Monday, August 28, 2017

Notes, quotes and comment

Inclined as I am to be a glass-half-empty guy, I look at the Twins' just completed road trip and see a bit of a missed opportunity. Eight games against two of the worst teams in the league, and "just" a 4-4 record.

On the other hand, the Twins now have a 1.5 game lead for the second wildcard spot, the rest of their schedule remains rather soft, and the daily playoff odds issued by Baseball Prospectus still gives them the best shot of the contenders to get into the crapshoot game for the AL.


Quite the series in Toronto for Bryon Buxton, with two bunt singles in one game and three homers in another.

There's an internet mantra: "Never bunt, hit dingers." I'll take 'em both.


Bullpen usage notes: Late last week I catagorized the just-arrived John Curtiss as a bullpen arm Paul Molitor did not trust in a key situation.

On Saturday Molitor brought him in for the bottom of the eighth with a one-run deficit. It didn't work out well -- two walks and two runs allowed. But I was struck by how quickly Molitor turned to him in a game that wasn't decided.

Meanwhile, Trevor Hildenberger has now pitched five times in six days, but he hasn't been asked to face a lot of hitters in those games (12 hitters total). It's still probably good the Twins don't play today so Molitor isn't tempted to bring him in again.

I noted at the time of the Brandon Kintzler trade that Molitor had avoided using Hildenberger with a narrow lead. Hildenberger has since picked up five holds and a save, so yeah, that's changed.


I examined the Twins' ever-shifting lineup for the Monday print column, in which I said Paul Molitor had used 111 different batting orders in the first 123 games.

It's now 113 in 125 games.


I've said repeatedly this year that the Twins have the youngest lineup in the AL as Baseball Reference figures that. This is no longer true; the Chicago White Sox, who cleared out most of their veterans last month, have now overtaken the Twins; their average hitter is 27.1 years old, and the Twins are at 27.2.

Third youngest: the Boston Red Sox at 27.4. The Bosox aren't just good; they're young and good.

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