Welcome to the Thursday edition of The Cooler, where the sun is a rumor. Let’s get to it:
*A shift in the balance of power is often subtle – occurring in such small increments as to be barely perceptible. But sometimes it arrives all it once – confirmed by the benefit of hindsight, sure, but predicted in the moment.
Two Vikings/Packers examples come to mind immediately: the demolition of Green Bay at Lambeau Field during Randy Moss’ rookie season of 1998, and the injury to Aaron Rodgers in 2017. Both signaled a major shift, at least that season, in the rivalry.
For the Twins, that moment sure might have happened Wednesday night. While Martin Perez was busy shutting down the Astros, ensuring the Twins of no worse than a split against one of MLB’s best teams, a broken bone in the pitching arm of Cleveland ace Corey Kluber signaled another blow for the already wobbly longtime AL Central power.
It’s uncomfortable acknowledging how Kluber’s injury (combined with that of fellow standout pitcher Mike Clevinger already) will influence the AL Central this season because it can feel a bit like dancing on a grave.
But it’s reality. Cleveland, which has won the last three division titles, won’t be as formidable without those two pitchers for a long stretch this season — and that fact in combination with the Twins’ strong start sure make 2019 feel like a changing of the guard.
You can feel good for the Twins and still feel bad for Cleveland within the context of the circumstances, but it doesn’t change the facts.
*I appreciated this Zach Lowe piece on Golden State, Houston and the philosophy of getting fouled on three-pointers.
*In case you missed it, the Big3 — the three-on-three basketball league filled with former NBA players — had its draft on Wednesday. Royce White, the former Minnesota prep star, Gophers recruit, Iowa State standout and Houston Rockets first round pick was the No. 1 overall choice.