Greetings from The Prog. This day will do a lot to define the Twins' playoff Here's a rundown of today's matchups:
Game 1: Kyle Gibson vs Carlos Carrasco.
Quick look: Gibson was knocked out in the third inning in his last outing. All you need to know is that Gibson gave up more fly balls than ground balls. When that happens, he's 0-5 and the Twins are 2-7 in those games, He's got to get back to being Groundball Gibby for the Twins to have a chance. Carrasco fired a one-hitter in his last outing with 15 strikeouts - against the Royals' hangover lineup the night after they clinched the division title. But Carrasco has had three starts this season of at least 8.2 innings in which he's allowed one hit. If he's getting his slider over, watch out. Plus his change up is unlike any other in the game
Game 2: Mike Pelfrey vs Cody Anderson
Quick look: Pelfrey has generally been bad on the road this season, but in his last two starts on the road (KC and Detroit), he's posted a 1.74 ERA. Granted he's lasted 5.1 and 5.0 innings in those games, but with an expanded bullpen, the Twins will take five solid from Pelf. Anderson has won his last four starts, including last week at Target Field when he scattered 10 hits over 6.2 innings (or when the Twins squandered 10 hits, depending how you look at it).
The following is from Ken The Over-caffeinated Copy Editor's twitter feed on what could happen today:
Twins sweep DH:
Hou L, LAA L - tied for WC
Hou W, LAA L - tied in loss col
LAA W - 1 GB
Lose a game: This is bad
Another thing to consider: The chances are unlikely, but if the Twins win out from here they would qualify for at least a tiebreaker game. That's because (1) they are tied in the loss column with Houston and (2) if the Angels win out, that means they would have swept Texas over the weekend and knocked the Rangers out of the playoffs.
Will check back with lineups and updates. Should know when Phil Hughes is starting.
Tommy Milone has been named the starter for Saturday's game against Kansas City. He's 2-0 with a 3.75 ERA against them in four starts this season and 5-2, 3.75 against them in his career. Also, the Royals are just 28-27 against lefthanded starters this season.
Righthander Phil Hughes could have started the game but he's still recovering from being sick earlier in the week. However, Twins manager Paul Molitor said Hughes could be available out of the bullpen today if needed during this big doubleheader day.
Sunday's starter has not been announced. But indications are that Kyle Gibson will start on three days rest if the playoffs are on the line. Hughes will likely start if it is not a meaningful game.
Trevor May has also made himself available today. So the Twins have all kinds of arms for all kinds of situations on this pivotal day in the postseason race.
Byron Buxton and Eduardo Nunez are in the Game 1 lineup. It was a lock that Molitor was going to have different lineups for these games, and he feels Buxton and Nunez had the best chance of contributng in Game 1.
Brian Dozuer, 2B
Joe Mauer, 1B
Miguel Sano, DH
Trevor Plouffe, 3B
Eddie Rosario, LF
Torii Hunter, RF
Eduardo Nunez, SS
Kurt Suzuki, C
Byron Buxton, CF
Kyle Gibson, RHP
Jason Kipnis, 2B
Jose Ramirez, 3B
Francisco Lindor, SS
Carlos Santana, DH
Yan Gomes, C
Abraham Almonte, CF
Jerry Sands, RF
Jesus Aguilar, 1B
Mike Aviles, LF
Carlos Carrasco, RHP