retired ballplayers. Keep rafflin’, Meat Raffle.
Meanwhile, that aforementioned ERA mark is certainly unfair to Maeda, who gave up ten earned runs to the New York Yankees, hit the IL for two months, and has laid down a 2.63 ERA/2.98 FIP in almost 40 innings since returning from injury. Looking ever like the arm Minnesota traded for, the Twins are looking for this version of Maeda to keep rolling all the way through September — and ideally beyond.
JOE TWINS JOE!