Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Buxton and Berrios

Some Tuesday developments of note for the Twins.

The good: Jose Berrios was absolutely superb: seven innings, two hits, no runs. It was the first time in more than a month that he pitched like a top-of-the-rotation ace -- and it was against a quality lineup in the Washington Nationals.

Berrios pitching in such dominant form is a positive under any circumstances. With Michael Pineda's suspension, it takes on added importance.

The bad: Byron Buxton is out for the season, with surgery apparently performed Tuesday afternoon in California on his injured shoulder.

Buxton played just 87 games this season and garnered fewer than 300 plate appearances, but even as literally a half-time player he still compiled a 3.2 WAR (wins above replacement), fifth most on the team.  (That's the Baseball Reference version of WAR, by the way.)

He remains too talented to discard or give up on, and too injury-prone to rely on. The Twins are certainly a better team when he plays, but that's no longer possible in 2019.

The indifferent: The Twins, who broke the major league record for homers in a season on Aug. 31, were briefly passed Tuesday by the Yankees in homers. Mitch Garver's two-run shot -- which gave the Twins the lead in the game -- pulled the Twins back into a tie.

I'd rather the Twins finish with the record than not, but I am not confident they can do so. They have so much power languishing on the sidelines right now, even if Nelson Cruz got back into the lineup on Tuesday.

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