The Twins will begin a three-game series in Cleveland with a 3.5 game lead on the Indians after getting waxed by the Nationals on Thursday night.
With a patchwork lineup already in place, the Twins lost Ehire Adrianza on Thursday. Every team needs a handyman, and Adrianza has been that for the Twins. And he's hit a little better than expected. But he had to leave Thursday's game with a right oblique strain suffered when he swung at a Patrick Corbin pitch.
Adrianza likely will miss the rest of the regular season while letting that thing heal.
"The initial assessment is it’s a muscle injury to the oblique," Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said. "Those usually aren’t something that guys come back from in a matter of a couple days. So, we’ll have him further assessed. I don’t think he’s going to come on the trip with us. He’s going to stay here and take care of everything here, and we’ll know more when we get back.”
Adrianza actually finished his at-bat before leaving the game. He attempted to bunt twice before popping a sacrifice bunt in front of Corbin, who let the ball bounce and easily could have started a double play but instead threw to first. As soon as Adrianza tried to bunt I knew he couldn't swing and was coming out right after that.
“Really at that point, you’re never exactly sure how a guy is doing physically, so to make the call to take him out of the game when there’s actually a small chance that he’s OK," Baldelli said, "but it’s hard to really get that assessment when you’re out in the field talking to a guy; you can’t go through any sort of rundown with the trainers. But, Ad can get a bunt down; we figured we’d take that opportunity.”
Righthander Kyle Gibson gave up five earned runs on eight hits - many of them ropes - while walking four and striking out five.
He had a chance to step up after recovering from ulcerative colitis. And he hit 95 mph a bunch of times on the gun. But his command was off. Gibson has a 7.80 ERA over his last six starts with 14 walks and 18 extra base hits in 31 innings.
Gibson has a live arm and gets good movement on this pitches. But there comes a time where you have to say it's not your year. He picked up e. Coli during his offseason mission trip and started the season behind the 8-ball. And the issues he's had since then look to be connected. He hasn't slept well for most of the season and has lost 10 pounds when he doesn't have 10 pounds to lose. I checked in on Ron Gardenhire when the Twins were in Detroit a couple weeks ago and couldn't believe how thin Gibson looked.
If there's a Twin who probably could use as normal of an offseason as possible, it's Kyle Gibson. And I write this fully awae that he's won 12 games and there are pitchers who would commit crimes to contribute to that many wins. I just think his intestinal issues he had before and during the season have had a cumulative effect.
Why the night getaway?
The game was scheduled for 6:40 p.m., on Thursday because midweek day games in September aren't big draws. I get that, but it sure put the Twins and Nationals in a bad travel situation.
That meant the Twins were destined to land in Cleveland around 3 a.m. The Nationals expected to return home by 4 a.m., where they play host to Atlanta on Friday - division-leading Atlanta.
This happens from time to time. Opponents have been irked at the Angels for years for routinely scheduling night games on getaway days and making them take a red-eye back east. But there might have to be rule put in place in which every getaway day has to be an afternoon game – especially if one of the teams has to play the next day.
So the Twins headed for an early-morning check in at a Cleveland hotel probably a little ornery after losing to Washington. Maybe they will take out their frustration on the Indians.
So who's back in the lineup?
My spider senses tell me that Miguel Sano and Jake Cave should be available tonight. Sano was available in an emergency the last couple of days. Cave went through a full indoor workout and said he felt really good.
Marwin Gonzalez has ramped up his swinging. It's hard to get a read on where Kepler is at. But Nelson Cruz let it be known that they were about the get. "some guys" back as early as today. So we'll see what the lineup looks like.