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The Twins Beat

La Velle E. Neal III and Phil Miller report on the Twins from wherever they make news

Twins head to Cleveland after sweeping Tigers

A couple things before I hop on the highway to Cleveland:

Jose Berrios has now thrown a career-high 184 innings after working through the fifth inning on Sunday. Berrios was lights out early, as his sinking fastball and breaking pitches simply dominated the Tigers. He faced one hitter over the minimum the first time through the order and did not give up a hit until the fourth.

Then he kind of hit a rough spot. Twins manager Paul Molitor was quick to point out that Berrios was never really hit hard, which is true. Berrios did uncork a couple wild pitches, which suggested he was tiring.

So Berrios was removed after five innings and 87 pitches. He'll have one more start during the regular season, and then it is wait and see. He could be used out of the bullpen in the Wild Card game or start if the Twins win the wild card game. It would be easier if the Twins could win two games in Cleveland (I know), hopefully clinch the wild card and then they can use the final games to organize their pitching.

The tradition continues.....

It was time for the annual dress up the rookies day after the Twins beat Detroit 10-4.

The event has been watered down in recent years. You don't see nearly as many dresses (and no more raunchy ones) as you used to. And I hear that the player's association makes sure the players understand the ramifications of dressing up someone in something offense.

So the costumes now are similar to what you would see in a bar during Halloween.

I won't go rookie by rookie. But I will highlight a couple that I liked.

Whoever decided to purchase a Kristaps Porzingis uniform and make Aaron Slegers wear it was a stroke of genius. Too bad the Twins aren't headed to New York (they probably will be in a week) because the 6-10 Slegers might be able to fool some folks in the Knicks office.

John Curtiss was Superman, an old stand by on this day. Curtiss accentuated the outfit by pulling back his massive head of hair and wearing Clark Kent-type eyeglasses.

And there's a belief that Adalberto Mejia resembles Royals catcher Salvador Perez, especially with his frohawk dyed gold like Perez. So the veterans had Mejia in a Perez shirsey and baseball pad and found old catcher's shin guards to wear. Pretty funny.

That's it. I've gotta drive to Cleveland, where the Twins have a chance to clinch a wild card berth.

Twins look to close out the Tigers and close in on a wild card spot


It's pretty simple what has happened.

The Twins have done what they have needed to do, and everyone else has failed.

The Angels have lost six straight, including the last two to Houston. They have had some matchups lately. That brought the Rangers within a prayer of the second wild card spot, but Texas coughed up just four hits while losing 1-0 last night to an A's team that has little to play for.

So the Twins wake up today with a 41/2 game lead for the second wild card spot. Barring a total collapse, they are taking this one to the house. Remember, the Twins have not lost more than four consecutive games all season.

On Sunday, they will have a chance to sweep Detroit in a four-game series. The Tigers have lost 13 of their last 15 games, and are showing little fight once they fall behind. Twins manager Paul Molitor often talks about being greedy at these times, and this sure is one opportunity they need to pounce on.

Twins outfielder Max Kepler was not in the starting lineup as he deals with a sore left hip he suffered while fielding and throwing a ball back into the infield on Saturday. 

Kepler received treatment on his injury before the game, and indicated that he's doesn't believe it is serious and considers himself to be available off the bench today.

"They are saying that it is just a bruise," Kepler said, "and I believe that. I would not say it is comfortable but it is manageable."

Zack Granite will start in place of Kepler, but will play left field while Eddie Rosario slides over to right.

Tigers righthander Alex Wilson spoke to reporters today while sitting on a couch in Detroit's clubhouse. His right leg was in a hard cast after a liner from Joe Mauer in the eighth inning led to a fracture.

Wilson said the break is about three inches above his ankle, and that he should be, "good to go," by the middle of December.

A Tigers reported mentioned how strange it was for Mauer to hit him since he usually hits everything to left.

"I almost feel just as bad for him," Wilson said of Mauer. "He's like the nicest guy in baseball."

Twins

Brian Dozier, 2B
Joe Mauer, DH
Jorge Polanco, SS
Eddie Rosario, RF
Eduardo Escobar, 3B
Byron Buxton, CF
Jason Castro, C
Kennys Vargas, 1B
Zack Granite, LF

Jose Berrios, RHP

Tigers

Ian Kinsler, DH
Alex Presley, RF
Nicholas Castellanos, 3B
Efrem Navarro, 1B
James McCann, C
Dixon Machado, 2B
Andrew Romine, LF
JaCoby Jones, CF
Jose Iglesias, SS

Buck Farmer, RHP

Final, 9/24 R H E
Minnesota 82-74 10 12 0
Detroit 62-94 4 9 2