Monday, June 25, 2018

Notes from the weekend

The Twins won Sunday 2-0. They also lost two of three to the last-place team in the AL West and sit eight games behind Cleveland in the standings.

Reinforcments, at least internal, are probably on the way. The Twins optioned out Ryan LaMarre after Sunday's game; my expectation is that Byron Buxton will rejoin the team in Chicago tomorrow.

Between injuries and slumps, the Twins haven't gotten anything out of Buxton yet this season. He was, by Baseball Reference's version of WAR, the best player on the 2017 Twins. The gap between the 2017 Buck and the 2018 Buck is a significant portion of the difference between the 2017 Twins and the 2018 Twins.

And next week Jorge Polanco returns from his PED suspension. I'm not sure that's going to improve the infield defense, but Polanco is a better hitter than Ehire Adrianza, and this lineup can use a dose of his relatively high bat-on-ball skills.


One obvious conclusion to be drawn from a glance at the AL standings is that the "pennant races" in the junior circuit are merely about playoff positioning. The Yankees and Red Sox have a double-digit lead over everybody else in their division; Cleveland, as noted, is eight games up in the Central; and the Astros and Mariners are putting space between themselves and the Angels.

Jessica Mendoza of ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball crew tried during a rain delay to make a case for the Twins getting back into the picture. While I appreciate the effort, I'm not buying it.

It's possible for the Twins to run off a winning streak. But I suspect the story around this team for the next five weeks or so is going to be who gets sold off.


RIP to Donald Hall, former U.S. poet laureate. I don't consume much poetry, but Hall was a marvel when he turned his wordsmithing into the direction of baseball.

I can recommend to you his "Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball." I can't lend you my copy; I lent it years ago to a colleague who promptly dropped it while taking a bath.

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