Twins get a day to collect their breath ahead 25 in a row vs. AL Central

A look at the pitching Minnesota faces when Cleveland comes to town for a 4-game set, a golden chance to gain ground.

Wednesday is an off day for the Twins, and thank goodness, because they probably could use another 24 hours to catch their collective breath.

Just when you were allowing yourself to start feeling some good vibes — 25 in a row with the AL Central, 4-game win streak, Byron Buxton, Max Kepler and Luis Arraez back in action! — the balloon leaked yet more air with the news that Buxton has a boxer’s fracture on his left hand after getting hit by a pitch 3 games into his return to the lineup.

As always, two choices. Sulk and feel sorry or get up and go again.

It’s still true that Minnesota is playing better lately. And it’s still true that the Twins have their datebook filled with AL Central opponents over the next month.

Four with Cleveland
4 with Chicago
3 with Kansas City
3 with Chicago
4 with Detroit
[All-Star break, which will be a break for most players]
4 more with Detroit
3 with Chicago

That stretch sure looks like a great opportunity if ever there was one to rescue your season. It will be a challenge, and a bigger one without Buxton. As ever, One Series at a Time applies. And I don’t know what the front office is thinking other than I think you won’t see them stand pat, whichever direction that leads. This 25-game stretch to and through the all-star break terminates July 21. You’d have to think that we’ll have the answer on direction by that date.

Then again, you may feel you’ve got all the answers you need already?

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Cleveland coming up

Not to suggest that we cheer for injuries around here. We don’t. Let’s simply state for the record that an opponent built on starting pitching that is missing said starting pitching becomes an easier matchup for a 4-game set.

The Cleveland club is missing, of course, Shane Bieber (right shoulder subscapularis muscle strain), Zach Plesac (broken thumb), and more recently Aaron Civale (middle finger). All three apparently are expected to miss this series with the Twins, meaning they’ll really be turning to their depth. On that note, Tristan McKenzie and Logan Allen have struggled. Here are the four hurlers that they’ll turn to vs. the Twins:

J.C. Mejia (6.11 ERA)
Cal Quantrill
(swing man' has been decent in that role)
Sam Hentges
(6.40 ERA)
Eli Morgan
(10.32 ERA)

One Series at a Time.

Wander Franco Time

Baseball’s top prospect debuted yesterday, when Wander Franco started at third base for the Rays. He was born March 1, 2001, which prompted me to go searching for the Twins box score from opening day that year.

The Twins won, 3-2. Radke went 8, and LaTroy Hawkins and Bob Wells combined to close it out in the 9th inning. Hawk got the win. Jeff Weaver pitched all 9 and took the loss.

Happy Wander Franco Day.